Filed: Monday, 1st October 2012
By: Preview Percy
We next return to league action on Monday (1 October already!) against Queen’s Park Rangers at Rangers Stadium or, if you prefer, Loftus Road. Kick-off is at 8 and it’s on space telly should you not be one of the lucky 1,800 to have been granted tickets.
Our hosts currently lie bottom of the league with two points from their five games so far. Having given the squad a close-season overhaul, they raised eyebrows with an opening day 5-0 home defeat to Swansea. This was followed up with a rather fortuitous 1-1 draw at Norwich (getting the right side of a couple of poor refereeing decisions en route), a 3-1 reverse at Man City, a 2-1 defeat at Spurs, and a 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea. The latter match was, of course, overshadowed by the handshake shenanigans over the sorry excuse for a human being that is John Terry who is still complaining about being hard done by to anyone that will listen despite getting a ban and fine about a third of the size they ought to have been.
Their start to the season will be something of a disappointment to majority shareholder – and one time Hammers’ suitor – Tony Fernandes. The squad received a radical overhaul as Mark Hughes had his first summer at the club. Hughes took over from the sacked (tee hee) Neil Warnock, whose claim that he is good enough to manage in the Premiership is now so obviously a lie that the only people deluded enough to believe it are probably him and his wife. And I bet Mrs Warnock would probably cough and change the subject were you to raise the matter in conversation.
We're spoilt for choice for ex-Hammers. One of the first signings to arrive in Shepherd’s Bush this summer was Rob Green. Green was, understandably in my opinion, somewhat dismayed a couple of years back to discover that the new contract he had signed placed him well down the list of high earners at the Boleyn. Especially when you consider the actual contributions made by some of those ahead of him in that list. Having been refused a pay review it appears that Green decided to see his contract out and move on.
I don’t have a problem with that personally. In the couple of seasons that passed while the contract ran down nobody could accuse Green of not pulling his weight. Of course, where the player’s judgement might be seen to be lacking is in his choice of destination club on leaving the Boleyn. I suppose it must have seemed like a good idea at the time, joining a club with a rich owner willing to spend a few bob on the team. However, Green had a bit of a ‘mare on the opening day.
The subsequent signing of Brazilian 'keeper Julio Caesar had all the appearance of a knee-jerk reaction, though it is possible that negotiations for the signing of the then Inter custodian may have already been in progress prior to the Swansea match. Either way, it is believed that Green is less than impressed with the turn of events as they stand and I for one wouldn't be surprised to see our former no.1 elsewhere this time next season. As it is we are most likely to see him on the bench.
As mentioned, Anton Ferdinand is another ex-Hammer in the squad. On his day, as we well know, he can be a useful defender. However, as we also well know, he has, over the years, shown a propensity to a lack of concentration at key moments. I may have related this tale before but Alan Pardew once paid us a visit here at the Avram Grant Home For The Bewildered (of course, it was the “Marco Boogers” home back then).
Talking about Ferdinand, Pardew made reference to the player's occasional lapses and remarked that he'd sent him to see a Sports Psychologist to see if something could be done. We enquired how the session had gone only to be told: “he forgot to turn up”. Whether or not he remembers to turn up for this one may be irrelevant as he is listed as having a hamstring strain so he is unlikely to be playing.
On the right side of midfield, they have someone called Kieron Dyer playing for them. According to my record books he is listed as having spent a few seasons with us but I'll be damned if I can remember him doing so, Seriously though, if you believe in some form of reincarnation-based karma, he must have been someone particularly evil in a previous life to have been so unlucky with injury in this one. If their lives hadn't overlapped my money would have been on Piers Morgan.
Another who made little impression in his time at the Boleyn was Academy graduate Hogan Ephrahim. The midfielder/forward made one sub appearance for us in the League Cup about seven years ago and spent much of his time out on loan, including a spell at QPR for whom he signed in 2007. Since they started spending money at Loftus Road, Ephrahim has seen himself pretty much on the fringes of things and has had spells on loan at Leeds, Charlton & Bristol City in recent years. If we see him about for this one it'll be on the bench.
A player with slightly more significance for us is Bobby Zamora. Z-man you will recall, scored the goal against Preston at Cardiff that saw us promoted in 2005. He scored a number of important goals for us during his time as a Hammer, a mazy run at Birmingham and that effort at Blackburn that, to the uneducated eye, might have looked as if it had been inadvertently cleared off the line by Carlos Tevez.
It also looked that way to the educated eye. And also to eyes with dark glasses on. Looking the other way. In fact the only people who thought that had crossed the line were Howard Webb and his assistant, a fact that eluded Lord Griffiths and the deluded lying hypocrite that is Neil Warnock. Zamora is, in my opinion, underrated as a striker. I'm not saying that he's a world-beater but, in a world that sees fit to award multiple England caps to Darren Bent, he probably has a right to feel a little hard done by. I know I do.
Whilst we're on the subject, the transfer of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin exposed the authorities for the incompetent and corrupt shambles that they really are. You will recall that in the Tevez affair we fell foul of a rule that nobody knew existed . Having been punished to the tune of over £5million plus having to pay for Sheffield United's own incompetence the FA decided to clarify the rules relating to third-party ownership of players so that everyone knew where they stood. So quite how they came to the conclusion that a deliberate flouting of the re-written rule that everyone was now aware of was only worth a fine of £875,000 one can only speculate.
