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West Ham United v Ipswich Town

Filed: Monday, 26th September 2011
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy is back and, since Mavis The Tea lady discovered that the overtime she put in over last week's preview was unpaid, we're lumbered with his ramblings once more. As usual there's more sensible stuff from the much better informed John Northcutt at the end so you might want to skip through to that. We did....

Next we entertain Ipswich Town at the Boleyn in a Tuesday 7.45pm kick-off. There’s no planned engineering work so TFL will have to come up with some other excuse for messing up your journey to and from E13.

It’s been something of a mixed bag for the Tractor Boys thus far this season. An opening day win away at Bristol City was promptly followed by a home defeat (1-2) to Northampton in the League Cup and another home defeat (0-1) to ‘Ull. If that opening spell worried the Suffolk faithful that was nothing to what was to follow over the next couple of weeks. At home against Southampton they found themselves 3-0 down at half time. By the hour they’d pulled two back but another two in the last 15 minutes saw them go down 5-2. Still they could console themselves with the fact that Southampton had/have been in decent form and that surely things would be much much better at Peterborough in the nearest thing they have to an East Anglian derby since Norwich’s promotion last season. It didn’t quite work out that way though. Enjoying one of those days when everything that could go wrong did go wrong in the most spectacular way possible, they had two sent off and went home on the wrong end of a 7-1 drubbing. The ship (or tractor?) has been steadied a bit since then and they’ve picked up seven out of the last twelve, with them picking up a creditable and, reportedly, well deserved point up at Boro’ last weekend in a 0-0 draw. All of this has left them in 13th spot with 9 points from their 8 matches though that two match aberration left them with a – 5 goal difference.

The boss is Paul Jewell. The Southampton and Peterborough matches weren’t the first times that the former Wigan & Derby boss has been on the end of a spanking. In fact, if the tabloids were to believed a few years back, Jewell was in the habit of keeping personal video recordings of such events on a regular basis. Jewell took over from Roy Keane in January of this year having been out of work since 2008 when Derby sacked him for taking them headlong into a relegation battle.

They have Fulham ‘keeper David Stockdale in goal at the moment. Stockdale first came to prominence at the start of the 2010/11 season when he was preferred to Mark Schwarzer who was either injured or distracted by Arsenal tapping him up at the time. Despite a transfer request Schwarzer stayed put and took over from Stockdale once more when “fit” again once the window had shut. Nevertheless Stockdale’s form has seen him gain international recognition, if not actual caps, from Fabio Capello who has named him in a few squads in recent months.

There’s a couple of ex-Hammers (to varying degrees) in the midfield. Lee Bowyer had two spells at the Bolwyn, neither of which were particularly distinguished. Bowyer’s list of indiscretions, both on and off the pitch would require a hard drive so large the power drain would probably dim the lights permanently here at the home for the bewildered – which actually might not be a bad thing at meal times. Last season he upset Arsene Wenger by stamping on Bachary Sagna. The three match ban that Bowyer received once the tv footage had been reviewed somehow gained more publicity than the miracle cure that the incident brought about to Wenger’s eyesight. Despite talk of a new contract from Birmingham, Bowyer left them on relegation and turned up at Portman Road as a free agent in the summer.

The other ex-Hammer, Jimmy Bullard, also arrived in Summer, having had his contract terminated by Hull City after alleged goings on following a pre-season trip to Slovenia. Whatever it was that Bullard did it was clear that Hull wanted shot of him anyway, having signed the player on a long term deal based on Premiership status. So when the player gave them the excuse to tear up his contract with no comebacks, it was an chance the Hull management gleefully accepted with both hands, getting rid of an out of favour player and, more importantly, reducing the wage bill by a hugely significant amount. Bullard spent three months on loan at Ipswich last season, doing well enough to earn “Player of the Season” plaudits from Supporters’ groups. So it was no surprise that, unemcumbered by transfer fee requirements, Jewell re-signed the midfielder as a free agent once Hull had wielded the axe.

Up front they have been starting with Michael Chopra, who came in for a reported £1.5m after two fairly decent years with Cardiff. Chopra started his career with Newcastle where he never quite made it. Over the past 11 years he’s had 7 different clubs (including loan spells). Newcastle-born, Chopra was the first player of Indian parentage to play in the Premier League. Despite representing England at all age levels up to U21 level, talks were held regarding the player representing India at full level. Although qualified to do so in football terms, Indian citizenship rules prohibit the holding of dual nationality and so an Indian passport, which would apparently be required for him to play, is not going to be forthcoming any day soon.

