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West Ham United v Queens Park Rangers

Filed: Saturday, 4th October 2014
By: Preview Percy

We're often asked what Preview Percy's full name is. To tell the truth we're not sure as he refuses to tell anyone "for tax reasons". Which, for some strange reason, reminds us of this weekend's match......

Next up we play host to Queens Park Rangers. Kick-off is on Sunday at 4.15pm (rather than the usual 4.00pm on Sundays. No idea why). There are engineering works on the Central Line east of Leytonstone and the London Overground Gospel Oak-Barking line is also shut with replacement buses in operation throughout. You may need those extra 15 mins then.

This is their first visit to the Boleyn since January 2013 with them having been relegated at the end of that season. Promotion came via the playoffs where they were a bit fortunate to beat Derby County who had all but played them off the park. A late goal from old boy Bobby Zamora completed a Wembley smash and grab raid that even their manager admitted was a bit streaky. They'll be hoping to avoid a return whence they came. The manner in which co-owner Tony Fernandes' largesse was distributed last season is likely to have seen them make a rather large loss which, if confirmed will incur the wrath of the Football League's Financial Fair Play chaps. The punishment could be a substantial fine which Fernandes has already resolved not to pay leading to speculation that the club could be made to bypass the Football League in the event of relegation. So the fact they are currently bottom on goal difference from Burnley and Newcastle with four points from their six games so far will be more worrying than usual for them.

This season so far, according to the work experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips, they've lost to Hull at home (0-1), away 4-0 to Spurs, away at Man Utd (4-0) and away at Southampton (2-1). The four points came courtesy of a home win over Sunderland (1-0) and a 2-2 home draw with Stoke. All in all a far from comfortable start to the season – anyone who can make Spurs & Man Utd fans think they are so-called Champions League material clearly has problems notwithstanding the easily deluded nature of those particular groups of fans.

Whenever we are in the same division as QPR – a relatively rare occurrence over the past ten years or so – twice a year I receive a visit here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered from a couple of men in suits. These gentlemen sit behind me as I type out this stuff on my Sheringham 5000 electric typewriter (youngsters imagine a computer with no screen with the words appearing on something called “paper”). The men in suits are the editors' legal advisors whose job is to make sure that I don't land either the bald one or the short chubby one from this site in hot water by revealing stuff about this week's opposing manager. It's quite a lot of fun watching the blood drain from their faces every time the word “Redknapp” appears on the page.

Given that I'm not allowed to mention certain legal hassles that “Henry”(to give him his full name) may or may not have been involved in over the past few years I'll just have to have a laugh at the expense of his “auto” biography that came out last year. Not since Joe Kinnear's bonkers ramblings during his spell as “Director Of Football” at Newcastle has there been such a rewriting of history. For example, that Bale chap who plays for those Spaniards, the one who used to dive all over the place for the special needs team up the road? Redknapp made him what he is today apparently. Of course this must have been a completely different Bale to the one who Redknapp tried to use as a makeweight in an attempt to sign a certain S. Downing from Middlesbrough. Perhaps Rosie the dog had some input into that particular deal.

Looking at the last window, one deal that did go through was the signing of midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who came in on loan from Dynamo Kiev (yes I know they changed the spelling but it's an old typewriter ok?) a year ago. He went back to Kiev (look I've told you once) but returned on loan once more last month. It's now the fourth time that the Croatian midfielder has signed for Redknapp so you'd have thought he'd have learned by now. Things are clearly worse than one feared in what we used to call “The” Ukraine. “We're paying him a third of what they paid him in Russia” claimed Redknapp, proving his grasp on geography is as strong as his grasp on financial matters.

Another face familiar to Redknapp from his days with the special needs lot up the road was Sandro. Sandro arrived as Spurs in 2010 for an “undisclosed” fee, the size of which seems to have been reported at something like £8m. If that is the case (and, to be fair, reports on the size of the fee vary wildly) the £10m paid by QPR seems a little high. How unlike Redknapp to pay over the odds for a player (careful – kumb lawyers).

Another old face (detect a theme here anyone?) to arrive was that of Rio Ferdinand who arrived on a free after the expiry of his contract with Moan Utd. Ferdinand was reunited with Redknapp for the first time since his £18m move to Leeds in 2000. We spent that money well didn't we?
Ferdinand joins Steven Caulker in the centre of defence. Caulker seems to have a thing about deserting sinking ships having left Cardiff during the close season for £8m having left Spurs before that.

