Filed: Friday, 14th September 2012
By: Preview Percy
Next up we pay a visit to Norfolk where our hosts will be Norwich City. It’s the third silly o’clock kick-off in a row, starting as it does at 12.45pm.
If you’re the sort of person that likes to travel with the great unwashed on public transport you may care to note that there are engineering works between Billericay and Witham which will necessitate your transfer from railway carriage to omnibus for part of the journey, adding something like an hour to the journey time between London and Norwich. Which probably means that if you are reading this at home it’s now too late to go.
For the third time in four matches we face a side that changed manager during the summer. Paul Lambert’s departure for Villa saw Chris Hughton making a similar trip in reverse, leaving Birmingham City for Carrow Road.
It wasn’t the brightest of starts to the season for the Canaries as Fulham went on the rampage at Craven Cottage with a 5-0 win. Things calmed down a bit in the 'five-nil derby' the following week as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by QPR while last week they arguably had the better of the match (certainly of the closing stages) against Spurs with whom they also drew 1-1.
So two points from three matches then, which leaves them in 15th place so far. This is one place below Spurs by virtue of goal difference – the opening day thrashing doing them no favours in that regard.
Hughton was pretty busy over the summer. One of his first bits of business was to sort out the future of Grant Holt. Holt seemed to be a wee bit put out at the departure of Lambert and seemed set to leave, with an apparent preference for following his old boss to Villa Park. Such love appeared to be unrequited and there doesn’t seem to have been any official bid from Villa for the player’s services.
We, on the other hand, did apparently make a bid though the amounts being bandied about seemed to be quite a lot of money for a player in his thirties. As subsequent events turned out we ended up with a better deal anyway. Holt, meanwhile, apparently chastened by the relative lack of interest ended up signing a new deal which will keep him at Carrow Road for another three years and he is their skipper this term.
Ex-Hammer Hughton wasn’t shy in approaching his other former employers for players. They secured central defender Sebastien Bassong from Spurs as their clearout commenced – depending on which of the many sources of info you believe the fee was £2.6-4m. Bassong has been on his way out of White Hart Lane for some time now, and spent the latter part of last season as part of Wolves’ unsuccessful attempt to stay up.
Another central defender to arrive was Michael Turner, who arrived from Sunderland. Turner has spells at Charlton, Brentford and Hull under his belt. At Hull he was thrice voted Player of the year and played in every minute of every game in the Tigers’ 2008/09 league campaign. On top of that his principal claim to fame is that many years ago when I actually had hair he and I used to get our locks trimmed at the same establishment. Which was nice. For him.
The ex-Hammer on the books is Elliot Ward. Ward was part of the Irons team that won promotion via the playoffs at the end of 2004/05. Although his selection was a last resort due to everyone else who could play in the centre of defence being injured at the time, it soon transpired that his partnership with Anton Ferdinand was more than good enough for the rigours of second-tier football. The pairing, accidental or otherwise, is widely credited with being a major contribution to our promotion that year.
Promotion gained, the restructuring of the side saw the arrival of Danny Gabbidon and someone called James Collins (whatever happened to him?). With Ferdinand and “love of our lives” Christian Dailly also about at the time Ward ended up going out on loan to Plymouth before signing a permanent deal with Coventry. He arrived at Carrow Road in 2010 but injuries have precluded his making an appearance thus far this season.
The first of two loan players in the squad is Spaniard Javier Garrido. Garrido is on loan from Lazio and his arrival in the summer marks his second spell in the Premier League, having spent 2007-2010 on the books of Manchester City, making his debut in his side’s opening day 2-0 win at the Boleyn in August 2007.
The following few years and the arrival of large amounts of petrodollars on the east side of Manchester saw him make few appearances and his road led to Rome. Although Alexander Kolarov had gone in the other direction a few days before, technically the deals weren’t linked. He’s come in on a one year loan deal with an option to extend.
