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West Ham United v Newcastle United

Filed: Friday, 28th November 2014
By: Preview Percy

It seems the country has suddenly gone bonkers over the concept of "Black Friday". Anyone who reads Preview Percy's stuff will know that EVERY Friday is Black Friday around here....

Next we play host to Newcastle United. Saturday. 3pm. Good. Transport? So-so. No Central Line between Woodford and Epping if that's your usual route and on C2C certain (but not all) services are being diverted to Liverpool Street. Christmas shopping or something.

The visitors come in a rich seam of form at the moment. After an opening to the season that saw whole websites spring up dedicated to the removal of their manager (of whom the kumb lawyers still insist I must say very little), they have turned things around and won their last 5 in the league. Leaving them in 5th place with 19 points from the 12 played to date. This seems to have confused the rather dim Alan Shearer who earlier on this season was using the word “unacceptable” in the manner of someone pleased to have discovered a long word that he can pronounce. Whilst he smugly pointed at us and asked where all Sam out brigade had gotten to, he seems to have avoided asking the same question of his own club. Meanwhile he continues to benefit from the BBC's policy of giving gainful employment to the hard of thinking. Talking of which, as a protest against their habit of referring to High Wycombe's Mike Ashley as a fat cockney b*stard I shall continnue in my tradition of referring to all Geordies as “Mackems”. It's only fair.

We have our own Mackem here at the Ghana's Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered. Preview Alastair occupies one of the rooms in the secure unit and for some reason they let him out for a week or so to coincide with this fixture. He remains firmly in the “Pardew Out” (or “P45dew” as he humorously refers to him) camp. Their poor form since the turn of the year gets him very hot under the collar when we sneak him past the armed guards for a pint at the Swan & Superinjunction for an intelligent discussion on footballing matters (Shearer not invited obviously). Add to that a January transfer window that saw the departure of Cabaye to moneybags Paris St Germain too late for any adequate replacement to be sourced and the grumblings that were stirring weren't totally due to Preview Alastair's Guinness habit.

Fast forward to the summer window and with money in the bank the Mackem fans (look you started it ok?) were looking at Ashley sticking his hands in his pocket, especially with the departure of Debuchy (disappointingly Matthieu, rather than Claude, classics lovers) to Arsenal. However, Hatem Ben Arfa was then mysteriously loaned to Hull of all people. Informed sources tell tales of a major personality clash between player and manager and with the player being something of a crowd favourite, if Pardew was courting popularity amongst the support he certainly wasn't trying to do it the easy way.

The fans would have been hoping therefore for some heavy action on the arrivals front. However, what actually arrived was not, at first sight, particularly inspiring. They spent a rumoured €2m on Spanish U21 striker Ayoze Perez who swapped Tenerife for Tyneside. Presumably he feels quite at home in a city full of Brits on the lash. After a quiet start – it was thought his purchase was possibly made with an eye n the future - he scored in the recent wins against Liverpool and Spurs so a pat on the back is due for that at least. He also scored against West Brom but we don't really care about them.

More controversial was the arrival of Jack Colback from Sunderland. Although he'd been a Newcastle fan as a kid he came up through the youth ranks at Sunderland. At contract renewal time last season he sat down with the (real) Mackems who agreed the basis of a financial deal with the player. However, since they were in a bit of a state vis-a-vis the old relegation thing (they usually are) he asked that the contract discussions be put on hold until everyone knew what division they were going to be in. With Norwich's run-in proving to be as bad as everyone said it would be, the season ended with safety assured for the (real) Mackems, who promptly turned up at Colback Towers with a nice new contract, only to find that he'd upped sticks leaving a forwarding address of C/O St James' Park, Newcastle, at which venue he could be found putting pen to a nice shiny new contract. In an hilariously whiney official club statement the (real) Mackems moaned about the whole thing leaving a “bitter taste”.

They haven't had an awful lot of luck with Dutchman Siem De Jong who was another summer arrival. The midfielder, who can also operate up front, cost them about £7.5m when they brought him in from Ajax. The work experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips tells me that he is the owner of no fewer than six Dutch caps (titter). He's made but two appearances for the Magpies so far this season, and a thigh muscle injury will keep him out of action until the new year.

Another new arrival who has been injured is Frenchman Emmanuel Riviere who fittingly plays on the wing because, if you Anglicised his name a bit you could have a lot of fun trying to work “Manny River to cross” into your commentary. He's been capped at just about every age level except full by France and announced his joy at signing professional terms with his first club by stating that “The ASSE is legendary in Martinique”. Before you start tittering again I should point out that ASSE is the accepted abbreviation in France for AS St Etienne. Which, admittedly isn't quite as funny as whatever it was you were laughing at just now. He's scored a couple this season – both in the League Cup win over Palace. The reassuringly vague “knock” of which some of the transfer injury sites are so fond has kept him out of contention of late but he's listed as available for this weekend.

