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Newcastle United v West Ham United

Filed: Sunday, 11th November 2012
By: Preview Percy

Next we make the looooong trek north to Newcastle Upon Tyne for a match moved to Sunday due to the Magpies’ involvement in the poisoned chalice that is the Europa League. Kick-off is at 3pm and those of you who are staying up there on the Saturday night (or arriving early enough on the Sunday) might care to pay a visit to Eldon Square in the city centre where the people of Newcastle will be gathering from 10.30am to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.

I suspect that the club will also be marking the day with an appropriate ceremony at St James’s Park. If I have one piece of advice to offer it is that, if you are one of those who tends to arrive just before kick-off, have a think before starting a chant just outside the ground or in the communal areas outside the pitch viewing area at about 3pm.

Our hosts currently sit in 10th place, one point and one place behind our good selves with 14 points from the 10 games played thus far. At home they’ve won 3 (Spurs 2-1 (tee hee), Norwich 1-0 and West Brom 2-1), drawn 1 (1-1 with Villa) and lost just the one (3-0 to Man Utd). On the road they’ve lost just the once (2-0 at Chelsea) picking up draws at Everton and Reading (both 2-2) and Sunderland and Liverpool (both 1-1). So, overall, a pretty solid start to the season, not to dissimilar to our own then.

The club is owned by Mike Ashley, a man who made – and continues to make – his fortune by becoming the gentlemen’s outfitter of choice to Millwall and Spurs fans. Since buying the club in 2007 his popularity has gone up and down like the lines on the graph produced by that machine they have me wired up to here at the Avram Grant Home for The Bewildered. It is said that on purchasing the club Ashley failed to complete a due diligence process (accountant-speak for having a proper look at the books) and that, as a result, was a bit shocked to find that he would have to pump in another £100m just to keep the club from ruin.

One of his early moves that gained favour with the Geordies was to replace the unpopular manager – some chap called Allardyce – with Kevin Keegan. This was a move destined to end in tears, partly due to Keegan’s limited tactical nous, but mainly thanks to the ludicrous idea of appointing the thick as two short planks Dennis Wise as “Director of Football”. Players arrived and departed with barely a passing nod in Keegan’s direction and the former England boss eventually quit, citing interference from Wise as the reason. Wise, who seemed to spend more time watching Chelsea than he did on Tyneside eventually left himself a few months later.

Another move that annoyed the locals was the sacking of Chris Hughton a couple of years ago. Hughton – who gained a lot of respect over the dignified way in which he’d carried himself both during and after his tenure at SJP- was replaced in 2010 by Alan Pardew. The kumb.com legal team (a full time organisation whose sole job is to edit this column each week) have been through what I have written about Mr Pardew and, following extensive use of the blue pencil, the following remains: Alan Pardew managed West Ham United between 2003-2006.

On the pitch Pardew has plumped for Dutchman Tim Krul in goal. Krul now has the Magpies’ no.1 shirt with second choice custodian Steve Harper being allotted the coveted no.37 top. Harper hasn’t been the luckiest of chaps, having had to play second fiddle for years to Shay Given for both club and country and he’s picked up injuries at crucial stages in his career, often just at the point when an extended run in the first XI looks likely. Krul, on the other hand, is now regarded as first choice for both Newcastle and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands he’s picked up the nickname “Bakkers Handen” which translates as “Bakers’ Hands”. Those wacky Dutch eh?!

In front of Krul there will be absentees from the usual first choice defence. My good Geordie friend, Preview Alastair, informs me from his cot in the Joe Kinnear Centre For Tourettes Research that James Perch, who has also been employed in midfield on occasion, is likely to miss out with the knock he picked up against the mickeys last weekend. Nicknamed “Perchinhio” by some – possibly more in irony than admiration – he holds the record for being the first player to reach five cautions (and therefore an automatic suspension) over the first five games of a Premier League season.

Another who will be missing is skipper Fabricio Coloccini, who will be entering the first of a three match suspension having kicked out at Luis Suarez. There must surely be some scope for a change in the laws of the game to allow players to kick lumps out of the likes of Suarez, Kebe, Terry etc without fear of reprisal from over-zealous referees (or in this case linesmen). In fact there ought to be some sort of prize fund for doing so. They have a song about Coloccini up there. It suggests that his reputation on Tyneside is such that most male Geordies would allow him to engage in sexual relations with their spouses and that, in his honour, they would also like to have curly hair. A most amusing chant. If only we’d thought of it all those years ago when Christian Dailly was on our books eh?!

