Hammers supporters dump team
LONDON STADIUM: They came in their thousands, resplendent in their claret and blue club replica jerseys determined to back their team to victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
But West Ham United fans are clearly not a faithful lot, for when their team conceded two goals within a space of four minutes late in the first half, they started making their way out of the stadium.
Unlike local fans back home who would have enthusiastically gesticulated with their hands to show that their team would stage a comeback or even call for the substitution of the player they felt was responsible for their team going down, the Hammers supporters who streamed out of the stadium seemed to see no hope for their side.
A pretty strange reaction actually from a group that had displayed such passion for their team prior to kick off and even during the early exchange of a match that seemed delicately balanced until Harry Kane struck twice.
A couple of hours before the mid-day kickoff match, they had milled around this magnificent arena that hosted both the 2012 Olympics as well as this year’s IAAF World Championships.
And when they finally got into the stadium, they sang heartily; cheered with gusto at the mention of each of their player’s name as the stadium announcer read out the starting line-up while jeering and booing those of the opposition. Attempts by the Spurs fans make their voices heard they tried to sing proved vain as the home crowd to as in drowned them out in song.
Decisions that went against their club were met with derision while positive moves from the likes of Chicarito got them on their feet cheering. And then it all went pear-shaped as Kane slotted home the opener.
While they sat stony silenced after the first goal, the strike seemed to galvanise them to egging their players on some more. The second, however, proved too much to take for many as they stood up and headed for the exit.
One father pulled his reluctant son by the hand down the stairs while a group of fans who had earlier chanted with passion shouted unprintables as they made their exit.
The die-hard who remained did their all to encourage their team to a comeback.
But it was all soon a no contest as Christian Eriksen made it 3-0.
Another exodus of the West Ham fans ensued and the 3 000 or so Spurs followers dominated the arena with song.
Those who stayed behind were given something to cheer about though as Chicarito headed in a consolation goal, or was it the beginning of a great turnabout?
With about 25 minutes still to play, hope sprang eternal among the Hammers faithful.
And then Spurs Serve Aurier gets sent off for a second bookable offence to raise that hope a notch further up.
That the stadium did not crumble when Cheikhou Kouyate scored four minutes from time spoke volumes of the quality of the architecture – the stomping was that powerful.
In the end, those early Kane goals had done the trick for Spurs. Yet the West Ham faithful who stayed left proud of their team’s fighting spirit.
# Sunday EPL Match Supersport
Brighton v Newcastle SS3 on