The splendidly Dickensian-named Robert Snodgrass arrived from Leeds and was on the scoresheet last week against Spurs. Snodgrass was made captain by his former boss Neil Warnock at Leeds. Which is a little bit like having your musical ability praised by Simon Cowell. Warnock offered Snodgrass an improved contract but the lure of going anywhere just to not work with Colin proved too great and he made the trek down to less unpleasant climes in July.
Regular readers will be aware that we love a good Player/Crime story in this column and Snodgrass is this week's “Miscreant Of The Week”. At one stage last year the beak in Glasgow had mobilised the full force of the law against the Scotland international after he’d failed to appear in court. Not for Snodgrass the standard footballer offence of drinking too many shandies and being too stingy to pay for a cab home out of his £25k a week salary. No this was a misunderstanding over stopping on a pelican crossing. Bastard. Hanging’s too good for ‘em I say.
Perhaps Hughton might have a few words to say on the discipline front, once he’s paid off the fine he got himself a couple of weeks ago for failing to identify the driver of his speeding Audi on the M42. I’m willing to bet that it’ll be the only time this season that he won’t be pleased at picking up six points.
The second loan signing of what I shall laughingly refer to as “the summer” was up front, where their options have been augmented by the arrival of striker Harry Kane. Kane has come in from Spurs on loan and spent a lot of last season at Millwall. Since he also has a spell as an employee of Barry “stuff the community what’s in it for me?” Hearn under his belt, Norwich will be like a pleasant breath of fresh air for the player, who has been capped at U19 level for England.
And now us. Remember the 2012/13 season? You must do. We played three games – the last of which saw us beating Fulham 3-0. It seems so long ago now doesn’t it. The arrival of Andy Carroll dominated – and continues to dominate - the headlines, especially in view of Liverpool’s hilarious failure to get around to replacing him. It was, indeed, a splendid debut which saw him so keen to immerse himself in the traditions of our club he promptly picked up the “new player injury” that seems statutory for us to have at the start of a season. Four to six weeks is the prognosis, which, given the international break should see him back in three to five weeks or so.
Whilst Carroll is obviously out, the position with Guy Demel is less clear. Demel is listed as a doubt with the now ubiquitous “knock” against his name with “no return date”. The news is brighter regarding Matt Jarvis & George McCartney, both of whom should be available for selection. There have also been encouraging noises on the subject of Jack Collison – though this match will be too soon for him it’s been suggested that a return to the squad is weeks, rather than months away.
We’ll also be bolstered by the return of Yossi Benayoun from the various footballing backwaters he’s been frequenting since his illegal signing by Liverpool a few years ago. It is to be hoped that spending time at such muppet-places as Anfield, Stamford Bridge and The Library hasn’t dulled his undoubted skills any. It is also to be hoped that a cure has been found for the mysterious ailments that seemed to plague him without fail just before every international break during his previous spell with us. I’m sure Mr Allardyce, with all his faith in science and technology has a computer programme already working on the problem.
So it’s a pretty strong squad that will be available for this one. There’ll be a fair bit of confidence about arising from the manner of the victory against Fulham which, despite Martin Jol’s rather sour grapey comments to the contrary, contained a lot of decent football. There is, of course, a temptation to look at the fact that Fulham (somehow) stuck five past this weekend’s opponents and look at the way we demolished them in order to come to a conclusion. Football, of course, doesn’t work like that.
Amongst other factors to consider is the fact that Fulham’s record away from Craven Cottage is traditionally awful. In fact, I reckon that if our return fixture with them were moved to that park next door to their ground we’d be guaranteed three points. Not to mention a quicker walk from the place where the boat docks.
However, when I look at doing a prediction I always place great store on the relative confidence levels of the team. Which may be why I’m usually wrong. Though the Canaries have undoubtedly improved since the opening day, they would still have preferred to have gone into the break with a win under their belts – especially against the likes of QPR and that other side they played. It’s been a stuttering start for them and, though our one voyage away from the Boleyn thus far didn’t exactly raise the spirits, it’s difficult to see quite so many players having quite so many nightmares all at once. And Swansea was abroad and foreign travel is always tricky.