Another injury absentee will be dead-ball specialist Ryan Taylor, who must have walked under any number of ladders whilst building any number of homes on Indian burial grounds or something, such has been his luck with injury. He returned last week only to depart the pitch in tears the like of which I haven't seen since Preview Alastair last had to buy a round. Thankfully for the player the injury wasn't as bad as first feared, though it's likey to be the new year before he can try his luck again.

A quick word about another player Jonas Gutierrez who, we are pleased to hear, is making a good recovery from testicular cancer, a horrible disease which, of course, we know all too well at the Boleyn Ground. No harm in having them checked lads.

And so to us. The other evening we were stuck watching the dire Tottenham v Partizan march (the dribbling idiot who supports Spurs around here had eaten the remote again so we couldn't change channels). The match was interrupted by some equally dribbling idiots as part of some sort of publicity stunt. Funnily enough, the same sort of thing happened at Goodison Park last weekend where our match was similarly hijacked by Mark Clattenburg, who used the whole 90 minutes to create more incidents for inclusion in his post-retirement autobiography.

As a result we've been hauled up before the powers that be over last weekend's events. I suggest we turn up at the hearing, plead guilty, get Tomkins to shell out a few grand of the inevitable fine as punishment for his stupid face clutching antics and send the rest of the bill to Mike Riley for his failure to supply a competent set of officials for the fixture.

Clattenburg's performance was disgusting but, sadly, par for the course these days. It's got to the stage that referees get major plaudits for getting the most basic of decisions right – at this rate the likes of Shearer will be giving them standing ovations for remembering to bring a coin out for the toss. You might enquire as to what punishment Clattenburg's receiving as a result of his antics. The answer is, er, none. In fact because he's been swanning around Europe this week they've even given the grinning idiot a game at Middlesbrough so he can be close to his Gosforth home. In the meantime the FA can stick their “Respect” campaign where the sun doesn't shine.

The aforementioned Tomkins has rightly and refreshingly been castigated by our support for his play-acting. It's definitely not what we want to see at the Boleyn and the second we start condoning that sort of thing is the second we descend into the sort of ignorance that you find at Liverpool, where defence of the indefensible has become the norm for that horrid little club and its supporters.

We were missing no fewer than five frontline players last weekend which made Clattenburg's performance all the more galling, seeing how well we played. To that five you can add Noble who was cynically kicked out of the game by Naismith last weekend. Proper information is hard to come by at the moment. All five are listed as possibly being available for Saturday, though the entries for Sakho, Song and Noble are all appended with the phrase “Late Fitness Test”. We'll also be missing Winston Reid who was another on the receiving end of Clattenburg's idiocy, the yellow card that sees the Kiwi suspended might not have happened had the officials been doing their jobs.

It's another difficult prediction week. Firstly, the lack of clarity about the injury list means that there's no certainty over the strength of team to be fielded. Secondly, the work-experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips has just informed me of the identity of this weekend's referee (see below). Much has been said about their five-in-a row form which, in truth is a turnaround from the previous few matches. However a closer inspection of the results shows that those points were gained at the expense of some rather crap teams at the moment – QPR, Leicester, Spurs, West Brom and Liverpool would be pretty high on most clubs' list of teams they'd like to play at present. I'd like to think that we'd present a bit more of a test than that lot. Also, it should be noted that they owe their place above us to Mr Clattenburg (suspiciously) of Gosforth – the draw we deserved would still have seen us in 4th spot on goal difference.

Since the odds on all five being fit on Saturday are probably on a par with those of Preview Alastair opening his wallet again this side of the next total solar eclipse visible from the inside of the Blackwall Tunnel, I'm going to play it safe and put the Taxi For Mellor fund (£2.50) on a 2-2 draw.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Boleyn Lost 1-3 January 2014 A match that will live long in the memory are just 8 of the words that you won't associate with this match. Right in the middle of the January injury crisis even Razvan Rat got a game which probably tells you all you need to know. Cole scored in a defeat, the scoreline of which somewhat flattered our opponents.

Referee: Mike Dean After Clattenburg last week it would have been nice to have been given a competent ref interested only in the proper application of the laws of the game. I know such officials are a bit thin on the ground in the so-called select group but sending us Dean after last week's muppet show is really taking the p*ss.

Danger Man: Mike Dean

Daft fact of the week:Jack Colback scored the third goal in Sunderland's 3-0 win at Newcastle last season. This offence was punished by Newcastle by forcing the decidedly ginger defender to wear their horrible blue and green change kit, which was designed specifically as punishment for Colback.

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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