So after the Christmas morning excitement feel of the opening day of the season, it can be said that the season is well and truly up and running.

The summer signings have had a feel of what life in England and the Premier League will entail, clubs rushing out for last minute additions and TV fixtures have given the original fixture list a somewhat different look; Chelsea’s first televised match is a visit to the home, or the temporary home of Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.

Ah Spurs, for a generation of supporters Leeds United were enemy number one, after a quite brutal FA Cup Final replay at Old Trafford, where Chelsea emerged victorious following an extra time winner from David Webb, but if you conducted a poll of fans they will tell you that the club that they truly despise the most, is that small club from North London.

Here Hall of Fame will try to examine some of the reasons why Tottenham Hotspur have become the most hated in a trifecta of clubs; Arsenal and Liverpool being the others in the modern day era; Chelsea supporters just love to hate.

It stems from the first all London FA Cup final way back in 1967 – notice a theme – where Spurs had the beating of the Blues 2-1 in a rather one sided final, Tottenham signed one of our greatest ever strikers in Jimmy Greaves – via AC Milan, who in turn became their record goalscorer in the process.

Then came the relegation battle of 1974/75, the London rivals met at White Hart Lane on 19th April 1975, where the winner would take a huge leap towards safely, Chelsea succumbed to a 2-0 defeat and would go on to lose their remaining two fixtures to drop down into the old Division Two(now the Championship for you younger readers) with Spurs surviving relegation by a solitary point.

That relegation of Chelsea acted as karma for the Lillywhites as in the ensuing years particularly, in the 1990’s, the sea of change began to swing very much in Chelsea’s favour. Highlights including a 4-3 comeback win at the Bridge in 1993/94, the 6-1 demolition at White Hart Lane; Mark Nicholls is still held in high regard following this match; countless league doubles, home and away, trophies have been fought over together, such as a League cup victory in 2015 and the much recent FA Cup semi final win, to go along with countless trophies racked up in that period; for the Blues, oh and just in case anybody forgot, not that you would, Gary Lineker is still the last player to score a Tottenham winner at Stamford Bridge – stop laughing at the back!

Right, enough with Spurs for now; This week Hall Of Fame also looks at a few other unpopular characters who have etched their name into the appropriately named – Hall Of Shame.

Tom Henning Ovrebo

According to his Wikipedia page, Ovrebo is described as a ‘UEFA Elite referee’ – again stop laughing at the back – Yes an Elite Referee, any Chelsea, or any other fan would describe his performance at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of the 2009 Champions League semi final, as, shall we say, to use a modern football terminology, shocking.

In the European Championships of 2008, he refereed the opening group match between much hated rivals Germany v Poland, Ovrebo’s only other match at the tournament was the Italy’s group game with Romania.

Ovrebo was among only six other referees not to take charge of another fixture at the tournament.

So onto Stamford Bridge and the night which brought Tom Henning Ovrebo to notoriety among Chelsea supporters, replacing David Elleray as the Stamford Bridge faithful’s most hated match official.

Ovrebo missed at least four clear-cut penalty decisions, most notably a handball from Gerard Pique, thus allowing Barcelona to score a decisive equaliser in stoppage time to send the Catalans to Rome and deny Chelsea another crack in avenging defeat in Moscow against Manchester United.

UEFA conspiracy theories emerged and Didier Drogba was handed a four match ban for his arguments after the final whistle, had one of those penalties been awarded and scored, then Barcelona would have been denied a treble and the greatest side of the modern era might not have happened – a debate for another day perhaps.

Rafa Benitez

Jose Mourinho may have lit the fuse with his ‘ssshhh’ finger salute in front of the Liverpool fans when Chelsea took the lead in the 2005 Carling Cup final at Cardiff, but it was Rafa Benitez who took this modern day rivalry to new heights, when in 2007, before one of many epic European clashes between the two clubs – Benitez made a comment that has become so famous and popular, they have stuck the words on a plaque at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground.‘We don’t need to give our fans to wave – our supporters are always there with their hearts and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches – not flags.’

With that comment and others made during his tenure at Anfield including ‘I would never manage Chelsea’ it made for a rather awkward press conference when in November 2012, just six months after the greatest night in Chelsea’s history, winning the Champions League – sacked club legend Roberto Di Matteo with replaced with the one manager that the Stamford Bridge faithful could not abide – You guessed it, Rafa Benitez.

In his time at the club, his decision making and team selections were bizarre and bewildering to say the least – marginalising club captain John Terry and criticising the fans following an FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough didn’t exactly sway the fans in any way – despite this Chelsea rallied in the latter weeks of the season and picked up important wins at Old Trafford to secure third spot and automatic Champions League qualification.

Rafa Benitez signed off his short interim spell at the Bridge winning the Europa League ensuring Chelsea finished the season with a trophy and becoming the only club to hold both of Uefa’s most prestigious tournaments at the same time – if only for a few weeks.

Steven Hunt

To say Steven Hunt would be welcome at Stamford Bridge would be like seeing Roy Keane and Alf-Inge-Haaland down the Dog & Duck together enjoying a pint and reminiscing over old times.

As Jose Mourinho put it in his post match interview after the game ‘The Cech one, the challenge is a disgrace, he is lucky to be alive.’

After just 20 seconds at the Madejski Stadium, following a challenge from Hunt, Petr Cech fractured his skull and was out of action for three months – and to this day has to wear protective headwear on a football pitch.

Hunt who later insisted that he had simply tried to win possession said ‘I was 100% intent on trying to win the ball. I hope Petr Cech is not badly hurt and I hope he makes a full recovery as soon as possible.’

Relations between the pair have been more than amicable in post match pleasantries in the games played against each other since, but for that challenge on arguably the clubs greatest ever goalkeeper he goes down third on the list.

Luis Suarez

‘I’m not sure of what to make of it really, embarrassing’. These were just of the words from Liverpool club legend and Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness following the Uruguayan striker’s apparent bite on Branislav Ivanovic.

Souness went as far as suggesting that Suarez’s days at Anfield could be over ‘He’s making it very difficult to stay at Liverpool, I believe that puts him into last chance saloon’.

Bizarrely the incident hadn’t been his first offence, nor has it been the last since; in a game in 2010 while playing for Ajax against PSV Eindhoven, Suarez received a seven match ban for biting PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal following the Dutchman’s stamp on Suarez’s foot – Then in the 2014 World Cup after another bite incident with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, Suarez received a worldwide ban from all football related activities for four months plus nine international matches, the ruling meaning that he could not train with team mates or even enter a football stadium.

Suarez played down the incident after the match but later released an apology.

An outstanding footballer of no one can doubt for his goalscoring exploits wherever he has played, be it with Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona or Uruguay, most sporting superstars have a dark side to their character.
Luis Suarez can always expect a more than frosty reception at Stamford Bridge.

So there you have it, just a few names that will not be receiving a good reception along the Fulham Road.

Back to that lovely lot from N17, a similar result the last time Chelsea played Tottenham would go as far keeping the recent domination of this fixture in the modern era going.

STAND UP IF YOU HATE_______________ – I’ll leave it you to fill in the blank.

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