After weeks of build-up since semi-final wins against Barnet and AFC Wimbledon respectively, the supporters teams of West Ham and Watford are ready to go head to head in the inaugural IFA London Cup Final, to be played at the Paringdon Sports Club in Harlow this Saturday.
Having won their groups with 100% records earlier in the season, both sides have played some of their best football in this competition,whetting the appetite for an entertaining match. The final is given added spice as the teams have forged a strong friendship during years of friendly rivalry – Saturday’s game is the 22nd meeting since the formation of the IFA – and though that’s likely to take a back seat for 90 minutes, it should also ensure a game played in the best traditions of the IFA league.
“We have a great relationship with Watford which has brought the teams very close and some great friendships have been formed” said Hammers manager Vinnie White earlier this week. “Win or Lose, I expect both teams will celebrate with each other fully after the game” Watford joint manager Dave Messenger echoed that sentiment “The games with West Ham are our favourite fixtures in the calendar. We’ve never met with silverware at stake but I reckon the banter will be flowing before and after the game, as usual, even though both teams will be desperate to win once the first ball is kicked”
West Ham are in their first IFA final and go into this match in a fine run of form with 13 back to back wins, including beating Watford in the IFA league matches both home and away. White won’t be taking anything for granted though, despite that spectacular run. “We are fully aware of the quality that Watford have that wasn’t available to them in the league matches so a close, hard fought match is expected. We have a fully fit squad and will be expecting a good performance on the back of a great run to hopefully finish the season in style with our first ever trophy win”
Watford come into their third IFA final on the back of a mixed season. Having started strongly, good results early in the campaign fizzled out through the winter months but recent improvements have seen the club win 3 of their last 4 outings. Messenger feels their best form has come in this competition and hopes it will continue at the weekend. “We’ve always taken cup competitions more seriously than the league down the years and that’s been the case throughout our London Cup campaign. We’ve got a strong squad out, with 6 survivors from our Worldnet Final against Preston in 2008, and though we know West Ham will be hard to beat, we’re confident of going one better than that day and bringing the cup back to Watford”
The IFA London Cup Final kicks off at 10AM this Saturday, April 21st, at Paringdon Sports Club, Paringdon Road, Harlow, CM19 4QT. Fans of both teams are more than welcome. You can follow the progress of the final, and both clubs, on twitter – @watford_ifc and @WestHamFansFC