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Southampton v West Ham United


Filed: Wednesday, 26th December 2018
By: Preview Percy


After another match in which a referee performed well below acceptable standards, Preview Percy took it as well as you might expect. Here;s his look at the forthcoming visit to Southampton....

Next up there's an away trip over the festive season that is, in no way, anything to do with a large shopping centre located a few yards from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. No, totally coincidentally, we have been selected to play away at this time of year,again, despite assurances that there will "definitely" be Boxing Day matches at home. One day. Honest. 

So it is down the M3 we traipse to St Mary's where we will be hosted by Southampton. Kick off on Thursday is 7:45pm and, if the services of Southwestern Railway are your preferred mode of transport, here is a public service announcement: The RMT union, whose leadership seem to be paid by the number of strikes they call, have called one for Thursday. There will be trains running but it'll be a reduced service. The big problem will be getting back. You'll be cutting it fine to get the 22:00 out of Southampton to London which leaves you - and everyone else - scrambling to get the 23:00. Which is the last train back to London and which, having called everywhere between Basingstoke and London, will arrived at Waterloo at 1.14am.

This train is therefore likely to be a bit overcrowded and therefore a bit unsafe. Which is ironic given that RMT continue to claim safety is the reason for their shenanigans. It's good to know that everything will be much safer once they get a pay rise out of it.

And so to football. Our hosts are having a bit of a mini-revival of late having replaced Mark “Laughing Boy” Hughes with Ralph Hasenhuttl (which is pronounced “Hasenhuttl”) late of Leipzig, who gave every season ticket holder a free beer on arrival.

Someone has nicknamed him as the “Klopp of the Alps” which, if taken literally, means he will be an irritating twit who will watch his side kicking lumps out of the opposition then moan as soon as someone puts in a strong on one of his players. While yodelling.

Although they lost the first of the new manager's games 1-0 at Cardiff, they have won their last two. The first of these came with a late 3-2 win at home to Arsenal thanks, in part, to Arsenal 'keeper Leno electing to come for a cross in a manner best described as reminiscent of Superman after 12 pints. Of Kryptonite. They followed that up with a 3-1 win over Huddersfield, capitalising on some lousy defending in the first half, weathering a resurgent Terriers side in the second half then killing it off with a late one. All of this leaves them in 16th place with 15 from 18 played, some three points and two places clear of Burnley who currently occupy the uppermost relegation Southampton squad and couldn't find anyone worth making an illegal approach for this time round. Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile tells me that four permanent deals were struck plus a loan deal that is permanent. Sort of.

The largest fee paid is likely to have been the undisclosed £18m sent to Borussia Monchengladbach in return for the services of Jannick Westergaard. A Danish international, the centre back made their World Cup squad for Russia but made a total of zero appearances in the tournament. According to Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, the player owns a dog which is rather oddly-named “Brady”. I think I will give that one a swerve with the widest of all possible berths thank you very much.

The next arrival in order of the size of fee was Norwegian international striker/winger Mohamed Elyounoussi for whom £16m was required to prise him away from Basle. Although Moroccan-born he's been in Norway since he was a kid. Despite the size of the fee he's been used sparingly and four of his six appearances this season have come from the bench. Perhaps tellingly there was no room at the inn for him in the squad for last weekend's trip to Yorkshire.I have no idea whether or not he owns a dog but his dad does run a pizza place in Norway so if you ever wanted to know what a fusion of Italian/Norwegian/Moroccan cuisine tasted like I guess that's the place to go.

As one of the senior citizens around here the size of transfer fees still astounds me. Even more so when a big fee is paid for a player whose purpose appears to be to act as back-up from the start. This seems to be the case for Angus Gunn for whom £13.5m was paid to Man City where the 'keeper was similarly employed to occupy the racing car seats. I guess he is closer to first XI selection at St Mary's than he would have been at the Theatre of Human Rights Abuses but £13.5m does seem an awful lot to pay for a reserve. Fellow elderly patrons might remember Gunn's dad Bryan plying his trade at Norwich in days of yore.

Gunn senior was a full international for Scotland back in the day. Gunn junior on the other hand has been capped at age level for England and has made the full squad on occasion. Despite this he was offered the chance to go and play for Scotland but turned it down much as one would if offered a free ticket to go an watch Mrs Brown's Boys being filmed.

Talking of Scotland (seamless link alert) that's where they went to pick up Stuart Armstrong. The fee paid to Celtic for the midfielder was a “mere” £7m. Presumably he didn't need much persuading to escape the Scottish Premier Yawn for something a little less predictable and, indeed, when recently asked whether or not he missed Scottish football he responded “no”. The then Scottish manager Gordon Strachan described Armstrong's senior debut for the sweaties as “the best international debut” he had ever seen. There again Strachan was always given to hyperbole, you almost expect him to go into raptures following a successfully negotiated bowl of Rice Krispies.