Steven Taylor is likely to appear in central defence where he will come up against Andy Carroll. This might be an interesting part of the ground to keep an eye on both on and off the ball as there is what you might call a spot of “history”. This dates back to when the two were team, well mates probably isn’t quite the correct word to use. It seems that there was some sort of “altercation” between the pair – Preview Alastair mentioned an exchange of text messages regarding a mutually-admired member of the opposite sex which led to fisticuffs. Taylor ended up with a broken jaw whilst Carroll’s hands also sustained some damage. It’ll be interesting to see if time and distance have mellowed the relationship between the two.

Midfielder Cheik Tiote is also out thanks to suspension following his sending off at Sunderland, although Yohan Cabaye appears to have recovered from a knock picked up at Anfield.

Hatem Ben Arfa seems to have settled down a bit. Whilst in France he had a bit of a reputation for being “difficult” to work with and his history is littered with mention of the word “bust-up”. Many players will get involved in the odd training ground incident at some stage in their careers. Howeve, few can have required separating from a team-mate on the pitch during a pre-match warm-up as happened a few years ago. He also once refused to warm-up from the bench, an incident that predated the phrase “doing a Tevez” by a couple of years. Ben Arfa is happily recovered from the shocking tackle from Nigel De Jong that broke his leg a few seasons ago. The tackle was so awful that the Dutch national team dropped De Jong for disciplinary reasons as a result. Would that our own FA had acted in similar fashion with John Terry.

Up front we’ll be reunited with Dember Ba who spent a few months with us during the relegation season. Unfortunately for us he wasn’t 100% match fit at the start of his spell with us and by the time he hit form it was probably too late. The relegation clause in his contract, without which he wouldn’t have signed in the first place, meant that he was offski at the end of the season, pitching up at Newcastle where he’s been sticking them away in spectacular style. He’s their top scorer this season but, more amusingly, he’s also second top scorer for Sunderland having put away an OG of a Dowie-like nature up there a few weeks ago.

Also available up front is one of the 462 players in the league with the surname “Cisse”. Papiss (make your own jokes up on that one) arrived last term and, like his compatriot Ba, has a penchant for the spectacular goal, his effort against Chelsea last season being a prime example. Mind you, even that was put in the shade by his effort against West Brom in which a Shammy Ameobi effort was diverted into the net by, and there’s no nice way of putting this, his arse. If only we’d thought of that tactic while Neil Ruddock was on the books.

Described by Preview Alastair as a “dick” there can only be one player in contention for Crimewatch corner this week. Serial idiot Nile Ranger is currently on the thinnest of thin ice with the Magpies’ management who must now be questioning the wisdom of giving the player a contract extension that doesn’t expire until 2016.

As a 15 year-old he did time in a Young Offender’s Institution for his part in armed muggings in North London. It will therefore come as little surprise that Ranger is part of the legacy left behind by his fellow criminal Dennis Wise, who brought the player to the club in 2008. The player’s current rap-sheet includes an arrest for an assault in 2011, a conviction for drunk and disorderly behaviour earlier this year, a fine from the FA for publishing homophobic tweets, various assorted assault charges, arrests for breaching bail conditions relating to those various assorted assault charges and, most recently, an arrest on suspicion of causing criminal damage to a house in Enfield.

Newcastle have given the player a final written warning over his persistent lateness for training – though how much attention he pays to this sort of thing can be gauged by the fact that he even turned up late for a meeting between him, the club and a representative from the PFA to discuss his lateness. He’s currently in the middle of a probation period requiring him to turn up on time for six solid weeks before he’ll be allowed to train with the first team squad again. Even if he manages that, the chances of the player keeping his nose clean for long enough to see him through to 2016 appear to be remote in extremis.

Our turn now. I enjoyed the overall performance last week which saw us pick up a well-earned point. There were a few elements that caused concern mind, particularly the frequency with which we ceded possession at times in the second half. However, the main worry has to be the burgeoning injury list that we seem to be developing at the moment. There are doubts about both Tomkins (groin) and Collins (hamstring). It is to be hoped that one of those two will be fit to line up alongside Reid, who would seem to be the only fit central defender at in the squad at the moment. Fitness tests are due on Saturday so by the time you read this you may have more idea than I have as to their availability.

On the brighter side Guy Demel may be back following a hernia problem, though Matt Taylor is still out. Other than that the usual suspects are still unavailable.

