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West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth

Filed: Friday, 21st August 2015
By: Preview Percy

We haven't entertained Bournemouth at home since Preview Percy started writing these columns a few years ago. So we'd just like to reassure visiting supporters that it's nothing personal - he's this bad EVERY week.....

Next cab off the rank will be the visit of what I always used to call Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic but what they now call AFC Bournemouth. Let’s split the difference and call them “The Cherries” then.

Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday, which is a superb time at which to be playing or watching football. Who knows, in time it may catch on. There are no tube works in the area – though further west there are disruptions on the far reaches of the Met and Jubilee lines. Also the Victoria line between Walthamstow Central and Seven Sisters is still shut while they install security measures to ensure Spurs supporters don’t escape to the nicer parts of town. As ever check before you travel.

Results wise it’s not been the greatest of starts to their sojourn in the Premier League. 1-0 defeats at home to Villa and away to Liverpool, despite having their fair share of those games, suggests that there may be a lack of cutting edge in the final third. Of course the Liverpool defeat, like our own last weekend, owed just about everything to the antics of the match officials. The last home team to win an honest match at Anfield was probably Everton.

There has been a lot of rubbish talked about the “new offside law” so it’s worth pointing out that a): there ISN’T a new offside law – the authorities have merely issued (yet more) new guidance to match officials on interpretation; and b): There has never, ever, ever been an interpretation of the offside law under which that Liverpool goal should have stood.

Trying to maintain his dignity in the face of all the diving and dodgy refereeing at Anfield that the rest of the Premier League seems to meekly accept ever week was their frighteningly youthful manager Eddie Howe. This is in fact Howe’s second spell at the helm at Dean Court (usual rules: I’ll mention the sponsor’s name when they pay me to). His first period in charge famously coincided with the club’s near departure from the league, battling as they were against a 17 point deduction due to their being on their uppers. Incidentally Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth have all had points deducted for going into administration over the years. For two points: what connects these teams? Yes that’s right, they are all on the South Coast. At least that’s the answer our lawyers have allowed us to use.

They have spent a few of owner Maxim Demin’s petrodollars in close season as you might expect. However, the work experience kid with the Harry Potter glasses tells me that the bulk of new arrivals came in on frees. Amongst these was former Southampton and Celtic custodian Artur Boruc, though calling him a “new signing” is stretching the definition slightly when one considers that he spent last season on loan at Dean Court from St Mars. Whilst at Celtic he gained the nickname “The Holy Goalie” for being a practising Catholic. My sides are still aching.

Boruc has been preferred thus far to another summer freebie Adam Federici. Ex-Reading 'keeper Federici made in excess of 200 appearances for the Biscuitmen over a ten year sojourn in Berkshire before being released at the end of last season. He’ll be remembered for the slip that allowed Arsenal through to the Cup Final last season in what we used to call a “touch of the Sprakes”

The biggest fee shelled out thus far in the window by them was the £8m that found its way to Portman Road in exchange for the services of defender Tyrone Mings. I had hoped that the work experience kid with the Harry Potter spectacles would unearth tales of nastiness or skeletons in the cupboard that would enable me to construct an elaborate humorous conceit along the lines that he is known to all as “The Merciless”. Instead I get brought stories of him paying to replace the shirts of supporters after his squad number changed (after the sale of Aaron Cesswell to us) and, worse still, of him going out on Christmas Day to feed the homeless with nary a thought for those of us who wanted a cheap laugh at his expense. Bastard.

Another £3.5m went on midfielder/striker Lee Tomlin who came south from Middlesbrough. Tomlin only spent just over a season with the smoggies having arrived there in January 2014 on loan from Peterborough. That loan deal was made permanent a month later with a three year deal being signed. However, the lure of Premier League football was too great when the Cherries came knocking this summer. Tomlin is one of our favourite rarities in this column, a player who has been capped by England at “C” level, a source of great delight to us here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered ever since we discovered that we had a C team in the first place.

There are a couple of ex-Hammers in the squad. Elliot Ward came in to our side towards the end of the 2004-05 season when we had just about run out of central defenders. As it happened the “Anton & Elliot” partnership did quite well and got us through to the playoffs and, ultimately, promotion. However, he wasn’t given a chance to show whether he could make the step up to the top flight and the arrival of Gabbidon & Ginge saw him leave. He’s been missing in action for some time, a persistent knee problem meant that he made but two appearances in last season’s promotion run.

They also have Junior Stanislas on the books. “Felix” (to give him his real name) left shortly after the arrival of Sam Allardyce and was managed by Howe during his spell at Burnley. When Stanislas’ contract at Turf Moor expired he elected to move to sunnier climes and rejoin his old boss. Injuries and the form of his replacements limited him to 13 appearances last term and he has yet to feature since their promotion.

