Spurs and West Ham bosses keep quiet over sick chants in London derby
Andre Villas-Boas tried to deflect attention away from the anti-Semitic chants that marred Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over West Ham.
Just four days after a Spurs fan was stabbed before Tottenham’s game against Lazio, West Ham fans aimed a flurry of deeply offensive chants towards the home support about the attack.
“Viva Lazio”, “Can we stab you every week” and the name of Lazio icon Paolo Di Canio were heard from the away end during today’s game, which was settled by a brace from Jermain Defoe.
Hammers fans were also heard hissing - mimicking the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust - throughout the game and some Spurs fans reported on Twitter that Adolf Hitler’s name was chanted by the away support.
Given Spurs’ links with the Jewish community, and the anti-Semitic attack on Ashley Mills in midweek, today’s chants from West Ham fans sparked outrage among the Tottenham faithful, who have been subjected to hissing from away fans before.
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Villas-Boas and his opposite number Sam Allardyce refused to comment in detail about the chants - mainly because they said they did not hear them.
“I prefer not to mar the performance with a situation like this,” Villas-Boas said in his post-match press conference.
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“You know the animosity there is between Tottenham and West Ham and as long as it doesn’t reach stupidity it is a great, great rivalry of two London clubs.
“It would be extremely unfair for me to mar the performance of the players but understanding that a couple of situations are avoidable but we can’t decipher the true meaning of what they were saying.”
Allardyce said he would not comment on the matter until he had fully heard what the away supporters sang during the game.
“I didn’t hear it,” the West Ham boss said.
“I don’t hear what the fans say or do when I’m concentrating as a manager on a game of football.
“They shouldn’t be doing things like that, it is the least of my worries at the minute isn’t it.
“What do you want me to say? If I didn’t hear it I can’t condemn it can I?
“I will wait and look at it myself and make a comment once I have listened to what they have said.
“I don’t want to be a political animal, I’m here to talk about football and not what fans are saying and singing.”
The chants overshadowed Tottenham’s best home performance of the season.
Villas-Boas’ men went into the match on the back of three straight defeats but today they oozed confidence and were brutally clinical up front against a weak West Ham side.
Defoe put Tottenham ahead just before half-time with a marvellous solo effort that began with him pinching the ball off Winston Reid and ended with him powering a dipping shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen from 20 yards.
Gareth Bale made it 2-0 when he finished Clint Dempsey’s chipped through-ball and Defoe wrapped up the victory just after the hour by sweeping home Aaron Lennon’s pass in a swift counter-attack.
“I think it was a very good performance,” Villas-Boas said.
“We have been chasing a good, solid 90-minute performance for a while and we got it today very deservingly.
“It was extremely important to get back to winning ways - particularly against a team who has been doing well in a London derby.”
The only crumb of comfort for Allardyce was that Andy Carroll finally opened his West Ham account in his 11th game since signing on loan.
For the vast majority of the match the Hammers barely performed, much to his dissatisfaction.
“You can accept defeat when you know your players have played their best and we haven’t done that today,” the former Bolton manager said.
“I don’t accept the way my players have played today and I want them to bounce back.”