So I am upbeat about our chances of registering a first away win of the season. Here at the Avram Grant Rest Home for The Bewildered there is an emergency legal fund which is used after every time the place is featured on a “Panorama” documentary. I have, with my usual skill and dexterity, located said fund and will therefore be off to the Honest Ray Winstone Turf Accountancy Emporium to place all £2.50 on a 2-1 win to us.
Enjoy the game!
When Last We Met: Won 2-1 (FA Cup 3rd Round January 2006). Mullins and Zamora saw us safely through to the next round as the home side omitted Dean Ashton due to injury, honest guv, and in no way as part of some plot to keep him from being cup-tied in advance of a move to the Boleyn.
Referee: Chris Foy. Had a bit of a nightmare in the 4-2 home defeat to Reading last season. Loves refereeing Spurs as he knows all the abusive messages will go to the wrong place.
Danger Man: Robert Snodgrass. Public Enemy No.1 (No Pelican Crossing is safe) picked up a nicely taken equaliser at White Hart Lane the other week and is probably the pick of their strikers.
Daft Fact Of The Week: It is claimed that the Norwich song “On The Ball City” is the world’s oldest football song. Dating as it does from the 1890’s, before the formation of the club itself, it is probably the only song in the world that contains the word “scrimmage”, a word for which the lyricists wisely avoided trying to find a rhyme.
Stat man John: Northcutt's corner
Head to Head
Pld 46; West Ham Utd 17, Norwich 15, Draws 14.
11th March 1939: Norwich 2-6 West Ham Utd (Carrow Road, Division Two)
1st January 1988: Norwich 4-1 West Ham Utd (Carrow Road, Division Two)
6th October 1934: Norwich 1-2 West Ham Utd (Newmarket Road, Division Two)
Last Five Meetings
7th January 2006: Norwich 1-2 West Ham Utd (Carrow Road, FA Cup)
8th January 2005: West Ham Utd 1-0 Norwich (Boleyn Ground, FA Cup)
21st February 2004: Norwich 1-1 West Ham Utd (Carrow Road, Division One)
15th October 2003: West Ham Utd 1-1 Norwich (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
11th Match 1995: West Ham Utd 2-2 Norwich (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
16th September 1972: West Ham Utd 4-0 Norwich (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
Unbelievably perhaps this was West Ham's ninth game in just 35 days at the beginning of the 1972/73 campaign - any they think they have it hard now! With both teams firmly ensconced in mid-table the game, watched by just over 27,000 people was most notable for Bobby Moore's appearance in midfield - and it was to be a match-winning performance that left the morning's papers asking whether Alf Ramsey should use an aging Mooro in that position for England.
The first two goals - from Brooking and 'Pop' Robson - came from Moore assists. Tommy Taylor put the game beyond any reasonable doubt on the stroke of half time before Robson's grabbed his second and West Ham's fourth with 12 minutes of normal time remaining. West Ham would go on to finsih the season in sixth spot - equalling the club's best ever top-flight finish at that time.
October 1958: Norwich 2-4 West Ham Utd (Keeble 2, Grice, Musgrove)
May 1975: Norwich 1-1 West Ham Utd (Lampard)
July 2002: Norwich 1-3 West Ham Utd (Sinclair, Defoe, J.Cole)
July 2007: Norwich 1-2 West Ham Utd (Ashton, Spector)
It's An Early Bath For You, Mr Cantona...
Mattthew Etherington is the only Hammer to have been sent off against Norwich - that being in the 2003/04 season at Carrow Road.
They Played For Both
Mark Bowen; Robert Green; Albert Foan; John McDowell; Jimmy Neighbour; Graham Paddon; Matthew Rush; Alan Taylor; Steve Walford; Martin Peters; John Gurkin; Fred Kearns; Ted MacDougall.
The former West Ham players who have managed Norwich are John Bond, Ken Brown, Archie Macaulay, and Chris Hughton. Our former manager Glenn Roeder was also (briefly) the Norwich manager and Alan Pardew's assistant manager Peter Grant has also been the boss at Carrow Road.
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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