Former Hammers trialist Max Gradel came in from pop act Saint Etienne, where despite making over 100 appearances, he failed to dislodge Sarah Cracknell as lead vocalist. The forward has over 40 caps for the Ivory Coast and featured in this year’s African Cuppa Soup, scoring in their group match against Mali. As part of the deal that brought him to Dorset, Leeds got a reported 10% of the reported £7m transfer fee as part of the deal arranged when he left Yorkshire. Don’t fret, they’ll probably waste it.

Us? Well last week yet again we were the victims of a refereeing performance that was quite simply not of the required standard. The fact that the so-called independent (yeah right) panel upheld Adrian’s three match ban is scandalous. Especially in the light of the fact that the same referee thought an earlier identical challenge by Jenkinson was worthy only of a yellow. And in view of the fact that Vardy, who launched himself into a challenge with Adrian with two feet off the ground and studs up also escaped similar sanction.

The panel’s decision means that not only has a referee been able to decide the result of one match, but he will have had a potential effect on another three and his errors once more go unpunished.

Randolph – who over the past few seasons has let in industrial numbers of goals against Bournemouth – will replace Adrian between the posts for this one, though the arrival of Smithies at QPR may see Rob Green moving on in our direction at some stage.

The training injury to Zarate (hamstring) leaves us a bit short up front and it is to be hoped that efforts to sign a striker are being redoubled as we speak. Those who wanted to see Austin come in from QPR are likely to be disappointed given his reaction to David Sullivan’s comments about his fitness on this site’s podcast earlier this week.

The wireless radio thing that the site produces seems to have caused a bit of a stir this week. A throwaway off the cuff remark seems to have somehow been taken out of context, fed steroids and been fed to Austin who proceeded to corner three quarters of the world supply of umbrage. One particular journo has been acting like that kid at school whose only contribution to school life was to shout “fight, fight, fight” every time there was a minor playground altercation and spend the next three days boasting about their role in the whole affair.

As a result a genuine attempt by the owners of a club to engage with supporters has resulted in Mr Sullivan going into voluntary Trappist mode for the foreseeable. All this at a time when the journos could be doing useful like digging around and trying to establish why refereeing standards are so poor in this country and why those responsible for standards are not doing anything to rectify matters. And they wonder why people place them on a reputational level with traffic wardens.

In the meantime if I were to be so bold as to offer any advice to Mr Sullivan it would be not to refer in conversation to any past injuries that that Lionel Messi may have had in the past. Well you never know.

I suppose you want a prediction out of me then. Well we have another dodgy ref this week (let’s face it we get them every week now) so maybe I should go and ask him in advance what the score is going to be. Failing that I’ll go for our sense of injustice combined with their lack of cutting edge up front to outweigh their sense of injustice and the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered’s “je suis kumb.com” fighting fund (£2.50) will therefore be placed in its entirety on a 2-0 home victory.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn: Won 2-0 (League Cup 3rd round October 1999) Keller and Lampard Jr were on target as we eased past a Cherries side featuring what must have been a ten year old Eddie Howe to reach the 4th round of the competition. We’ve only played them competitively five times in all winning 3 and drawing two to date.

Danger Man: Max Gradel – finding his feet at the top level but if he can reproduce the form from his Leeds days he could be a threat.

Referee: Jonathon Moss– Handed Spurs a point they didn’t deserve at their place last season by falling for an obvious dive then failing to blow for time after Kane’s penalty had been saved. Another one who doesn’t appear to know the laws of the game. But Riley likes him hence his place in the select group. When they gave him the FA Cup Final last season the reaction amongst refereeing circles was a unanimous “you’re joking”.

Irritating Celebrity Supporter Of The Week– This is where this new feature starts to struggle a bit. A cursory glance to find out who supports the Cherries initially proved, er, fruitless. I am reliably informed that somebody out of Bloc Party (a popular beat combo apparently) is a Bournemouth fan but this week’s award goes to somebody called Jayne Middlemiss (no me neither). She may be a lovely person and not at all irritating but she did once work for Noel Edmonds and appeared on something called Celebrity Love Island (no me neither) so for those two reasons alone Ms Middlemiss is this week’s “Irritating Celebrity Supporter Of The Week” qualifying for next May’s final at Blackpool’s glittering Tower Ballroom where she will face strong competition from Piers Morgan and Gary Lineker. In the meantime don’t fret - we’re more than spoilt for choice next week.

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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