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West Ham United v Hull (for the time being) City

Filed: Tuesday, 25th March 2014
By: Preview Percy

Fine wines often mature with age. Preview Percy is like a fine wine only insofar as he is often drunk......

Next up we play host to the ever-likeable (yeah, right) Steve Bruce who brings his Hull City side to the Boleyn for a 7:45pm kick off this Wednesday evening. It being midweek there are no engineering works planned so just be prepared to fight with the usual rush hour stuff.

Hull come to us in 12th spot in the league having gotten 33 points from their 30 matches thus far. That’s two places and two points better than us at the moment so a win would see us doing a leap-frog. There’s something you don’t see any more. People doing leap-frog. I remember those Pathe newsreels which, whenever they visited a football club to show them training, always showed footballers leap-frogging and (ed's note: at this point we had to prod Percy with a stick.

Sorry where was I. Oh yes Hull at home. Their current form over the last 6 games runs WLWLLW. Solid if unspectacular then. Their last outing saw them saw them turn over West Brom 2-0, a result assisted in no small part by a somewhat dubious penalty “earned” by serial offender Shane Long. “Shane is never going to dive” claimed Bruce, in a lie so barefaced it probably qualifies him for honorary membership of the Redknapp family. As quotes go it was right up there with the Sky commentator on Sunday who claimed “Lallana's not one to go to ground easily”.

Of course our visitors are no strangers to a spot of simulation. Rob Brady probably feared the worst when throwing himself into the air up at the Sunshine Stadium back in September when Kevin Friend blew his whistle. Instead of the yellow card for being embarrassing that ought to have been forthcoming Friend awarded a penalty from which Brady, once he had recovered his composure from the hysterical laughter he must have been racked with, gave them a very undeserved win.

Friend compounded his error by then forgetting the rather basic law that teams are allowed to play with just the one 'keeper at a time, allowing Livermore to punch the ball out for a corner. Brady is down on the injured list as having “no return date”, which suggests that the football gods of karma do wake up from time to time.

George Boyd will also be an absentee for this one. He'll be kicking his heels on the suspension list following a tete-a-tete with Joe Hart that saw him accused of gobbing in the England 'keeper's face following his rather poor attempt at a dive (I detect a recurring theme here). He might have gotten away with it but for Bruce's public explanation that the player was merely saying something and a bit of spit accidentally came out. It wasn't the most convincing of excuses in the first place, but once uttered by Bruce it lost any semblance of credibility and, from the moment his manager opened his gob, Boyd was probably doomed.

The penalty gained by Long at the weekend was taken by former Hammers alleged target Nikica Jelavic. And missed. The rebound was put away by son of a Hammer Liam Rosenior. All of which begs the question: “What is a penalty?”

None of which will bother them overly at the moment. The support is rather preoccupied with the owner's intention to change the club's name. The owner suggests that the name change is required to make the club “stand out”, presumably from all those other clubs called Hull City. The owner has been a bit cute with the survey question asked of supporters. Instead of saying “can I change the team's name to Hull Tigers yes or no” they've added a line about the family “continuing to lead the club”, suggesting by implication that a “no” vote would see them pull the plug. Makes you wonder why they didn't go the whole hog and ask “Can we change the club name to Hull Tigers or shall we drown some kittens?” It all smacks of the time they asked us here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home for the Bewildered whether we'd be happy with a 100% increase in fees or would we rather have our legs broken. I still walk wit a limp to this day.

And so to us. There were two really depressing things about Saturday, Firstly, our performance was well below par against a pretty average Salford mob who now have to rely on the friendly refereeing they get for most of their points rather than just the crucial ones. Given the recent improvement in form we'd had we should have been a bit more up for it against them but, as has often been the case in the past hen faced with inferior opposition, we seemed a bit lax.

The other depressing sight at the weekend was the new low attained by Sky Sports, whose coverage plumbed new depths. Apparently we can now all ignore blatant fouls if the end result is good for the “product”. Thus we were treated to the post match spectacle of a member of the Redknapp family lying through his teeth on telly. Not an unusual experience, admittedly, but surely some presenter could have picked up on junior's comment that Rooney's blatant shove into Tomkins' back “wasn't a foul”? More depressingly we're going to now have to endure the so-called wonder goal turning up on “goal of the season” contests, sending out the message to kids that cheating is fine as long as the result looks good on the box.

There are a couple of injury concerns. Tomkins has been hobbling after a poor tackle from Fellaini which ref Mason punished with the full force of, er, a drop ball. Incidentally, that's the fourth consecutive game of ours that Mason has refereed in which he has made a serious error that has cost us a goal. In most countries that would be cause for concern.

Matt Jarvis is also a doubt with a hip/thigh knock and, like Tomkins he faces a late fitness test. Boriello's injury shows no sign of going away and in it's another few weeks before we'll see Joey O. Carroll should have managed to remove the imprint of Fellaini's hands in his back in time for kick-off, though he'll need a clean shirt.

Prediction? Well they are getting kinda difficult these days given that just about every match we play is in the hands of referees who, as Marriner's stewardship of a Premier League match proves, are given carte-blanche to do whatever they like without fear of any meaningful punishment. Though I have to say that the “Pot and Kettle of The Century” award must go to serial liar and cheat Clive Thomas for describing Marriner's faux-pas as the worst decision he'd ever seen, which just goes to show how little attention he was paying to the matches he ruined himself during his career.

I guess that we must eventually come across an honest ref who knows what he is doing so, on the assumption that the result will arise out of the relative merits of the clubs involved rather than on the whims of someone with one eye on the book that they will be publishing on retirement, I'm going to place the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home or The Bewildered's fund to help bail out the Co-Op (£2.50) on us to win. I'll go for a 2-0 this time round then.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Boleyn: Won 2-1 (Championship April 2012) Last game of the regular season. Carlton Cole netted twice but Southampton's stroll against relegated Coventry ensured that it'd be play-offs rather than automatic promotion for us. Still it worked out ok in the end.

Referee: Mike Dean Oh gawd. What was that I was saying about wanting an honest ref?

Danger Man: Shane Long. Irritating specimen and we'll have to watch out for him not diving as well.

Daft fact of the week: Hull is the birthplace of Lemsip, Bonjela and Gaviscon which tells you everything to know about the climate and eating habits of the locals up there. Either that or it's Humberside's leading firm of solicitors.

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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