The Blind Hammer Column
Blind Hammer examines a possible unexpected downside to an England World Cup triumph
Like most West Ham supporters I have been cheering on the progress of the England team. Tuesday’s game was an agony I don’t want to repeat even if it did in the end deliver ecstasy. During the penalty shootout I decided that I definitely needed to do the washing up. Once Henderson missed his penalty I went one step further and turned my Five Live Commentary off. Luckily my wife was made of sterner stuff. She stayed in the living room, doggedly watching the Television, and shouted through the glad news of Colombia’s Penalty miss. I turned Five Live back on to hear Pickford’s save and Dier’s winning strike.
There is always a danger of counting chickens before they are hatched, or as they apparently say in Russia “sharing the Fur before the Bear is shot”.
Nevertheless the extent to which England’s half of the draw has opened up is extraordinary. I will be personally cheering Belgium on against Brazil. It is possible that England could win the World Cup with just 3 more victories against Sweden, Croatia and Belgium.
The chances are still that England will stumble at some stage but with each hard fought match they succeed in the expectations will rise exponentially. It is likely that England will never have such a cleareropportunity to win the World Cup in most of our lifetimes. Many West Ham supporters will not have been born in 1966 to witness England’s triumph.
Nevertheless a huge chunk of our pride as West Ham Supporters is built on our club’s contribution of star striker in Geoff Hurst, a hat trick hero in the final. The subtle but lethal midfield skills of Martin Peters, who also scored in the Final,, and of course above all the supreme defensive and captaincy skills of Bobby Moore.
Despite our relative trophy starvation in the intervening years this contribution to our World Cup triumph was unmatched by any other Club. Nobody could claim anything like a similar contribution.
This could potentially all change in the next 10 days. If England wins the World Cup, West Ham will not have contributed a single player. The situation for Tottenham will be very different. Not only will they have contributed England’s star striker in Harry Kane, but also Kane as a talismanic captain. It is likely that England will again rely on the Midfield skills of Tottenham’s Dele Alli. It is possible that Eric dier will feature in either midfield or defence. It seems likely that Danny Rose will enter the team to cover for Young’s injury.
In other words an England World Cup Triumph could be built upon the key contributions of not just 3 but 4 Tottenham players. Over a third of the team could be provided by our North London rivals.
So whilst we may still hope for the delirious Heaven of an England World Cup victory this would be tempered by the longer term Hell of facing the smugness of our North London Rivals. We would never hear the last of it. The Tottenham supporting media would have a field day. How the Spurs of 2018 had exceeded the West Ham contribution of 1966.
This is a price we would have to endure, be grown up about, in the interest of a once in a lifelong National opportunity. However if England do fail to achieve their World Cup pinnacle I will at least have the consolation of not having to endure any overweening Spurs self-satisfaction in the months and years ahead.