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Crystal Palace v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 30th September 2011
By: Preview Percy

It's been a miserable few days for Preview Percy just as it has been for the rest of us. Only he just likes to grumble about it a bit more. Here's his usual warped view of this weekend's trip to Selhurst Park. Those of you who live in Croydon might like to skip to John Northcutt's infinitely more useful section at the end.....

Next up we make our second trip south of the river to the London Borough of Croydon for a 3pm Saturday visit to Crystal Palace.

Now I have to make a confession at this point. Many of us have irrational dislikes and, as one grows older, I believe that one is entitled to add to those dislikes on the grounds that grumpiness is a privilege of age. I must therefore declare that have a particular hatred of the London Borough of Croydon and absolutely everything to do with the place.

This is partly because the first Mrs Preview Percy came from said borough, whose Register Office was the venue for the ill-fated venture. I even lived and worked in the area for a year or two so I reckon I’ve earned the right to moan about the place. So I’m sorry any Palace fans reading this but it’s nothing personal. Yours just happens to be the nearest professional club to a place I associate with some of the worst experiences of my life.

However, much as I enjoyed watching the tv coverage of the riots a few weeks ago I’d like to categorically deny any connection with the conflagrations that sprung up. Indeed, as a public spirited citizen my first thought was to get straight over there to help – something that I would have done if only I'd had a spare can of petrol in the shed.

Having said that there is much to dislike about the club itself – not least their fans’ confusion of the words “tradition” and “habit”. There is something rather annoying about a club that can’t decide what its club colours are or what its nickname is – when I was a youngster they played in claret and blue stripes and were known universally as “The Glaziers” until the 1970’s when Malcolm Allison decided that it would be trendier if they were called “The Eagles”.

Even their big rivalry, with Brighton, is a relatively recent invention, again dating back to the '70s. I realise that this may seem a long while ago for you young whippersnappers but in football terms it’s only last week really.

If you’re looking for another reason, co-chairman Martin Long was founder of Churchill Insurance whose adverts featuring that bloody dog are only out-done in the irritation stakes by the fat bloke who sings “Go Compare”. And of course former chairman Ron Noades’ less than enlightened comments on the work ethic of players of non-European ethnicity pre-dated similar comments made by Ron Atkinson by many years, though Noades maintains that his comments were taken out of context.

Rant over. The Glaziers are currently in 9th spot. This is something of a turnaround from last season which only saw them escape relegation with a single game to spare. It never hurts to remind you that Sheffield United went down instead. They’ve won four drawn one and lost four this term, the wins coming at home to Burnley and Coventry at home and away to Hull and away at ‘Ull and Brighton. The defeats have come at home to Boro’ and on the road at Peterborough, Leeds and, surprisingly maybe, at Doncaster. The sole draw was a 1-1 stalemate at home to Blackpool.

The current manager is Dougie Freedman, who found fame as a player with a number of clubs before going on to record the “so sweet it’s a danger to diabetics” hit single “Lucky Stars”. I expect.

Freedman took over last season when George Burley was shown the door as relegation loomed, having served as Burley’s assistant. The initial appointment was as caretaker manager but the the “caretaker” bit of his job title was ditched after a mere 11 days. Freedman repaid the faith shown in him by guiding the club to safety. Did I mention that Sheffield United went down?

First choice in goal is the Argentinian Julian Speroni. A popular figure with the Palace faithful, he became the first player to win their player of the year award three years running, though I have some dim memories of his Palace career starting in less than spectacular style, some high-profile errors leading to his replacement by Gabor Kiraly, the Hungarian ‘keeper who used to play in his pyjama bottoms. During the close season some were touting Speroni as a potential replacement for Rob Green in the event that Greeno were to move elsewhere.

The skipper is Dublin-born Paddy McCarthy. Sadly, with a name like that he’s just far too Irish to have gained full international recognition for the Republic of Ireland side, though he does have some U21 and B caps. Alongside him in the back four they’ve had Leicester’s Aleksandr Tunchev in on loan. Not quite sure when that one expires.

Amongst their midfield is ex-Charlton man Darren Ambrose. Ambrose had the good fortune to have his contract with the Addicks expire just as they were relegated to the third division. He was linked with a move to join former boss Neil “Colin” Warnock and a few other Palace players a couple of years ago when Palace went into administration but the lure of not joining Colin (who once led Sheffield United to relegation from the Premier League) proved too great to resist and he signed a 3 year deal before the start of last season.

One to watch up front is Sean Scannell. The 21 year-old has played for the Republic of Ireland at all levels from U17-U21 with an additional ‘B’ cap thrown in for good measure. He’s a bit nippy and can play either out wide or centrally so he may be a handful.

A newcomer to the forward line is Glenn Murray who, apart from probably being a brand of whiskey distilled in somewhere totally un-Scottish like Kettering and flogged by Lidl for a fiver a bottle, also previously played for Brighton. Murray got Palace’s third in the midweek match at the Amex thus keeping the not-so-ancient rivalry ticking over for a little while longer yet.