From India we fly, naturally enough, to Scotland by way of Trinidad & Tobago. Chopra’s strike partner of late has been Jason Scotland (see it does make some sort of sense). Scotland started his career in T&T with San Juan Jaboleth. I have no idea what a Jaboleth is either before you ask. Scotland is said to have picked up a knock but is thought to be fit enough to start this one.

What of us? Well since I’ve spent the last couple of matches on my Saga tour of rich widows I’m not exactly au fait with the way the team has been performing of late. I understand that Carlton Cold had a Cole or something (this hearing aid isn’t what it used to be) and that Joey O’Brien and Matt Taylor both have injury problems. Guy Demel has slotted right into the West Ham way by picking up a hamstring injury before his first win bonus. James Tomkins has recovered from the strain picked up at Dale Farm, sorry the New Den and is therefore backing contention to start, though the boss here reckons Faye had a decent ninety in the otherwise forgettable win against Peterborough last weekend. Given that there are a number of players busting to make the squad (a situation not helped by the daft 5 man bench restriction) it’s possible that we might see more of those who are champing at the bit. It would certainly be interesting to see Baldrick alongside Cole (or Carew if the Lemsip doesn’t work) but that sort of line-up doesn’t seem to be uppermost in Mr Allardyce’s list of things to do at the moment.

Prediction? Well as you know I’m usually wrong so I don’t really know why you keep asking. But since you did, we seem to have developed the knack of picking up points despite not convincing. I’m sure for all our sakes all concerned would like to start making things a bit easier for ourselves though. We’ve had some cracking nights against this lot over the years – some memorable play-off semi finals spring to mind – so with a new boy or two bursting to impress I’ll take us to win this one. They’re not exactly prolific up front so let’s go 2-0 this time.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met: A marvellous night under the lights in May 2005 at Portman Road as Zamora, assisted by Harewood sent us home 2-0 winners, (4-2 on aggregate) aided by brilliant away support buoyed by the Ipswich announcer getting us all rocking with a half-time airing for “A Town Called Malice".

Danger Man: Lee Bowyer – should he score it wouldn’t be the first time.

Referee: Keith Stroud – must have upset someone at PGMO HQ as they went out of their way to break their own rules to demote him from the Select Group a few years back. Despite his reinstatement once someone pointed out that Hackett’s knowledge of his own organisations regulations was on a par with his grasp of the laws of the game, it appears that Stroud’s face didn’t fit and he’s barely appeared at the top level in three years.

Daft Fact Of The Week: For many years the Portman Road groundstaff used to regularly win awards for “Best Pitch In The League” or some such. Of course they had a head start up there since the world’s first commercially marketed petrol-powered lawnmower was made by Ransomes of Ipswich in 1902. The first recorded excuse for not doing the back garden was noted in the town chronicles in the summer of that year as Mr A.J.W. Orford-Ness remarked to his good lady wife that, despite her concerns at the height of the grass, and the disappearance of their son Nigel somewhere therein, he was somewhat concerned as to the effect on the local environment of such machines and that he would definitely get round to it as soon as Mr Ransome had invented an electric one.

Stat man John: Northcutt's corner

Sending Off
Keith Robson in the match on 27th December 1975 at Upton Park

They Played For Both
Lee Chapman, Mark Noble, Craig Forrest, Kieran Dyer Phil Parkes, Andy Nelson, Stuart Slater, Steve Bywater Paul Goddard, Steve Whitton, Lee Bowyer Richard Wright Marlon Harewood, Matt Holland, Kevin Horlock

John Lyall had spells at both clubs as manager with the Hammers from 1974 until 1989 and at Ipswich from 1990 until 1994

Friendlies Away
Aug 1986 0-2
Aug 1992 1-1 Dicks
Aug 1998 2-2 Hudson Garcia
Aug 2008 5-3 Ashton 3 Bellamy Noble
Jul 2010 1-1 Cole

Home Testimonials

Aug 1990 Phil Parkes 1-1 Quinn
May 1992 Ray Stewart 1-2
Apr 1995 George Parris 2-3 McAvennie Parris

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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