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West Ham United v Fulham

Filed: Friday, 31st August 2012
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy hates transfer windows. The constant stream of comings and goings means we keep returning his copy for updating. Last season his nurse told us off for giving him palpitations by telling him that Martin Peters had gone. We still haven’t dared to risk telling him that it was Spurs that Peters went to. Here’s the mad one’s look at Saturday’s visit of Fulham to the Boleyn. Historical background to the fixture supplied by the ever-reliable John Northcutt...

Next cab off the rank is a home fixture with Fulham. Kick-off is at the silly hour of 12.45pm with the game being beamed through the ether on satellite television, or “the wireless with pictures” as we call it around here. There doesn’t appear to be any engineering works on the tubes or the trains but it may get a bit busy from the Paralympics just up the road – might be worth checking the various signs before risking a change into the wrong lane.

Fulham currently sit in sixth place in what passes for a league table at the moment. I preferred it when they didn’t bother to publish it until three games had passed – the papers taking over just as you got fed up with updating those ladder things that football magazines used to stick on their front covers.

They had a decent start to the season, dispatching Norwich 5-0 with some ease. The fixture computer did them few favours by sending them up to Old Trafford where they took an early lead against the Salford Whingers. The middle part of the match belonged to the home side, who took a 3-2 lead but Fulham came back into the match as the result of a bizarre own goal and, arguably, finished the stronger of the two sides.

The one real fly in the ointment this season has been the midweek exit from the League Cup at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday. It was a reasonably strong squad that made the journey up the M1 so they’ll be disappointed by that one, especially with the stattos informing me that they managed only the one shot on target all night.

Last season they finished up in 8th place, drawing 13 of their last 15 matches in the process. This was enough to qualify them for the Europa League thingy thanks to them being jolly good sports, something that enabled them to finish high enough in the fair play league to ensure qualification. They were eliminated in the group stages of that rather bloated tournament ..

The boss is Martin Jol, whose sacking by Spurs proved that nobody connected with that club would recognise a half decent coach if they employed one. Jol took over from Mark Hughes in June 2011 after the Welshman’s sudden and never-quite-satisfactorily-explained resignation after less than a year in the job. Mohammed Fayed – the club’s owner – angrily remarked that Hughes was “a strange man” as if constantly inventing crackpot conspiracy theories and erecting statues to loopy pop stars were the most normal things in the world to go about doing. Sorry Fulham but our statue is much better. And a lot less embarrassing.

It’s been a strange transfer window for the Cottagers this time round. Liverpool’s blatantly (and sadly typical) illegal overtures to Clint Dempsey seem to have resulted in some sort of stand-off between player and club. Some sources suggest that Dempsey has refused to play for Fulham as yet another Premier League tribunal seems set to sweep the Scousers’ continued by-passing of the rules under the carpet once more. It would be interesting to see what division Liverpool would be in had every illegal transfer they’d been involved in been properly investigated. Meanwhile Dempsey seems to have taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy until he’s allowed to leave, or something.

The recent transfer of Modric to a club more befitting of his talents has left Spurs with a few Euros burning a hole in the club’s pockets and some of that appears to be heading in the direction of Craven Cottage with midfielder Moussa Dembele heading off in the other direction. It has been reported that Fulham have, in turn, made a polite enquiry about the availability of Mark Noble, an enquiry that hopefully met with a polite but negative response.

Two players arrived during the summer. Hugo Rodallega formed part of the exodus from Wigan. Like Mo Diame, Rodallega left at the expiry of his contract and, also like Diame, no fee was paid. If you listen carefully you can hear Dave “Child Slave Labour A Speciality” Whelan sobbing into his beer over the loss of money. A Colombian international, Rodallega has a spell in goal for his country under his belt, replacing the red-carded first-choice ‘keeper after all three subs had been used in a 2007 Copa America match.

That’s another thing that I miss from football. The introduction of subs benches containing more people than watch Millwall (just) means that the sight of an outfield player pulling on an ill-fitting shirt and flapping at crosses is becoming an increasingly rare thing. Even more so since the “Championship” returned to having seven on the bench – we wouldn’t have seen Lansbury up at Blackpool last year had we been allowed seven players on the bench.

The other new boy in town is Mladen Petric, who was born in the Bosnian-Herzegovnian bit of what we used to call Yugoslavia. A Croatian international striker, he scored the winner for his country in the in the infamous “Wally With The Brolly” match at Wembley. Like Rodallega he has a spell between the sticks to boast of, taking over from the regular custodian after he’d conceded a penalty and received marching orders for his trouble.

Of the two I reckon Petric has the bragging rights as his first touch of the ball was to save the penalty. Petric bagged a brace in the win over Norwich. Although he missed the trip to Hillsborough through injury, it’s likely that his absence was of a precautionary measure given his non-presence of his name on any of the usual injury lists.

Dempsey’s replacement, assuming he goes, is likely to be Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov’s transfer from Spurs to Salford broke so many rules it is hard to know where to start. Ever since then Berbatov has joined loads of other foreign tourists in watching matches at Old Trafford and the recent arrival of Robin Van Persie means that they have more than enough cover in the diving department, hence Berbatov’s return to London. As I write he is having a medical so should be available for selection this weekend if the paperwork is completed on time.

Us? Well there’s not much to be taken from what was a reserve XI’s win in midweek. Fine as his goal was (nice neat passing move) Maynard appears to be surplus to requirements (ie we need the cash for someone else). Maiga’s goal has got him off the mark – never a bad thing (eh Torres?!) but otherwise it was just a case of everyone feeling old at the sight of a team containing Potts and Moncur once more.

