Filed: Thursday, 18th August 2016
By: Preview Percy
If preview writing were an Olympic sport, Preview Percy would be the equivalent of bloke from a country without any swinmming pools wearing armbands who has to be rescued by the lifeguards during the men's 100 metre freestyle. Here's is look at this weekend's visit of Bournemouth...
Next we entertain Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic (as us old ‘uns like to still call them because we are awkward), who become the first league visitors to the Olympic Stadium. Kick-off for the benefit of those with space tv is 4pm on Sunday. Although the TfL Rail line does have some engineering works between Ilford & Shenfield these should be over by 8am and, lets face it, you ain’t gonna be up at that hour on a Sunday anyway.
AFC Bournemouth (so renamed at the behest of John Bond to give the club a more “modern” image in the 1970’s, rather than the current trend to use the “AFC” prefix to denote some sort of phoenix club) ended up last season in 16th spot, two places and 5 points above Newcastle who (with apologies to Preview Alastair) occupied the last of the trapdoor places. Their 42 points were on a par with Palace who enjoyed a 10 goal advantage in goal difference over the Cherries. In retrospect there were two runs of three wins in a row which arguably kept them afloat. The December run of wins away at Chelsea (1-0), home to Man Utd (2-1) and away at West Brom (2-1) was matched by a similar run in March when home wins over Southampton (2-0) and Swansea (2-2) sandwiched a 3-1 win up at (with apologies to Preview Alastair) Newcastle.
So this season has the potential to be “that difficult second season” then. It started in inauspicious manner with a 3-1 home defeat to the Salford Tourist Attraction, a game which defender Simon Francis won’t be including on the highlights DVD he makes to show the grandchildren. Now it may be just me but when I saw the hitherto perennially youthful Ernie Howe’s post-match interview on the box it looked to me that he might have aged a bit. Indeed, he now almost looks like he could get served in the Swan & Superinjunction without showing the fake ID that Algernon occasionally asks for just to show he’s awake.
In recognition of the fact that money will need to be spent, the biggest outlay in close season was for Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe. Ibe has been capped at various age levels by England up to U21 range and the player has pledged his future to England, despite overtures from Nigeria, for whom he also qualifies. The Work Experience Girl wearing a King Crimson t-shirt even though she doesn’t know who they are tells me that the £15m fee paid for Ibe is a Bournemouth club record.
Liverpool was also the source for Aussie left-back Brad Smith. He arrives not long after having finally settled a long-running contract dispute with the scousers who, it should be noted, have much previous when it comes to not being totally honest with the paperwork when it comes to player contracts. Just ask Luis Suarez. Like the Ibe deal, the £6m fee paid is believed to contain sell-on and buy-back clauses.
Their most recent signing was completed earlier this week with the arrival of left-back Marc Wilson. It is in fact Wilson’s third spell with the Cherries, him having spent had a couple of loan spells at what I am still going to call Dean Court unless the sponsors want to pay me to mention their name whilst he was on Pompey’s books about 9 years ago. £2m went up the A34 to Stoke in return for his services, with him having been used mainly as backup by Mark Hughes.
They also spent £6m on Leeds midfielder Lewis Cook. Now 19, Cook broke into the Leeds side in 2014-15, since when he has spent much of his time being liked with other clubs. Indeed, with the revolving door policy employed by the Leeds owner with regards the manager’s role at Elland Road, it was the case that each new arrival to the hot seat was given a piece of paper containing the club’s standard “Cook is going nowhere” statement, much in the same way that new prime ministers are given the nuclear launch instructions on taking office. Cook was awarded the Football League’s “Young Player Of The Year” gong last season, something that probably added a few bob to his value, most of which will probably go on severance payments to former managers. Cook has been capped at various age levels for England and would probably have been in the England squad for the 2016 U19 European Championships. However, Leeds manager Gary Monk (well he was at the time – it’s a few weeks ago now) removed him from the squad so that he could work with the player for a full season. Here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home for the Bewildered we are a bit old-fashioned about that sort of thing. We don’t like to see players being denied the opportunity to represent their country at any level so we sort of think it serves Monk right to have had the player sold from underneath him.
Last season’s start was characterised by a series of injuries to players in key positions. One of those was £7m signing Max Gradel. Another former Leeds player, he did his cruciate knee ligaments last August, an injury that kept him sidelined to February. He is another who has a previous loan spell at Dean Court on his CV, Leicester having let the Cherries have use of the player in 2007-08. Gradel’s arrival last season marked a return to England for the Ivorian, aho had spent the previous four years with St Etienne (don’t worry I’ve retired the Sarah Cracknell gag for this season) after his move from Leeds.
Another cruciate ligament victim last season was striker Callum Wilson whose knee went a month after he had scored a hat-trick against us at the Boleyn. The injury kept him on the side lines until April.
Us? Well this is being put together in the immediate aftermath of our trip to Romania where, until their goal came out of the blue, we looked ok in the face of an Astra team that weren’t causing too many problems. Indeed, had we gone 2-0 up after Browne had fed Antonio that would pretty much have been it. However, the equaliser came Astra finally twigged that they might need to get the job done at home which led to a few shaky moments. Unsurprisingly much of the threat came down the flanks. Full backs please.
Injury news isn’t great. Ayew’s injury appears to be a doozie and will keep him out for quite some time unfortunately. It’s been an expensive way of giving Cresswell some company in the treatment room to be sure. Payet may have been left in Blighty even without the knock he is said to be suffering from but should be available to play some part in proceedings. Feghouli is still looking like mid-September.
Prediction? Well it’s been a slow start for us caused by a mixture of injury and the need to ease players back from international duty. And Anthony Bloody Taylor. However, we will be facing a side who will be nervously wondering whether or not “second season syndrome” is actually a thing. Some of the resources have been shepherded over the past two games and I reckon the fact that this will be the “historic” first league game in the new gaff will also add a bit of zip to proceedings. So this time round I will be popping down to Winstone’s the turf accountants and placing the £2.50 I was going to give to anybody who could make Taekwondo interesting for me on a 2-1 home win.
Enjoy the game!
When last we met at home: Lost 3-4 (League August 2015). It was full-back hell as Cresswell and Jenkinson gifted the visitors a 2-0 lead. Noble (our annual penalty) and Kouyate levelled. Jenkinson handed the visitors two more – getting sent off for Denial Of Goalscoring Opportunity for the second before Maiga weaved his way through to score a fine third to give the score a slightly flattering air. We got better that season.
Danger Man: Callum Wilson. Hat trick against us last time….
Referee Craig Pawson – anyone has to be better than Taylor, Right?
Percy’s Poser. Last time we asked what change to the legal system did the new regime in Romania instigate as soon as they had finished executing the Ceausescus. One used cotton bud, complete with earwax, goes to Mrs Freda Marsupial of Grays Thurrock for remembering that once the executions were done they abolished the death penalty. Well done Freda!
This week’s poser: For the chance to win an A level of your choice* simply tell us this: What was the name of the Bournemouth Italian restaurant part-owned by Harry Redknapp that was so successful (apparently) he was able to buy a place in Sandbanks, one of the most expensive strips of real estate in Europe? Submit your answer via the red button.
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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