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West Ham United v Manchester United

Filed: Sunday, 1st January 2017
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy + Hangover = well pretty much the same as usual really. Here's his look at the visit of Manchester United......

What? Them again? That’s three times now. Ok but if I have to write about them again I want a pay rise.
Ok “Manchester” United then. Monday 2 January for those of you who are still aware of what day of the week it is. 5:15 kick off for those of you who want to be out of their brain on the train. Assuming they can be bothered to leave their hotel earlier than 5pm of course.

Talking of trains the lines out of Liverpool Street are their usual mess. Four trains an hour between Liverpool Street and Chadwell Heath. Lots of replacement buses elsewhere. You know the score. Ive yourself plenty of time and if you come in on Southern with the away support I suggest that you invest in one of those see-saw like trolley things much beloved of 1950’s comedies. Check before you leave. As usual.

So the Salford Child Poisoners then. Currently 6th in the league where they have 39 points from their 19 played thus far, leaving them three points behind their neighbours from Manchester.

They are on a bit of form at the moment, having won their last 6 in the league. Their latest win against Boro’ came late on despite them having gone one nil down and having a perfectly good goal chalked off, thus denying Ibrahimovic some sort of record for goals in a calendar year – though it should be pointed out that he spent the first half of the year playing in the French League where goals are given way with the breakfast cereals if you play for PSG.

Incidentally Ibrahimovic was once voted Sweden’s second greatest sportsman ever behind Bjorn Borg. Those wacky Swedes eh? The good people at L’Equipe gave him another accolade though, naming him one of the two most arrogant footballers on the planet alongside Christiano Ronaldo. He has a rapsheet as long as your arm when it comes to courting controversy. My favourite, in amongst all the kicking and beating of team-mates and opponents alike was the furore over comments he made on the subject of women’s football. Wnen a team-mate had been given a car for becoming Sweden’s most-capped player some observers noted that a member of the Swedish Women’s squad had even more caps but had not been similarly honoured. Ibrahimovic’s reaction managed the neat trick of being sexist and arrogant at the same time: “Give her a bike with my autograph on it then we’re good”.

At this point in the proceedings one would normally send the work experience girl (last seen wearing a Smiths t-shirt without knowing who Morrissey is or what a talentless waste of skin he is) away to give us a run through their more recent signings and a few stats but since she’s already done that for them this season and she has a New Year’s hangover twice as bad as mine (sustained at one tenth the cost) I have given her the day off. No I’ve not gone soft, it’s just that her baseball bat wielding unshaven and tattooed mother popped over to the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered this morning and after a brief discussion concerning what would happen to the baseball bat and how many people it would take to retrieve it if I didn’t give her daughter the day off I elected to do my bit for employer-employee relations and save a few bob on the cost of a tub of petroleum jelly.

Rentagob Mourinho has been shouting his mouth off again recently about the rough refereeing they have been getting of late. Of course no team managed by Mourinho has ever gone more than a few minutes without playing mind games with the match officials and, of course, he is at the perfect club for that. The special needs one’s latest rant is that his side don’t get penalties. Well I’m happy to help here Jose. It seems that after years of giving out penalties at Old Trafford on demand referees have discovered that the laws of the game give out specific occasions when penalties should be awarded. And, hey, guess what? Yup they still read “whenever Fergie orders one”. Since the hypocritical tax dodger retired nobody has thought to change the wording. Funny how they haven’t won the league since isn’t it.

The irony of complaints from a club that has won so much thanks to referees over the years is, of course, highly amusing but Mourinho’s standard tactic of getting into referees heads pre-match served him well at Chelsea and even now Mike Dean – football’s most dishonest official – is probably weighing up the pros and cons of which half to make his live tv controversial decision in.

Of course Mourinho conveniently ignores all the other assistance they have had recently. The So-called wonder goal from Mkhitaryan against Sunderland that gained plaudits from everyone but was so offside the linesman was officially credited with an assist. They have a habit of doing such things – Wayne Rooney’s strike from the halfway line against us a year or two ago was preceded by a two handed push into James Tomkins’ back that was seen by the officials but deliberately ignored. So I guess what I’m saying is: if you suddenly want referees to play it by the book, hand back all the bent trophies they have earned you first.

The aforementioned Rooney has been absent of late with a thigh injury though he is a possible returnee, especially if they can give him a radio microphone tuned into the officials’ frequency which will reduce the amount of running about he will have to do to keep his constant chirping in the ref’s ear going.

