Ex-Tottenham man suggests reason West Ham fans are so infuriated by Spurs

Jermaine Jenas

Jermaine Jenas says Hammers fans hold such animosity for Spurs because Tottenham players never viewed matches against the Upton Park club as a big derby.

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas believes he knows why West Ham fans are so vociferous in their desire to beat Spurs, writing in his Yahoo Sport column that his old side never viewed playing the Hammers as a serious derby.

Mauricio Pochettino's side travel to Upton Park for the final time on Wednesday night to face West Ham, with both London clubs occupying places in the Premier League's top six.

Matches between the two sides have produced some fiery affairs over the years, with Jenas admitting he is still haunted by the memory of the final-day clash at Upton Park 10 years ago, in which a Spurs side severely weakened by food poisoning suffered a defeat which ultimately cost them a Champions League spot.

However, the 33-year-old believes that the animosity is far greater from West Ham fans than from Tottenham fans, and suggests that the North Londoners' comparative indifference is what riles Hammers supporters the most.

Jenas wrote in his Yahoo Sports column: "Playing Tottenham seems to rile up West Ham like nothing else - something that when I first went to Spurs I didn't really understand. I still don't in some ways.

"Tottenham's number one derby will always be Arsenal. If any derby intensified in the years that I was at Spurs, it was the one against Chelsea. But the players never viewed West Ham as one of the big derbies, and that's probably one of the things that infuriates West Ham fans.

"I even remember having conversations trying to work out what the West Ham thing was all about. Granted, they were close geographically, but so were Charlton, for example. I didn't get the hatred they were trying to create, which I didn't feel ever materialised from Tottenham's end. The biggest derbies remained Arsenal, followed by Chelsea, and I don't think it's any different now."

Jenas, who announced his retirement at the start of the year after failing to recover from injuries, played over 200 times for Spurs in seven-and-a-half years at White Hart Lane before leaving for Queens Park Rangers in January 2013.

Meanwhile, depending on other results on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tottenham could potentially move top of the league with victory at Upton Park, whilst, the Irons could leapfrog Manchester United into a guaranteed Europa League spot.

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