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West Ham United v Hull City

Filed: Friday, 27th April 2012
By: Preview Percy

And so the regular season comes to a close. Let’s pray for automatic promotion or we’ll have to put up with at least another two – hopefully three – more previews from the quill of Preview Percy. Surely, nobody wants that. John Northcutt and his stats are always more welcome hereabouts though…..

And so the 46-game season comes to a close with our final match coming against Hull City. Kick-off is 12.30pm so those of you planning a pre-match gargle will probably find the taste of your favoured tipple altered by the recent proximity of toothpaste to your tastebuds. (This will obviously be something of an improvement for those of you who drink lager).

Like our last opponents, Hull were, until fairly recently, in with a shout of a playoff spot. They’re currently in 8th spot on 68 points which is a tantalising four points shy of Cardiff in 6th. They’ve won three of their last six 2-1 (2-1 at home to both Forest & Boro’ and 3-1 at home to Barnsley), lost two (2-0 away at Millwall and at home to Coventry) and drawn just the once (1-1 at Watford).

When we last met the Tigers up at the Sunshine Band Arena (I think that’s what it’s called) their then manager Nigel Pearson was in the process of winding up his tenure on Humberside, with former club Leicester giving his office an airing in advance of his return. In need of a boss they turned to Nick Barmby who, at that point, was still on the playing staff, though Pearson did have the player doubling up on his workload as a coach.

Barmby took over from Pearson in a caretaker capacity in mid-November (something that I always imagine involves the wearing of one of those long brown coats). Results were favourable and Barmby hung up his boots on 6 January, with the long brown coat joining the boots in the bin four days later on the announcement that his managerial role had been made “permanent”.

The club’s board’s delight at Barmby’s appointment didn’t extend to providing him with much in the way of cash to spend at the January sales and it was to the loan market to which Barmby turned to freshen up the squad.

In goal came Arsenal back-up stopper Vito Mannone, who sounds as if he ought to be one of the minor characters in “The Godfather”. It’s Mannone’s second spell on loan with the club with him having spent a spell at the Sunshine Arena last season. Mannone has So-Called Champions League experience this season, having been in the Arsenal XI that went down 3-1 to Olympiakos.

At the same time Hull brought in another keeper on loan, Sunderland’s Trevor Carson. He hung around for a month before returning to parent club Sunderland and is mentioned only because his name sounds like one of those oh so hilarious local radio DJ’s who “lidderally” talk in that mid-Atlantic accent that is peculiar to those who make their living from talking twaddle on the wireless.

The third loan arrival in the window was Man Utd striker Joshua King who, despite the “Louisiana Bluesman” type name actually hails from Oslo, a venue not exactly noted for being the source of 12 bar-based music with lyrics that always start with the compulsory phrase “Well I woke up this morning”. King was discovered by former Man Utd paper-boy cum striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or at least by the coaching school that bears his name.

He started the season on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach. Monchengladbach was once memorably described in an episode of “Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads” as being “The West Hartlepool of West Germany”. Whether this had any bearing on matters is not known but the player returned to Blighty only a few months into a season-long loan and ended up joining the Tigers until the end of term.

The well-regarded skipper Jack Hobbs will be hors de combat for this one having picked up an injury during the 2-0 home defeat that holed their playoff bid beneath the waterline. Ruptured knee ligaments that have an expected recovery time of between 6-8 months will also put a mocker on his cricket season though he’s never been the same since he stopped partnering Herbert Sutcliffe.

Hobbs’ injury has left them a bit short on experience at the back where the likes of 20 year old Liam Cooper have been pressed into service. Cooper is another who didn’t quite see out a season-long loan, this one with Huddersfield (which is probably referred to as “The Monchengladbach of England” in a German sitcom. If such a thing actually exists). A lack of opportunity with the Terriers saw Cooper ask to be released by Huddersfield in December in order to try his luck under the new management.

The skipper’s armband was taken from Hobbs by Andy Dawson who, as brother of Michael, must be having as big a chuckle over the way the wheels have come off Spurs’ campaign as we are.

Top scorer is Matthew “Matty” Fryatt. Fryatt has appeared in every league match this season, starting in 38 of the 45 matches which have brought him 16 goals. He's in a little run of form at the moment having bagged a hat-trick a couple of weeks ago against Barnsley and added a spot-kick to his total in last weekend's 2-1 defeat of Forest. Early promise hinted at by international recognition at England U19 level failed to materialise, his progress in his early 20's being hampered by injury.

The ex-Hammer connection in the squad comes in the form of Aussie Richard Garcia. Garcia – best mates with Michael Carrick apparently, was offered a one year extension to his contract but this offer was withdrawn when it became apparent that he would miss much of this season with knee ligament problems, an issue which has blighted his recent career. He returned to action last November and was in the side that faced Forest last weekend.

Slovenian skipper Robert Koren is second in the goalscoring charts and picked up the player of the year award for this season. He's picked up ten goals this season, all of which have come in the league. There is a slight doubt over his involvement this weekend with him coming off after half an hour of the Forest match with a damaged hip.