SJP has not been the happiest of hunting grounds in recent seasons. There are, however, a few things in our favour this time round. The injuries and suspensions they have are in key areas and they did of course play the other night, though there will obviously be changes from the line-up that drew 2-2 in Belgium. Against that we need to add the Nolan/Carroll factor into the equation. I can’t imagine much affecting Nolan up there – indeed if he gets stick from the crowd he’ll probably thrive on it. However, by all accounts Carroll had an awful day up there with Liverpool last season and he’ll need to concentrate on the task in hand.

With us having our own potential absentees in defence I reckon that this one will end up with honours even. The contents of the collection we took up for the Joe Kinnear Centre For Tourette’s Research (£2.50) will therefore be winging its way towards Mr Winstone with the instruction that it be wagered in full on a 2-2 draw.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met: Lost 0-5, January 2011. An abject performance gifted the opposition five goals as Best (3), Lovenkrands and Nolan enabled the home side to stroll to all three points. Our performance was so poor that Mike Dean didn’t have to bother helping them.

Danger Man: Demba Ba. Likely to be fit not only does he have a habit of scoring rather special goals, he will also have that unwritten rule about players scoring against former clubs on his side. Over to you Mr Carroll and Mr Nolan.

Referee: Mike Dean. Along with his fellow “Mike” Jones, Dean is the least trustworthy of a group of officials who consider themselves to be bigger than the game. Regarded as the best referee in the country. By Mike Dean.

Daft Fact Of the Week: Following his recent heroics, asked whether he’d be attending this match as the guest of the Hammers away fans, space-diver Felix Baumgartner replied: "The away section at Newcastle? No chance. You’re not getting me up there".

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 121; West Ham Utd 37, Newcastle Utd 49, Draws 35.

First Meeting
1st February 1908: Newcastle Utd 2-0 West Ham Utd (St James' Park, FA Cup)

Last Meeting
5th January 2011: Newcastle Utd 5-0 West Ham Utd (St James' Park, Premier League)

Biggest Win(s)
21st April 1986: West Ham Utd 8-1 Newcastle Utd (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

Heaviest Defeat(s)
5th January 2011: Newcastle Utd 5-0 West Ham Utd (St James' Park, Premier League)

Memorable Match
21st April 1986: West Ham Utd 8-1 Newcastle Utd (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

With just six games of the 1985/86 season remaining, John Lyall's West Ham were sitting third in the Canon League Division One. The Geordies were having a fairly decent campaign themselves so there were few signs of the annihilation that was to follow as West Ham equalled their record number of goals scored in the top flight. What was even more notable was the fact that centre half Alvin Martin scored not only a hat-trick, but a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers.

Martin opened the scoring after just three minutes when he converted Alan Devonshire's free kick from close range. Further goals were added ahead of the break by Ray Stewart, Neil Orr and Newcastle's Glenn Roeder, who was left red faced when scoring a peach of an own goal. Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Thomas, who had carried an injury into the game, was replaced at half time by midfielder Chris Hedworth as reserve 'keeper David McKellar was also injured. There was little Hedworth could do to stop Martin's crashing header hitting the back of the net on 64 minutes; minutes later he returned to play on field with Peter Beardsley now having a go between the sticks. The England striker fared little better than either of his predecessors and after Paul Goddard and Frank McAvennie had added goals six (81 mins) and seven (83 mins), Beardsley was left to face Martin from the penalty spot (84 mins). Martin stepped up confidently before sending his international team mate the wrong way to complete yet another unique West Ham United achievement.

Early Bath
1992-93: Julian Dicks (A); 1993-94: Jeroen Boere (A); 1995-96 Steve Potts (A); 2005-06: Paul Konchesky (A, Rescinded)

They Played For Both
Demba Ba; Lee Bowyer; Franz Carr; Les Ferdinand; John Dowsey; Keiron Dyer; Paul Goddard; Marlon Harewood; Shaka Hislop; James Jackson; Vic Keeble; Matt Kingsley; Paul Kitson; Robert Lee; Joe Loughlin; Scott Parker; Stuart Pearce; Abdoulaye Faye; Wayne Quinn; Bryan Robson; George Robson; Keith Robson; Harold Smith; Nobby Solano; David Terrier; David Kelly; Andy Carroll; Kevin Nolan.

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 toonesque
12:34PM 11th Nov 2012
''Newcastle fan here, living in London, as you do, but must say what an excellent article, so informed about both sides. Your right about Baumgartner getting vertigo in the away end too.''

by Steve Jaggers
09:23AM 11th Nov 2012
''Amusing as always, keep up the good work.

by Doug
09:15AM 11th Nov 2012
''A very well written article. Really enjoyed it. All absolutely correct apart from the bit where you said '2-2'.''

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