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Crystal Palace v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 22nd August 2014
By: Preview Percy

Just in case any of you were thinking about nominating Preview Percy for the ice bucket challenge, you may be pleased to know that the first person to do so is expected to make a full recovery from the operation to remove a galvanised pail from their backside. Eventually. Meanwhile here's the miserable one's thoughts on this weekend's visit to Selhurst Park.....

Next up we pop over to Croydon where we will be visiting Crystal Palace. Kick off is at 3pm. There are all sorts of transport issues with Southern Railway services not serving London Bridge, so if your preferred route involves travel via Norwood Junction you'll have to take your chances on the Ginger Line.

Regular readers will be aware that I reserve the same sort of dislike for the London Borough Of Croydon as most right-thinking people do for Piers Morgan or Simon Cowell. I'm pretty sure that the chef here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered came from there. The former Mrs Percy certainly did, something which should get everyone behind my campaign to have the whole borough surrounded by a two-mile high electrified fence, lest anything that awful escape from there again. Frankly, Palace and Croydon deserve each other. A club which plays music after goals is bad enough. What makes Palace worse than most is the fact that, uniquely in the world of football, you just know their supporters would complain if they stopped.

For the second week running we face a team with a new boss, the Glaziers having just parted company with the loathsome Tony Pulis. Pulis's version of events involves a difference of opinion over transfer policy with chairman Steve Parish. Parish has denied that this is the case. Make of that what you will.

It's fair to say that they haven't exactly gone mad in the window thus far. Fraizer Campbell came in from Cardiff for less than £1m. Scott Dann (who is likely to miss this one through injury) arrived from Blackburn for an undisclosed fee, Brede Hangeland came off the unattached shelf on a free, which was also the “fee” paid to Blackpool for Chris Kettings.

The highest profile arrival was probably Martin Kelly, who finding himself behind thug Flanagan in the pecking order at Anfield, came in from Liverpool for another undisclosed fee. It has to be said that, on the basis of that bunch, Pulis may have had a point.

They looked all set to appoint ex-Hammer Malky Mackay as the replacement for Pulis. However, that all seems to have gone by the wayside following lurid revelations of racist, sexist anti-semitic and homophobic texts (is that the full set?) and investigations into transfer deals from Mackay's days at Cardiff. The whole issue descended into high farce as the League Managers' Association defended Mackay, describing the messages as “friendly banter” before twigging that “friendly banter” might not be exactly the wisest of words to use to describe the texts. An apology followed and the apology for the apology is probably due next Tuesday, by which time someone will have explained to John Terry what all the fuss was about. The moral of the story is probably that Vincent Tan is someone you might want to avoid cheesing off.

Party to some of the offending texts was erstwhile Palace Director of Football Ian Moody, with whom Mackay worked at Cardiff. Moody has already been in hot water over the “Spygate” scandal where he was alleged to have tried to obtain team news from players at his former club. Although Moody denied any wrongdoing, the FA slapped Palace with an undisclosed fine (max £25,000) and Cardiff are exploring further action over the whole thing.

With all that going on it's hardly surprising that Mackay appears to have been given a body-swerve over the vacant job. Moody, for his part has resigned from his role over the issue.

In the meantime, as it stands at the time of writing, assistant manager Keith Millen is likely to be at the helm this weekend. The work experience kid with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips informs me that this is Millen's second spell as caretaker at Selhurst and his fourth overall when you take a couple of temporary shifts at Bristol City into account. He probably has his own brown overcoat then.

Last season's player of the year was 'keeper Speroni. The award was given to him for having to stand in front of the bunch of 12 year old zombies who call themselves “ultras” every week. Hearing exactly the same song sung at exactly the same point of every game every week must come in handy I suppose if you're trying to work out how long there is left in the match, though frankly it must be a hellofa lot less annoying to simply ask the ref or look at the clock (if they have one yet).

Speroni owns a restaurant in Purley (the part of Croydon that looks down its nose at the rest of the borough) and the work experience kid with an inappropriate number of rings though her lips included one of the less favourable reviews from something called “Trip Advisor” (which meant something a lot different back in the 1960's I can tell you). The complainant moaned that their meal was “too salty”, prompting suggestions that the review might have been written by Simon Cowell or Piers Morgan, both of whom I suspect receive more than their fair share of unexpectedly salty meals.

With the summer departure of Danny Gabbidon, the one ex-Hammer in the squad is Marouane Chamakh, He's not very good basically, which is why sod's law applied in the corresponding match last season and he scored the winner. Chamakh partnered new boy Frazier Campbell last weekend at Arsenal, though it was defender Hangeland who was on the scoresheet to give them the lead at the Emirates.
Campbell left with five minutes to go to be replaced by another journeyman striker in the form of Dwight Gayle. Gayle came in from Peterborough at the beginning of last season and found his 15 minutes of fame netting twice in the last ten minutes of the 3-3 home draw against Liverpool which effectively cost the scousers the title.

They'll be missing Jason Puncheon from their line-up. Puncheon has gotten about a bit – he's on his 15th different separate spell with a club since making his debut for Wimbledon in 2003. He picked up a red against Arsenal hence his absence.

And so to us. We were mugged a bit last weekend and, overall there was much about which to be encouraged. In particular the debuts of Kouyate and Cresswell were more than decent and the cameo from Valencia suggested that when he's fully fit he'll prove a handful.

We'll be missing Collins of course after his red. He's becoming increasingly error-prone in his dotage. You can't even blame sudden rushes of blood to the head – if that were the case he'd have a much fuller head of hair with which to justify his nickname.

Ginge's suspension leaves us a bit short-handed in the centre of defence. Tomkins' hamstring issues means that he'll face a late fitness-test, though on the right Jenkinson is believed to be close to a start. The management have been looking around for defensive reinforcements with Toby Alderweirald of Real Madrid and Man City's Micah Richards (again) both registering blips on the transfer radar. The problem is, as ever, finances with parent clubs preferring to actually sell players rather than just loan them out.

Up front, as Valencia continues his progress to match fitness, we will almost have an embarrassment of riches. Whilst Carroll's ligaments are still healing, in addition to Valencia, Cole, Zarate and Sakho will all be available to make some contribution if called upon, though since this is an away match I rather suspect that we will only see one of those at at time.

Prediction? Well past experience suggests that the not losing of a point rather than the gaining of three will be the priority for our first away trip of thee season. So the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home's £2.50 fund to do the ice-bucket challenge on Piers Morgan & Simon Cowell using a close relative of the chunk that did for the Titanic on a 1-1 draw this time round.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at Selhurst Park: Lost 1-0 December 2013. Former loan Hammer Chamakh scored a rare goal in a match ultimately decided by Lee Mason's inexplicable decision to disallow a perfectly good equaliser. Mason does that a lot.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg Poor and often less than trustworthy official who has made the most of the sympathy sent his way following Chelsea's pointless complaint a couple of years back.

Danger Man: Marouane Chamakh The product of “the law of the ex” formula is squared when the ex happens to be useless.

Daft fact of the week: Palace is one of those clubs that has made up its own nickname. The change to “Eagles” came in 1973 when the late Malcolm Allison decided to “modernise the club's image” (ugh). As a reminder, the club has a pet Eagle that flies up and down the pitch before matches. Naff though this is, it is a slight improvement on the position before the change, when two blokes would walk round the ground and try to flog you double glazing.

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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