Tellingly, Colin, who not long previously had been firmly of the opinion that such transgressions merited points deductions, went very quiet on the subject lest it affect his chances of putting “Football League Championship Winning Manager” on his CV. Although the signing of the player pre-dated Warnock's arrival in West London he was quite happy to select and profit from the availability of a player who by his own twisted logic, must have contributed to their title win.
A familiar name on the QPR team sheet will be that of Shaun Wright-Phillips. Although not actually an ex-Hammer he sort of feels like one to those of us who have been using this site for any length of time. For those who are relatively new to these parts, during a transfer window a few years ago someone posted that the player was definitely at the place where we do our medicals. He really was. Honest.
As far as we are aware he's still there and the “Shaun Wright-Phillips medical” has become a running in-joke which resurfaces every so often – usually when the window opens. For my part I believe that the medical centre was short of supplies and that they're just waiting for the delivery of those little wooden things they flatten your tongue with while they ask you to say “aaaaah” so they can complete the medical. After all it would be sheer folly for a professional club to sign a player without checking his ability to say “aaaaah”, wouldn't it.
And so to us. Well the League Cup match was disappointing but, in the grand scheme of things it's not something I think anyone should lose a lot of sleep over. That said I don't believe that Mr Allardyce didn't take the competition seriously. We put out a side that, whilst light on experience,still ought to have had enough to make a game of it – and for 20 minutes or so we did. Maiga's goal was all about the hard work done in putting the opposition under pressure. For whatever reason we failed to keep that up and a number of individuals did themselves no favours in terms of first team contention. Still, move on and deal with more important matters.
We will, of course, see the return of a large number of nicely rested players for this one. JJ will be back in goal and Collins & Reid will resume their partnership in the defence. Benayoun will come back into contention after his absence for religious reasons whilst Carlton's beleaguered knees will also have been grateful for not having had to stay up late on Tuesday night. Nolan will return whilst Maiga – who was not included in the manager's list of “things to be critical of” in midweek – may be hoping for a start this time round. Those sitting in the Shaun Wright-Phillips Memorial Medical Centre at the moment are Andy Carroll – another week or so for him I suspect, Jack Collison – who is still shepherding his knee through recovery- and Gary O'Neil whose injury on Tuesday night doesn't seem to have been too serious.
Prediction? Well their problem has been scoring goals this season. In the league they've mustered but three – all of which have come courtesy of Zamora. Whenever we've had problems this season they've largely been self inflicted. If we can keep the silly errors out of the picture I reckon we can get all three out of this one. I would go for a clean sheet but the “Law Of The Ex” means that Zamora is likely to register, I'll therefore be looking to place the Avram Grant Rest Home For The Bewildered John Terry Appeal fighting fund (£2.50 donated by someone by the name of N Griffin) on a 2-1 away win as the memory of the League Cup exit becomes merely a footnote in the grand scheme of things.
Enjoy the game!
When last we met: Won 2-1 (h) A Harewood brace (1 pen) was enough to gain us revenge against a Rangers side that had kicked lumps off us in sneaking a 1-0 win on their own patch.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg. A poor ref whose debts in his personal life led to dismissal by PGMO. Note that it was his personal life rather than his inconsistent performances that got him the chop – against which he successfully appealed. Last seen by us officiating in the 4-0 victory in the snow over Man Utd in the League Cup, which just goes to show what a good performance that really was.
Danger Man: Bobby Zamora. The scorer of all their goals so far this season and an ex-Hammer to boot. Shaun Wright-Phillips als has a habit of turning it on against us.
Daft Fact Of The Week: QPR have had nearly 20 grounds in their history – including a couple of spells at the now sadly gone White City stadium. They have plans to relocate again over the next few years. One of the proposals being speculated on is a move to the site currently occupied by the BBC TV centre up the road, which is earmarked for redevelopment in a few years' time once everyone's been moved on from there. The fact that the BBC site is 300 yards closer to Leyton has been noted by Barry Hearn, who is already licking his lips in anticipation at the prospect of lining his pockets, er, I mean compensation.
Stat man John: Northcutt's corner
Head to Head
Pld 57; West Ham Utd 20, QPR 19, Draws 18.
7th October 1950: West Ham Utd 4-1 QPR (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
1st January 1978: QPR 6-1 West Ham Utd (Loftus Road, FA Cup)
16th January 1909: QPR 0-0 West Ham Utd (Park Royal Ground, FA Cup)
November 1953: QPR 2-4 West Ham Utd (Parker, Sexton 2, Dick)
August 1971: QPR 2-0 West Ham Utd
They Played For Both
Kieron Dyer; Nigel Quashie; Anton Ferdinand; Danny Gabbidon; Bobby Zamora; Phil Parkes; Bert Hawkins; Frank Neary; Clive Allen; Martin Allen; Paul Goddard; Andy Impey; Tim Breacker; Ludek Miklosko; Trevor Sinclair; Dave Mangnall; Leroy Rosenior; Robert Green; Hogan Ephraim; Iain Dowie; Bill Nelson; George Petchey; Keith Rowland; Les Ferdinand; Jack Young; Steve Lomas.
1994-95: Martin Allen (h)
Former Hammer Dave Sexton was the QPR manager between 1974 and 1977 - whilst former manager Glen Roeder was the QPR captain in 1978.
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.
comments powered by Disqus