Apart from Ferdinand and the previously mentioned Zamora (who seems to have a permanent place in the racing car seats reserved for him) the other ex-Hammer of note in the side is Robert Green who left us at the end of his contract having discovered that he was being paid less than certain other players who had rarely been available for selection; Green having contributed a hellova lot more to the promotion push than those players ever did. At first it didn't look like the wisest of moves when QPR followed up Green's signing with that of Brazilian 'keeper Julio Cesar. Cesar was the no.1 choice for most of 12/13 but relegation saw him dropped – possibly for financial reasons with Green returning to the fold.
Cesar left for Benfica this summer – after famously letting in 7 in the World Cup Semi-Final against Germany - and was replaced by Alex McCarthy who came in from Reading. McCarthy actually made the England squad a couple of seasons ago but a nightmare 90 minutes here at the Boleyn at the end of 12/13 just after his call-up probably stymied much hopes of a long international career.

They'll be missing midfielder Jordon Mutch with a hamstring injury for this one. Mutch came in from Cardiff in the close season and was once the subject of one of the more hilarious cautions given by one of the Keystone Cops that pass for referees these days. Having seen Mutch foul Louis Saha, ref Peter Walton decided to caution the player. Stopping play the ref issued the usual lecture but, come the relevant moment, Walton realised that he'd left his cards back in the changing room. Undaunted, the ref waved an imaginary card anyway, thus making himself look even more stupid than usual.

Enough of them what of us. Bit unlucky last week I thought. Much has been written about the “offside” goal, nearly all of which missed the point. To some degree whether Nolan was on or offside was, strangely, almost irrelevant. The point was whether or not the linesman could have been in a position to judge for sure. The footage suggests that he was a bit behind the play and, that being the case, any decision would have had to have been guesswork. It'd be nice to think that the FA might investigate the appalling record that the officials have at venues such as Old Trafford and Anfield rather than simply fining anyone who points out that all is not well, but that's about as likely as Sepp Blatter giving back all the money he's leeched out of the game over the years.

The FA might also want to have a look at the conduct of last week's opponents in the days that followed the match. The snidey way in which “sources close to” suggested that Luke Shaw had been headbutted by Sakho was typical of the nasty little two-bob club that they've always been. I remember us getting quite a fine for supposedly not acting in good faith to another club. Funny how some clubs do that all the time without punishment.

The good thing is that, despite the result we pretty much battered them second half and will come out of the match in good mood, confidence that will put as in good stead for this one. Just goes to show that even a defeat can do a side a power of good if the performance is good enough.

There are a couple of injury worries. Kouyate can be written off until the start of November. Carroll is currently looking at the end of November. Having played in the Development Squad earlier this week, Jarvis is fit to return to the squad but worryingly Noble, like O'Brien is listed as “no return date”. And just as I speak the work experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips has just run in with the news that Demel has done himself a mischief in training. Jenkinson to start then.

And so it's time for a prediction. The contrast between the two sides can be defined from the relative defeats up at Old Trafford. Theirs reminded me of some of ours a few years ago – rabbits caught in headlights is the phrase that leaps to mind, they were defeated before they took the pitch. The presence of three ex-Hammers in the squad is usually cause for concern but with the most likely scorer probably starting on the bench and one of the others actually playing in goal that's not as big a concern as it might normally have been. The likes of Sakho and Valencia are in good enough form to scare most defences – let alone one containing one centre half whose best days were 15 years ago and another who got relegated with his last club.

So this time around I'll be putting the £2.50 of legal fees I've saved the editors by not referring to “Henry” Redknapp's involvement in (**text deleted by kumb lawyers on legal grounds**) on us to take all three points. Let's say 3-1 then shall we?

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Boleyn:Drew 1-1 (January 2013) Remy put QPR ahead on 14 minutes whereupon the timewasting started, the visitors being ably assisted by Howard Webb's refusal to add on tie despite all the theatrical pointing at his watch. With the bus well ad truly parked it took until the 68th minute or us to equalise, with Cole (J) sticking away the rebound after his namesake's header had been saved.

Referee: Anthony Taylor Astonishingly he's still in a job despite his record. Sent off both Carlton Cole & Darren Gibson in the home match v Everton a couple of seasons ago – decisions that were so poor that even the review panel made up of his best mates decided to rescind them. His punishment for displaying such poor judgement? He got to referee a high profile League Cup semi-final a week later. Last season he handed all three points to Liverpool at the Boleyn – inspiring the headline “West Ham United 1 Anthony Taylor 2'

Danger Man: Charlie Austin – top scorer with two and it wasn't a bad finish for his goal at Southampton last week.

Daft fact of the week: QPR have announced plans to redevelop parts of Old Oak Common to build a new 50,000 seater stadium. Unfortunately their plans include building on quite a lot of land that they don't actually own, including some owned by one of those big car supermarket places, the owners of which are understandably miffed at the idea of their land being built on without their say so. If the Football League carries out their threat to deny them entry to the league if relegated, look out or them playing on nearby Wormwood Scrubs for £68 quid a week pitch hire while the car supermarket opens up a new showroom in Loftus Road.

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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