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Lowdown on West Ham

Posted on 24 November 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Few people are better equipped to explain the traditional culture of Saturday's opponents West Ham United than our Academy under-19 coach Pat Holland.

Poplar-born Pat spent his entire playing career at Upton Park, signing up in 1969 and featuring in the Hammers' FA Cup Final win over Fulham in 1975 and collecting a Second Division Championship medal in 1981. Injury forced Pat's retirement from playing in 1983.

Now playing a pivotal role in the development of our Academy, Pat still keeps an eye and events in the east and the main change he notices is that of the regions his former club recruits from.

"I follow them," said Pat inbetween training sessions at the Lodge. "I think it's changed quite a bit because when I played, as the Cup final highlighted, it was all English players that side.

"A lot of the recruitment then was from the local area. I think now there isn't many from the area, Cole is a north London boy, and there is a lot of foreign input there.

"The club has changed, as all clubs change, but I still think they play that football that the crowd demand as they do at Tottenham."

The style factor is the main similarity that Pat feels exists between the two clubs - and hopefully it should make for a good game this time around.

"Very much so. They demand that type of football and the players will give them that type - if you look at the likes of Rio Ferdinand and players who have gone through the club.

"It's enjoyable, I get over there now and again just to watch a game. Not just out of choice, I might be on a scouting trip, but I enjoy the games.

"For me it's like at Tottenham where the crowd want to be pleased and see attractive football - and sometimes they'll be happy with that. Obviously they want success, but they do demand a certain brand of football.

"So I think, with both sides, it should be a good game on Saturday."

It was put to Pat that this sort of grounding makes him an ideal man to install such belief in the Spurs youngsters.

"I think you mind goes that way, because that's the way you've been brought up as a little'un. I went to West Ham at 15 so you're nurtured that way, into that type of thinking and that type of football.

"So then with your coaching, with Jimmy Neighbour too as a Tottenham boy, players get that brand of coaching day in day out.

"That's the only way really that we can coach - it's the only way we know how to. We find the direct route at times a bit alien to our thinking.

"It's how you've been brought up and you try and give those ideas and thoughts to the kids."

Pat feels the the crowd play a big part when teams seek to leave Upton Park with the points.

"The thing is with West Ham when you go there, the biggest bonus they've got is the crowd. For me, as a player, they can be very intimidating - even when you're playing for them.

"It's always difficult because it's a 'close' ground, but at the moment they've done a development and the big stand has been pushed back a little bit.

"You might not get that intensity on that side, but they're still on top of you and you've got to be on your mettle when you go there and keep your own gameplan going.

"It's a difficult one to predict really - could be a draw!"