Another possible return to the fold is that of ex-Hammer Michael Carrick who has been a bit unwell. He’s always been a decent player and it’s always been a shame to see him slumming it at the likes of Spurs and Man Utd.

Definitely missing will be defender Eric “David” Bailly who has been asked to report on time to the Ivory Coast squad for the African Cuppasoup. Man Utd asked for the player to be given an extra 24 hours because, well, they are Man Utd and it should be an honour for their tin-pot country to have one of their players in the squad. Oddly the Ivory Coast’s reply was something like you should be honoured that we are taking a player from your two-bob club so we are doing you the unprecedented honour of insisting he turns up on time.

And so to us. Bit of an odd game on Saturday or whatever day it was we played Leicester. The first half was quite open and both sides had chances, the difference being that they converted one of theirs. The second half they shut up shop and we didn’t have enough guile or nous to break them down, the irony being that the performance in itself was much better than those of the Burnley and Hull matches from which we gained six points. That’s life I suppose.

Mind you it might have been a different matter had idiot referee (are there any other sorts) Taylor done his job and sent off Huth and Armarty instead of spinelessly issuing the yellow cards that actually were shown. Yes we would have lost Nordveidt in similar circumstances but we would have had a numerical superiority for a large chunk of the match.

The disgusting stamp and rake that ended Noble’s day prematurely means that he is a doubt for this one. A quick check of the usual injury website listings suggests that we are now up to 9 injured first. team players. Byram has just returned to training, Masuaku is a “no return date” chappie as are Tore and Arbeola who, despite having not been seen for weeks, now turns up as having a suitably vague “leg injury”. Now that the transfer window is open Zaza is suddenly promoted to fit again albeit with a “slight doubt”, a statement that is as convincing as Mourinho’s conspiracy theories. The main surprise with those two is that, as I write some 18 hours into the transfer window, they are still here. The remaining three on the list are Oxford (6 January), Collins (14th) and Sakho (God knows)

So prediction time. Well it’s tough enough to play this lot at the best of times with the way they get into referees heads. Add Mike Dean into the mix in a game live on tv and anything could happen, as long as it includes everybody talking about Mike Dean. Having said that there have been green shoots of an increase in confidence of late.

However, I think the Dean factor will prove costly for us. I’m therefore going to place the £2.50 saved on petroleum jelly on an away win. Tell the chap at Winstone’s The Turf Accountants I’m going for 1-2 then.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn: Won 3-2 (Premier League – May 2016) The last ever game at the Boleyn. They did their usual trick of arriving late then expressed surprise that rush hour London was busy. The coach window got smashed which caused apoplexy amongst journalists, who had referred to Scousers trashing a coach as merely “creating an intimidating atmosphere” only a few weeks previously. On the pitch Sakho opened the scoring and we made them look very average. So, naturally, we went 2-1 down. An Antonio header from a Payet cross levelled then Reid stuck his name into the history books by converting a Payet free-kick, making De Gea, who had been giving it large to the Bobby Moore stand, look stupid in the process. We all left in tears after the closing ceremony.

Referee: Mike Dean – Broke the record for “most dishonest controversial decisions in a career given by a puffed-up self-important referee during live tv games ” with his terrible penalty/sending off decision in the Southampton v Spurs match. Utter disgrace of an official who is the living embodiment of all that is wrong with letting the likes of Riley run refereeing. Couldn’t the Chinese Super League take him? I’ll chip in towards a one-way ticket.

Danger Man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Arrogant Swede who was hilariously denied a calendar year goalscoring record by an astonishingly poor decision from brain donor referee Lee Mason who is so stupid he forgot the usual rules about giving the home side at Old Trafford the benefit of the doubt even when there isn’t any.

Percy’s Poser: Last Week we asked you which singer kept the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane from the no.1 slot in 1967. The first correct answer out of the digital hat this week was provided by Mrs Rosemary Cortisone who correctly identified Engelbert Humperdinck as the guilty party. Mrs Cortisone wins a ten year old packet of Walker’s crisps (salt & vinegar flavour of course). Well done Rosemary!

For this week’s poser we ask you when was the last time a Manchester United cup-tie was NOT televised live. The winner will win a Leicester City shirt signed by the Manchester United supporter who bought it last season in advance of that season’s change of team supported “since they were a kid”. Note you will have to go to Torquay yourself to pick it up.

Good luck everyone!

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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