Murray has an interesting season with North Carolina outfit Wilmington Hammerheads listed on his CV and was second only to Craig Mackail-Smith in last season’s third division top scorer’s list, so Brighton were probably a little cheesed off with his decision to reject a new contract – especially given his choice of new club.

Ok it’s time to talk about us. Tuesday night was just awful and it is probably a good thing that the Avram Grant Home For The Bewildered doesn’t allow us pets here anymore as there would have been a few kicked cats about the place. (They used to let us have them but the numbers started to decline at such an alarming rate that the vegetarian option became the only sensible choice at mealtimes).

On Tuesday too many players seemed to have too little idea of what exactly it was they were supposed to be doing. To think I missed a whist drive for that match.

Just to add to the grumpy mood hereabouts it now transpires that Rob Green, one of the few to come out of Tuesday’s debacle with any credit, is now out for six weeks or so. So we’ve gone to Arsenal to pinch Almunia on an emergency loan.

Almunia, who was also track one, side two on the classic Paul McCartney & Wings 1974 album “Band On The Run,” is currently out of favour at the Library. His form in the seven or so years with Arsenal has veered from dodgy at one end of the scale to displays that have had journos looking into UK citizenship law with a view to filling a few column inches on slow days by suggesting that he might want to play for England.

Talking of filling column inches, I see there has been talk of Tevez coming back on a cheeky loan. Unlikely to happen I’d have thought, much as it’d be nice to see him tearing Championship defences apart. Still it filled a back page or two – at least one of which repeated the lie that his goal had kept us up that year.

There are injury doubts over O’Brien, Taylor and Reid, though Piquionne will be available for selection after the ban for his ludicrous sending off against Portsmouth a few weeks ago.

We have an international break coming up and it’s important to go into the hiatus on the back of a win. I’d have hoped that the boss will have laid down a few home truths after Tuesday but, whilst our away form is much better than that at home, the Ipswich match was so dreadful it’s hard to summon up any enthusiasm for a positive prediction. Having said that, the Brighton match did punctuate a small losing streak for the Glaziers so, on reflection, I’ll go for a draw in this one - let’s call it 2-2 shall we?

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met: Lost 1-0 in the 2004 play-off final. Graham Poll later admitted he had deliberately failed to apply the laws of the game when Michael Carrick was hacked down in the box. The old pals’ act at PGMO ensured that this piece of corruption went unpunished.

Referee: Kevin Wright – first Hammers match for this official who booked six in his last match (Oxford v Accrington Stanley)

Danger Man: Sean Scannell – his pace may cause issues – especially if injuries deprive us of a decent back four.

Daft Fact Of The Week: Dougie Freedman is the son-in-law of former England ‘keeper Ray Clemence. Clemence owes many of his England caps to the fact that dear old Ron Greenwood, may he rest in peace, couldn’t decide whether Clemence or Peter Shilton was the better ‘keeper, swapping between the two in alternate matches. If you’re up there Ron – the answer was Shilton.

Stat man John: Northcutt's corner

Red Cards

Dave Unsworth, 5th May 1998 at Selhurst Park
David Connolly, 12th April 2004 at Selhurst Park

Away Friendlies

August 1964: West Ham Utd 1-4 Crystal Palace (Sissons)
August 1965: West Ham Utd 2-1 Crystal Palace (Hurst 2)
July 1968: West Ham Utd 4-2 Crystal Palace
August 1985: West Ham Utd 1-2 Crystal Palace (Campbell)
July 2005: West Ham Utd 1-0 Crystal Palace (Etherington)

Home Testimonials

August 1989: Alan Devonshire Testimonial - West Ham Utd 3-1 Crystal Palace (Ward, McAvennie, Devonshire)

May 1991 Paul Hilton Testimonial - West Ham Utd 3-2 Crystal Palace (McAvennie, Kula, Hilton)

They Played For Both

Clive Allen, George Andrew, Dave Bickles, Johnny Byrne, Ron Brett, Paul Brush, John Cartwright, Trevor Dawkins, Iain Dowie, Harry Gunning, Michael Hughes, Derek Jackman, Jobi McAnuff, Fred Norris, Anton Otulakowski, Darren Powell, Eddie Presland, Malcolm Pyke, Bill Roberts, Neil Ruddock, Freddie Sears, Dave Sexton, Peter Simpson, Andy Smillie, Alan Stephenson, Perry Suckling, Dave Swindlehurst and Jimmy Wood.


* Our club skipper Malcolm Allison was the Palace manager for two spells 1972 to 1976 and 1980-81.

* Iain Dowie managed Palce for the period 2003 to 2006.

* Jack Tresadern, who played for the Hammers in the 1923 FA Cup Final, was also the Palace manger from 1930 until 1935.

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.

Your Comments

by Jack Quigley
12:24PM 1st Oct 2011
''Mullins and Fletcher also played for Palace, from memory.''

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