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West Ham United v Newcastle United

Filed: Friday, 17th January 2014
By: Preview Percy

There's something very strange going on. It stopped raining a few minutes ago, West Ham won away and Preview Percy has even said something vaguely complimentary about a referee. It'll never last.....

Next we play host to Newcastle United. It's Saturday, it's 3 O'clock. What more could you want. Even the tubes are running properly. Or so they claim.

The visitors will arrive in a creditable 8th place in the league having gathered 33 points from their 21 games so far. However, their lofty position does hide a recent dip in form over the past few weeks. Since the Boxing Day 5-1 defeat of nine-man Stoke at SJP, they've lost four on the trot, going down 1-0 at home to Arsenal, 1-0 to West Brom at the Hawthorns, 2-1 at home to Cardiff in the cup and then 2-0 at home to Man City last weekend. Ok they rested some players for Cardiff and they were unlucky to come up against the world's most dishonest referee against Man City – Mike Jones at his arrogant worst displaying once more why he should have been banned from the game for life long ago.

The recent slump in results might be bothering owner Mike Ashley – it's a bit difficult to tell though. He's spent the last 24 hours or so buying and selling shares in Debenhams as one does. It was rumoured earlier in the season that retail shares weren't the only thing he was interested in trading. According to my Geordie chum Preview Alastair, he was supposed to have been having talks with the owners of another Premier League club with a view to them moving in. The talks did not go well it seems and everyone is staying put for the time being.

The visiting manager is of course well-known to most of you as our former boss. (careful- Ed) However, we at the Aram Grant Olympic Rest Home for the Bewildered have longer memories. We remember Pardew as the lad who used to clean the windows when he wasn't chasing after Matron. How times have changed, though some things have remained the same – since he left the window cleaning round the windows haven't been cleaned.

At the weekend he was seen chatting with Man City boss discussing whether it would be worth signing former Crewe midfielder Kenny Lunt. At least that's what the chap in room 12 who says he can lip read reckons.

Not much has happened up there so far in the two weeks that the window has been open. The sole bit of movement has been the departure on loan of Argentinian midfielder Jonas Gutierrez. Although he has something like a couple of hundred appearances under his belt for the Magpies hes barely featured this season so far and he has now shifted on to Norwich where he will be on loan to the end of June. At Carrow Road he'll be linking up with his old boss Chris Hughton, who got custody of the dignity in his divorce from Newcastle in 2009. Gutierrez was famous for pulling out a spiderman mask as part of his goal celebrations – leaving us hankering for the days of a good manly handshake.

Top scorer is Loic Remy who is on loan from QPR. We were linked with the player during the last window but it would appear than the ongoing investigations into his alleged involvement in a gang rape put us off. Although his loan is due to expire at the end of the season, Redknapp has been hawking him about, expressing surprise that neither Newcastle nor anyone else has actually tried to buy the player this window.

Remy's arrival added another to the legion of players from the land of the cheese eating surrender monkey who have arrived in the North East in recent years. According to the spotty work experience kid the squad contains no fewer than ten players from the wrong side of the channel. Those being: Cabaye, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Marveaux, Obertan, Debuchy and the aforementioned Remy. This Gallic-friendly policy represents something of a volte-face (see what I did there?) for Pardew who, during his time with us used to get into regular spats with Arsene wenger over the frog-laden nature of the Arsenal squad.

Up front an option is Papisse Cisse. Cisse looked to be on his way out before the start of the season when he expressed his religious-based objections to the Geordies' new shirt sponsors, one of those payday loan companies whose interest rates seem to be calculated by multiplying the number of women Russell Brand has slept with by the number of atoms in the observable universe. Cisse didn't join the squad on a pre-season trip, preferring instead to lie low in the last place anyone would think of looking for someone with such deeply held religious views: a Newcastle casino. The player ended up changing his mind, his altered viewpoint being totally unconnected with his being caught out good and proper by someone with one of those phone camera things.

Of course no look at the Magpies would be complete without a few words about their director of football and things Joe Kinnear. I asked Preview Alastair for a few words but the editor wouldn't let me print them. You will recall that following his return to Newcastle – a move that had all the hallmarks of a Pardew-baiting exercise from Ashley – Kinnear turned up on the wireless making all sorts of nutcase claims about his football and management career. Stuff about having won everything under the sun hit the airwaves in one of radio's finest comic hours since ITMA and the Goon Show. Sadly, in the annual Football Fiction Awards the Kinnear Broadcasts only got third prize, with second place going to Harry Redknapp's latest autobiography, First place went of course to Redknapp's collected tax returns.

The spotty work experience kid tells me that they have pretty much a full squad to pick from, with only Coloccini and Taylor (Ryan) on the long term absentee list.

As for us – what a difference a day makes as Stanley Adams and Maria Mendez Grever once wrote. All was gloom and doom all over the place then the arrival of some old almost forgotten faces, a tour de force of a performance from Noble and look at the place. In the interests of balance I should also point out a fine spot of refereeing from Lee Mason who was on the ball enough to realise that his little buzzy goal line thing had only gone off after Adrian had been shoved into the net.

Injury news is good as well. Reid will be another couple of weeks but no fewer than three players looking to be available after late fitness tests, those being Collins, Demel and O'Brien. Morrison's Groin looks to have eased off as well and with Andy Carroll now happily in the frame and the vibes are positive.

Prediction time. The good feelings from within the club seem to have permeated their way through from the club this week. Either that or Matron's been messing with my meds again. I realise that their recent run has mitigating circumstances attached to it but confidence is a marvellous thing and I reckon that the boost from last week's win will do us the power of good. I'm therefore sending the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's fund to pay our local MP NOT to have her portrait done (£2.50) on a home win. I'll go for 2-1 then and our first back to back wins since promotion. Face it it's got to happen one day!

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn – Drew 0-0 (May 2013) As dull a match as it sounds. We were safe, they were nearly safe. It was warm. The beaches beckoned. You get the picture.

Referee: Andre Marriner Last seen behaving in a very odd manner during the home match against Sunderland where he seemed unable to distinguish ten yards from ten feet.

Danger Man: I am indebted to Preview Alastair's comment that Loic Remy is the man to watch if they can get him the service.

Daft fact of the week: Former Newcastle defender Bill McCracken used to bore the backsides off people so much with his tactic of running upfield to leave opposition forwards offside that they actually changed the laws of the game so that it now only requires two players to be nearer their own goal line, rather than the three that had hitherto been the case. Referees might get the hang of it one day.

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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