Our turn now. It's rather out of our hands really, though if a side as poor as Chelsea can beat Barcelona I suppose anything is possible at Southampton, though expect a Lambert dive to get them out of trouble again in the unlikely event that they're struggling. It's what they've done all season after all.
Monday's win was well-deserved, though the failure to convert one or two of the further chances that came our way will be nagging at the back of my head until the final whistle goes on Saturday.

Having persuaded Matron that Leicester was a suitable place for a day trip (what with Thomas Cook having started out there) I was slightly put out by some of the comments put about by the less-informed youngsters amongst the travelling support concerning Carlton Cole. Carlton can be accused of many things but on Monday night laziness was definitely not amongst the accusations that could sensibly be levelled at the player who definitely “put in a shift” as I believe pundits refer to it.

Team news is that the squad from Monday may be boosted by the return to availability of George McCartney, though Messrs Maynard, O'Brien and Carew are all bigger doubts. We'll need a decent win here irrespective of what goes on elsewhere. The word “momentum” has been bandied about lately. Though that sounds like the name of the sort of lager that would have its taste improved by the addition of toothpaste (i.e. lager), a decent win in this match would go some way to easing the psychological downside of not getting automatic promotion – not to mention the defiant message that such a result would send out to those currently scrabbling about beneath us.

My prediction for this one (on which I will be putting all £2.50 that remains of the Rest Home's beer kitty from Monday night) will be a 3-0 win. As George Michael said “you gotta have faith” (though something tells me that he probably wasn't referring to the rather pneumatic nurse of that name that used to work in these parts). Sky Blues, it's over to you.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met: Won 2-0. Not quite as comfortable as the score suggests - in the first half Rob Green was responsible for several decent saves to keep the scores level. Baldock's volley early in the second half and Collison's composed finish from a decent flowing move were enough to bring home the points.

Referee: Nigel Miller. Only the second time we've had him - the other match, unusually, being the reverse fixture at the Sunshine Stadium.

Danger man: Matty Fryatt. Four goals in his last two tells its own story.

Daft fact of the week: Hull is not a place overly-represented in the world of song (unless you start counting amusing plays on the word “Hell”). However, we do have, of course, the legendary Barry Wom's track and album “When You Find The Girl Of Your Dreams In The Arms Of Some Scotsmen From Hull”. The song is a haunting ballad inspired by the events that took place at Wom's wedding at which, amongst some confusion, he ended up married to the wrong person. The album was the first solo album by a Rutle to get to number 1.

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 36; West Ham Utd 16, Hull City 10, Draws 10.

Biggest Win
6th October 1990: West Ham Utd 7-1 Hull City (Boleyn Ground, Division Two)

Heaviest Defeat
17th September 1934: Hull City 4-0 West Ham Utd (Anlaby Road, Division Two)

First Meeting
17th April 1920: Hull City 1-1 West Ham Utd (Anlaby Road, Division Two)

Last Five Meetings
5th November 2011: Hull City 0-2 West Ham Utd (KC Stadium, Championship)
20th February 2010: West Ham Utd 3-0 Hull City (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
21st November 2009: Hull City 3-3 West Ham Utd (KC Stadium, Premier League)
28th January 2009: West Ham Utd 2-0 Hull City (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
19th October 2008: Hull City 1-0 West Ham Utd (KC Stadium, Premier League)

Memorable Match
9th September 1970: West Ham Utd 1-0 Hull City (Boleyn Ground, League Cup 2nd Round)

There was a right royal tear-up towards the end of this League Cup tie back in 1970 which ended with West Ham's Billy Bonds receiving the first of two red cards in a wonderful career. Many people remember the dust-up with Birmingham's Colin Todd prior to the FA Cup Final in 1980 - but few recall the rather less salubrious circumstances that led to King Billy's first ever dismissal. With West Ham having taken an 85th minute lead against their Division Two opponents though Peter Eustace, Bonds, just 23 at the time became embroiled in an row with City's Chris Simpkin before spitting at his opponent - a regrettable action that led to referee Norman Burtenshaw producing an instant red card. Arsenal fan Burtenshaw - whose controversial career saw him knocked unconscious by angry Millwall fans and chased off the pitch by Benfica players - needed a Police escort after the game; Chris Simpkin was jailed in 2009 for running a brothel and money laundering.

They Played For Both
Jimmy Bullard; Stuart Pearson; Dennis Burnett; John Dowen; Robbie Stockdale; Steve Bywater; Richard Garcia; Cliff Hubbard; Matt Smailes; Nobby Solano; Alf Fenwick; Tony Weldon; Mark Noble; Alan Taylor; Roy Carroll; Tommy Brandon.

You're off! Red cards received
1970/71: Billy Bonds (h); 1989-90: David Kelly (a).

Previous Friendlies

March 1967 : Hull City 1-1 West Ham Utd (Hurst 3, Sissons).
May 1973: Hull City 5-3 West Ham Utd (MacDougall 3).

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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