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West Ham Utd v Birmingham City

Filed: Monday, 9th April 2012
By: Preview Percy

It's Preview Percy's birthday this weekend. In honour of the event, Matron at the Avram Grant Rest Home For The Bewildered took all the residents to the pub. Except Percy of course. They successfully managed to sneak out while he wasn't looking. So while he had the place to himself he wrote the following. Unfortunately. John Northcutt, as ever, supplies the historical stuff...

'Tis Easter so the games come thick and fast as we play host to Birmingham City on Bank Holiday Monday. Kick off is at 5.20pm with the match being available on this new-fangled invention that John Logie Baird has been pushing down on the market. I'm not sure it'll catch on but if it does it'll end up ruining the game as we know it - mark my words. Tubes should be ok but, as it's a bank holiday there will be engineering works all over the shop no doubt. Plus it'll be cold and wet.

The visitors currently lie in fourth place with 69 points from their 41 matches. That's six points behind us and six points clear of Brighton who currently sit just outside the playoff zone.. It's a bit tight down below us there. Current form, including Saturday (yes I'm working over the Easter holiday for you ungrateful wretches) is won four (3-0 at home to Boro', 3-1 away to both Doncaster and Birmingham and 3-1 at home to Palace) drawn one (1-1 at Cardiff) and lost one (a surprising 4-1 reverse at beleaguered Pompey).

There is a bit of, shall we say, history between our current owners and their present ones. When SuGo sold the second city's third ranked club (possibly fourth depending on where you draw the boundaries) to the current ownership it was not the most friendliest of sales and a spat between Birmingham mouthpiece Peter Pannu and David Gold saw the latter banned from St Andrews, something that may would see as something of a positive.

Since then, owner Carson Yeung's shareholding has been diluted to the extent that he is now no longer the "owner" per se, although he remains the largest shareholder. Not that the shares are much of a buy - Yeung's arrest last year on money laundering charges led to their suspension on the stock exchanges. The financial statements are overdue and they are currently under a transfer embargo, which may yet have some influence on whether they are actually allowed back into the top flight should they make it.

They lost some players in the window. Principal amongst these was ex-Hammers trainee Liam Ridgewell who left for West Brom as part of his attempt to play for every club in the West Midlands.They did hit the loan market pretty heavily though before the embargo kicked in. Peter Ramage came in from QPR, Like many clubs, ourselves included, they had also had a peek at the carcass of what used to be Portsmouth once the administrators came in whence they picked up Norwegian striker Erik Huseklepp.

Also on the loan front Andros Townsend came in from Spurs. Townsend was a player who we tried to borrow back in January but he went to Leeds instead. He lasted less than two months at Elland road however, departing within a week of the arrival of Neil Warnock as manager, Townsend's agent stating that the player was "unhappy". Who knew that anyone connected with Spurs actually might have standards.

The 'keeper is another loanee Glyn "Boaz" Myhill, who arrived on a season-long loan from West Brom with erstwhile England hopeful Ben Foster making the reverse move at the same time. Boaz is some sort of Hebrew name that his folks took a shine to but other relatives talked them out of actually putting it on the birth certificate. I often wonder myself what I'd be writing these days had my parents hadn't decided to christen me " Preview".

Top scorer is currently Marlon King, a horrible loathsome excuse for a human being whose criminal antics managed to upset Dave Whelan at Wigan - who seemed to ignore the already lengthy rap sheet when he signed the player. Still when you make your fortune out of child slave labour I suppose your principles are flexible enough already.

King was fortunate to find Birmingham City in forgiving mood when emerging from his sentence for sexual assault occasioning actual bodily harm for punching a student in the face. Even the PFA, whose chairman Gordon Taylor is usually quick to excuse most of the misdemeanours perpetated by his members, washed their hands of him - "we'll help him out with anger management if he likes but he hasn't called us" was about the gist of their contribution to the debate.

On Saturday against Palace King was partnered by Crouch-a-like Nikola Zigic. Zigic is the current captain of the Serbian national side, mainly because every time they try to take the armband away from him he simply holds it over their heads until they get tired of trying to jump for it. Like the slightly shorter Crouch, the 6ft 7in, tall striker is limited of talent but his height always seems to cause us problems.

There is an ex-Hammer in the squad in the form of Jonathan Spector. Spector's "utility player" status condemned him to a bit-part role for much of his career at the Boleyn and, whilst he rarely let anyone down in his five years at the club it's also fair to say that "Oh good Spector's playing" was not a phrase often uttered in E13. He will, however, be remembered for that marvellous night in the snow at the end of November 2010 when his performance was instrumental in our 4-0 demolition of his former club Man Utd against whom he scored twice. He's been absent for a week or so with a hamstring injury and so probably won't be about to receive the applause his name would probably - and rightly - get when his name is read out.

Ok what of us then. Well it was nice to see us play an admittedly poor Barnsley off the park in the 4-0 win the other day. It's amazing what you can do when you make the opposition worry about you rather than the other way round. There were a lot of "if onlys" being muttered about these parts, even more so when watching idiot ref Foy give a free-kick and a yellow card for diving against Sunderland's Larssen in the match against Spurs. Funnily he didn't seem to think Reading's serial cheat Hunt was similarly guilty despite his going down in identical fashion against us to give a match changing penalty in our match last week. I'm glad that he lost out in the semi final of that cycling race yesterday now. (Editor - could you check this please I nicked the cycling stuff off a Spurs website but you know how thick they are).