The “is it a loan or not?” deal involved striker Danny Ings. Injuries curtailed his appearances at Anfield to something like 14 over three years and in that period the likes of Salah has seen him pushed to the periphery of things up there. Southampton, possibly armed with a dossier of the scousers' illegal transfer dealings that even our FA might find hard to ignore negotiated a one year loan deal that will turn into a permanent deal next July for a fee of £18m plus add-ons. Although made his initial impact up in the frozen north with Burnley he he is in fact a local boy coming from Winchester and started out down the road at Bournemouth. He's got 7 goals from 13 appearances so will need an eye kept on him.

And so to us. Well one or two were out of sorts on Saturday. That did not include Lee Mason whose disgusting performance was as good as it gets for this most stupid of officials. The incident with the moving back of the wall basically summed up how poor PGMOL referees are. Every time I have a moan people leap in to defend them – well if you can defend that performance you are part of PGMOL . Absolutely no action will be taken against Mason who I am sure will just say its coincidence that he deliberately flouts the laws of the game every single time he takes charge of one of our matches. In having PGMOL – a smug and corrupt cabal of corrupt referees whose sole interest is protecting their £100k a year – you effectively have the lunatics running the asylum. When you get someone who can't judge ten yards and so decides to measure out eight and you know no action will be taken you have the perfect storm that ensures that refereeing standards will continue to decline.

The FA needs to take over running of referees in this country now – as required by the FIFA statute that everyone is ignoring in the hope that nobody will notice. At that point proper assessment of referees should take place and those with the lowest marks relegated to lower leagues at the end of the season. No appeal. If the likes of Mason thought their salaries depended on doing the job properly maybe they might just start to do the job properly. Any ref who has a nightmare game like Mason in which a (properly independent) assessor gives them a low mark should automatically be suspended for a game with increasingly longer suspensions for each subsequent offence.

I keep hearing the crap that “oh but players make mistakes too” - which ignores the fact that they have to live with the consequences of their mistakes. They get dropped or their team gets relegated.

Finally the defence of “fair comment” should be introduced to the concept of managerial interviews. How insulting is it to see a muppet referee having his own agenda on the pitch only for anyone within the game getting a £20,000 fine to get a fine for saying so. While referees continue to think they are above criticism we will continue to sleepwalk into a climate that makes match-fixing so much easier. There again maybe that's PGMOL actually wants. After all they clearly want Liverpool to win the league this year.

Oh and a message to Troy Deeney -all very well giving it large from that sort of distance. If you really want to engage with supporters how about popping into a Stratford pub and see how brave you get. You'll find that the locals are a wee bit more difficult to deal with than those weedy students you like giving a kicking to so much.

We are up to double figures in the injury stakes. Balbuena was unlucky to get his studs caught which was the cause of the penalty. Had he not got stuck the challenge would have been clear (though Mason would have given a penalty anyway). He's most unlikely to feature which would mean a start for Ogbonna.

Perez is nearer a return but I reckon that Arnie is more likely to be around for Brighton next week than this one – 50-50 is the official rating. It's the same for Hernandez who has a tight hamstring. Perez's crucifiction is healing and he is a 75% chance of fitness according to the same sources. Otherwise the usual suspects are out until the new year.

Prediction? Well they are rocking a bit at the moment with the dead cat bounce of a new manager having pretty immediate effect. On the flip side of that we ought to be angry about our last result and the manner in which it was delivered. If we aren't angry we bloody well ought to be and I hope to see that reaction in the match.

Whilst a win is within the scope of a fully fit first XI I think the injury list will begin to kick in.So I will therefore be spending the £2.50 I was going to spend on a tape measure for Lee Mason (he's so stupid he wouldn't be able to follow the instructions anyway) on a draw.
So switch on the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When The Fun Stops you're watching Liverpool get away with diving again) and stick me down for a 2-2 draw if it's ok with PGMOL.

Enjoy the game!


When Last We Met At St Mary's: Lost 3-2 (Premier League August 2017)

The ref ignored elbows to the head and shoulder high two-footed karate kicks from the home side which frustrated Arnie to the point of retaliation. Whereupon Mason (do you see a theme here?) couldn't get his red card out quickly enough. We managed to get things back to 2-2 whereupon Mason gave a penalty so embarrassing that even the home side didn't appeal for it to hand the match to them. PGMOL slapped Mason on the back and allowed him to continue refereeing.

Referee Craig Pawson

Last seen blowing up early in both halves of the Macclesfield game thus continuing the proud tradition of English referees manipulating the laws of the game to affect the result.

Danger Man: Danny Ings

In a decent run of form of late and we are bare bones at the back.

Percy's Poser

Last week we asked you to fill in the missing words from the Watford Observer:

Britain’s XXXXXX XXXXXXX hits the high street at the XXX XX XXX

Well done to Mrs Pauline Halitosis of Fobbing for correctly identifying the missing words as “Oldest Shopper' and “age of 104”. Well done Pauline!

For this week's poser we ask you to fill in the gaps from this headline from the Southampton Daily Echo:

Southampton's Christmas market is full of XXXXX, XXXXXXXX and XXXXX XX XXXXXX.

Good luck all!


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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