As for new faces, all week the Sullivan family twitter account has been full of how we’re going to sign a “top class” striker – and I’m not sure whether to be relieved at the denial that it’s Heskey or to be worried that the question was taken seriously in the first place.

To nobody’s surprise the top class striker turned out to be Andy Carroll who, having finally taken the hint that even a side as poor as the Scousers wouldn’t pick him, at last twigged that he might get more goals playing in a better side. Certainly his England prospects will be better playing for us than watching a relegation battle from the sides at Anfield. Quite where all this leaves poor old Carlton Cole one can only speculate. Perhaps the moron who gave him such abuse on twitter will be finally happy and can then crawl back under whatever stone he’s been hiding under.

Given the manager’s comments regarding Jarvis last week (he’s fit and not foreign so he’s playing) I’d expect Carroll to go straight in for this one – and I’d expect the rest of the team to be not dissimilar to that which started against Swansea – with perhaps one of the 400 holding midfielders we have making way for RVT?

I’d say that the teams were pretty closely matched but the transfer activity of recent days seems to have weakened them – the departures of Dempsey (presumably) and Dembele certainly won’t have been welcomed by Jol. Meanwhile, our departures have consisted of players who (Green apart) probably wouldn’t have been first up for selection anyway. The arrival of Carroll may prove conclusive.

Also, if we do have a slight edge it may be in the fact that Fulham haven’t been the best of travellers in recent seasons – ok you can be forgiven for not getting a result at Old Trafford but that was a relatively strong side they took to Hillsborough. So my thoughts on this one have changed over the past few days and the Rest Home’s Hardship Fund for Residents who have fallen on hard times (£2.50) will now be placed on a 3-1 home victory.

Enjoy the game!

When Last we Met (at the Boleyn): October 2010; drew 1-1, Freddie Piquionne (currently residing in the “where are they now” file) equalised Dempsey’s first half opener. Subsequent to that we were treated to a rare away win (our first since the opening day – of the previous season!) on Boxing Day where goals from Cole (2) and Piquionne cancelled out Aaron Hughes’ opener (his first goal in 5 years) to give us a 3-1 victory.

Referee: Anthony Taylor. His only previous visit to the Boleyn was the last day of the season 3-0 defeat by Sunderland. We were already down and just wanted to get the whole thing over with. It may seem petty but I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive him for the four minutes of stoppage time he added in that match!

Danger Man: Dimitar Berbatov. I’m assuming that he’ll play of course but he’ll be all out for a debut goal – and he has previous of scoring against us. Otherwise the new chappie Petric may be worth keeping an eye on.

Daft Fact Of The Week: Dodgy Fulham Fayed has a habit of giving away gifts of Viagra to guests and was rumoured to have included a supply of Pele’s favourite little helper in some Harrods hampers he gave away to players following a win. He’s a wag isn’t he.

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 85; West Ham Utd 37, Fulham 28, Draws 20.

Biggest Win
3rd February 1968: West Ham Utd 7-2 Fulham (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

Heaviest Defeat
7th November 1936: Fulham 5-0 West Ham Utd (Craven Cottage, Division Two)

First Meeting
22nd November 1919: Fulham 1-2 West Ham Utd (Craven Cottage, Division Two)

Last Five Meetings
26th December 2010: Fulham 1-3 West Ham Utd (Craven Cottage, Premier League)
2nd October 2010: West Ham Utd 1-1 Fulham (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
2nd May 2010: Fulham 3-2 West Ham Utd (Craven Cottage, Premier League)
4th October 2009: West Ham Utd 2-2 Fulham (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)
18th January 2009: West Ham Utd 3-1 Fulham (Boleyn Ground, Premier League)

Memorable Match
3rd May 1975: West Ham Utd 2-0 Fulham (Wembley, FA Cup Final)

From rags to riches... At the beginning of the 1974/75 season Alan 'Sparrow' Taylor was playing in the fourth division for lowly Rochdale. By the end of it, he was scoring the goals that brought the FA Cup back to east London for the first time in 11 years.

Having scored twice in each of the previous two rounds - at Arsenal in the quarter-final and one in each of the two semi-finals against Ipswich - Taylor was the man to watch. And he didn't disappoint, grabbing two goals within three second-half minutes to win the Cup for West Ham. Until Taylor's brace, second division Fulham - featuring West Ham legend Bobby Moore - had been the better side, but they were unable to repeat their League Cup success against the Hammers earlier in the year - and Billy Bonds went on to lift the Cup.

February 1961: Fulham 2-1 West Ham Utd (Musgrove)
November 1976 (Frank Lampard Testimonial): West Ham Utd 3-1 Fulham (Lampard, K.Robson, Brooking)
November 1976 (Len Barrett Testimonial): Fulham 2-5 West Ham Utd (Pike 2, Brooking, Otulakowski, B.Robson)

Seeing Red
The following Hammers have been sent off against Fulham... Ken Tucker (a): 1955-56; Tomas Repka (h): 2002-03; Paul Konchesky (a) 2006-07.

They Played For Both
Louis Boa Morte; Rufus Brevett; Jimmy Bullard; George Carter; Brian Dear; Tony Gale; Jon Harley; Fred Harrison; Jack Hebden; George Horler; Alan Stephenson; Bobby Moore; John Paintsil; Bobby Zamora; Kevin Lock; Paul Konchesky; Ray Houghton; Tony Parks; Dick Richards; Leroy Rosenior; Johnny Byrne; Roger Cross; Iain Dowie; Archie Macaulay; Andy Melville; Ian Pearce; Danny Shea.

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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