On the injury front the suggestion is that O'Brien will miss out whilst Faubert and Collison are 50/50. Faye was rested with a slight knock for the Barnsley match, though he should be available for selection if required. Otherwise it's a full squad to select from - including Mark Noble whose thigh made an incredible - if appropriate for the time of year - recovery from the strain that was going to keep him out for two weeks.

Well they're all big ones now (oo-er missus) aren't they. Birmingham will obviously provide a sterner test than Barnsley this time round and have their own play-off axe to grind. Nevertheless I fancy us to get something decent from this one. As Southampton's dropping of points against Pompey proved there could well be a few twists yet in the season. I shall therefore be popping into matron's office while she's out and swiping the jar containing the Rest Home's emergency fund (£2.50) on a nervy 2-1 win.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met: Drew 1-1. A fine early solo goal from Carlton Cole gave us the lead. Murphy got away with handling to save a certain goal before popping up with a late equaliser that he shouldn't have been on the pitch to score.

Referee: Jon Moss. First year on the select group for Boy George's former lover. Reffed our 2-1 defeat up at Derby on New Year's Eve.

Danger Man: Nikola Zigic. One of those players who never seems to bother ayone. Except us.

Daft fact of the week: One of our match reports chronicling a trip to St Andrews once pointed out that the lack of architectural merit of that place meant that the best local landmark was a local "knocking shop". A few weeks later the editors received a communication from the solicitors representing said establishment. The local authority had, apparently, revoked their operating licence on the grounds that the place was operating (shock, horror) as a brothel. The solicitors wanted to know whether our match reporters had actually visited the establishment as they believed that adverse publicity had contributed to the loss of the licence.We don't think our reporters ever got round to answering that one.

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 93; West Ham Utd 32, Birmingham 40, Draws 21.

Biggest Win
11th September 1982: West Ham Utd 5-0 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
17th April 1964: West Ham Utd 5-0 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
6th October 1962: West Ham Utd 5-0 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

Heaviest Defeat
18th November 1961: Birmingham City 4-0 West Ham Utd (St Andrew's, Division One)
16th November 1946: West Ham Utd 0-4 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Division Two)

First Meeting
25th October 1919: Birmingham City 0-1 West Ham Utd (St Andrew's, Division Two)

Last Five Meetings
26th December 2011: Birmingham City 1-1 West Ham Utd (St Andrew's, Championship)
6th February 2011: West Ham Utd 0-1 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
26th January 2011: Birmingham City 3-1 AET West Ham Utd (St Andrew's, Carling Cup)
11th January 2011: West Ham Utd 2-1 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Carling Cup)
6th November 2010: Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham Utd (St Andrew's, Premier League)

Memorable Match
11th September 1982: West Ham Utd 5-0 Birmingham City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

Firmly established back in the top flight having won promotion from the Second Division two seasons before, this was a walk in the park for West Ham who thrashed a distinctly average City side managed by Ron Saunders, newly installed at St Andrew's having walked out on arch-rivals Aston Villa just months before they won the European Cup for the first and only time. Francois Van der Elst opened the scoring on 22 minutes before Paul Goddard doubled the lead on the half-hour mark to give the Hammers a 2-0 half time lead. Ray Stewart's penalty, a fourth from Alvin Martin and Sandy Clark's first goal for the club wrapped up a comfortable win for John Lyall's side, who were to finish ninth in the league. It was a game that saw Frank Lampard celebrate his 500th appearance for the Hammers - to this day, one of only nine players to do so.

You're Off! Red Cards Received
Billy Bonds (h) 1979-80; Lee Bowyer (h, later rescinded) 2007-08; Mark Noble (a) 2009-10; Victor Obinna (h, League Cup) 2010-11.

They Played For Both
Kenny Brown; Les Sealey; Matthew Upson; Michael Carrick; Joe Gallagher; Gary Breen; Alan Curbishley; Michael Hughes; Tony Cottee; Eamon Dolan; Stan Lazaridis; Jim Barrett; Lee Bowyer; Jonathan Spector; Julian Dicks; Dave Mangnall; Mike Newell; George Parris; Sam Small; Jimmy Bloomfield; Harry Hooper; David Bentley; Mark Ward; David Kelly.

Bossing It
Forme player John Bond was the Birminham manager between 1986-97 and former manager Lou Macari was the Blues manager in 1991. Current Blues manager Chris Hughton is also a former Hammer.

Owning it
Our present chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold together with Karen Brady were at Birmingham for many years.

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 Preview Percy
12:27PM 10th Apr 2012
''@"Anon" - actually I was thinking of Villa and Villa reserves!''

by Anon [BCFC]
11:44AM 9th Apr 2012
''Strange how London's 6th ranked club's supporter has to include two teams from different counties into the equation to try and make Brum appear to be third or fourth ranked Birmingham club. I take it he means West Brom (Sandwell), a town in its own right and Wolves (Shropshire), a city in its own right.

You are welcome to the two spivs, you will be so happy when they sell off your ground to developers and pocket the money (to pay off your debt to them) then sell your club to just about anyone they can. Dont expect any investment from them.''

by bluenose 08
11:32AM 9th Apr 2012
''Would have loved to have been at the game today but current finances prevent this. Although a lifelong Bluenose I also enjoyed watching West Ham and my favourite player was Billy Bonds. There was also Frank Lampard Snr, Devonshire, Brooking, Pop Robson, Kevin Keen, Phil Parkes and all the rest and always played football how it should be [take note, Big Sam].

I would also like to add that your current owners Gold, Sullivan and Karren Brady did a fine job at Blues which I appreciated. Shame they spoilt it all by selling us to a Chinese hairdresser who hasnt got a clue about football! Hope it's a good game and we meet again in the play-off Final. K.R.O.''

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