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West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth

Filed: Friday, 17th August 2018
By: Preview Percy

He survived a weekend on Merseyside, or, should we say, Merseyside survived a weekend of Preview Percy who now turns his attention to this week's opening home match against AFC Bournemouth. Just don't get him started on their name....

So next we have our first home game of the season at which we will entertain Bournemouth & Boscome Athletic as was. They should change that name back. Back in the 1970’s, when former Hammer the late John Bond was at the helm, the “AFC” prefix he introduced sounded all continental and exciting – Bond changed the club strip to mirror that of AC Milan at the same time. However, in more recent times the use of “AFC” has become an unofficial shorthand that indicates a club following in the footsteps of a previous entity – our next League Cup opponents AFC Wimbledon probably being the first club to adopt the title on that basis. Let’s face it everyone refers to them as “Bournemouth” anyway unless it’s a pub quiz so changing the name back would be a nice nod back to the club’s history, though I suppose really it’s got sod all to do with me and I should probably mind my own business. I mean I guess they would be a bit fed up with not being top of the league every season before a ball has been kicked.

Anyway kick-off is 3pm at the Olympic and both Network Rail and TfL seem to have been taken by surprise that the season has started, there being no engineering works in the local vicinity. Just the train companies’ lousy service to worry about then.

Our opponents come to this match on the strength of an opening day win against Neil “Colin” Warnock’s Cardiff. A result that suggests a long hard season ahead for the Taffs. Hopefully. Ryan Fraser and Calum Wilson were on target for the Cherries and Wilson also had a spot-kick saved, though the “workmanlike” appearance of the victory did rely on a few saves from Begovic at one stage as the Welsh lot tried to rally.

So what did they get up to this summer? Well, as ever, I am indebted to Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile for her research in this department. First arrival was Welsh midfielder David Brooks who came in from Sheffield Hypocrisy for an undisclosed fee which Daisy suggests is £10m, possibly rising to £12m. And with a smile like that I believe her. Whatever the fee the various warring factions at Bramall Lane will be fighting over it as the civil war between the shareholders up there gets more and more heated. Couldn’t happen to a nicer club.

Meanwhile back in Bournemouth, their 12 year-old manager Eddie Howe declared himself pleased with the signing of Books pointing out that the player is “young and talented” and that he was “excited” at the player’s potential. There again at that age Howe is probably “excited” whenever a new game arrives for his PlayStation.

Having spent as little time in Sheffield as possible the Bournemouth scouting team headed off to the much less unpleasant environs of Spain. Leganes (a club based in a suburb of Madrid apparently) was the first port of call where they picked up left-back Diego Rico. Again the fee was supposedly undisclosed but again Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile has come up with the frighteningly precise figure of £10.7m. Well done Daisy!

Rico should feel right at home at Dean Court whose c12,000 capacity is similar to that of Leganes, whose ground holds something like 11,500. However, Rico did have 3 years with the slightly better known Real Zaragoza (Fact: you’d need a blank tile for that in Scrabble) whose ground, based on the premise that I have heard of them, is probably much bigger. So make of that what you will.

The third new boy was Jefferson Lerma. A club-record £25m was splashed out for the midfielder who came in from Levante (it seems that the Bournemouth scouts only had the “K-L” section of the Spanish ‘phonebook to work from). Having spent all that money on the Colombian international (he played on the left hand side of midfield in the match against England) it seems a bit odd that he hasn’t featured yet. Indeed the Physioroom website suggests that there is a problem with the player’s general level of fitness and quotes a club statement to the effect that “We need to build his fitness up as he acclimatises with the squad. There may be a period of time where the fans don’t see him”. He’s listed as “no return date” though “no start date” is probably a more accurate way of describing things. Certainly Howe was remaining silent on the chances of seeing the player this weekend.

There’s a couple of ex-Hammers in the squad. Junior Stanislas will miss out this time around – he’s a while away from a return following a knee injury. He’ll be forever remembered for the brace he notched in the infamous 3-1 League Cup defeat of Millwall – or more accurately for the goal celebrations which seemed to irk the Brains Trust that comprises their support for some reason. At the age of 28 it might be time to ditch that “Junior” name eh Felix?

The other ex-Hammer is, of course, Jermain Defoe. He would normally be a contender for the “Danger Man” slot at the bottom of the page (for those of you who get that far without losing the will to live – deputy ed) but his appearance against Cardiff came in stoppage time which suggests that he will spend more time in the racing car seats than on the pitch this season. Incidentally I will be renewing my campaign to reintroduce the death penalty for, amongst others, anyone who uses the term “impact sub”. And Piers Morgan. I mean if a manager wants to bring on a sub, at the very least he wants to run the clock down by a few seconds otherwise why bother?

Some reserve the same sort of venom for Defoe that others do for Ince. I disagree. Ince was a conniving little sod who was constantly in contact with another club’s manager whilst contracted to West Ham. Defoe was just a stupid little kid who said the wrong thing at the wrong time at the behest of people who had their own interests at heart. Big difference IMO.

The signing of Lerma marked the completion of their incoming business, something that I can tell you comes as a blessed relief after having to spend so long talking about our signings last week that I nearly missed the match. Which in retrospect might not have been a bad thing. Last week I suggested that if they didn’t get you the ref at Anfield would. I was right. It was a traditional day out on Merseyside. Outplayed and unnecessarily stitched up by a referee who simply couldn’t help himself. Having applied the “let’s play on until Liverpool get a second” law we then got on the end of the repeal of the offside law for home teams who play at Anfield that they are so fond of. It was the sort of decision that Sunday League referees give week in week out without the existence of a linesman so why, when Taylor was clearly aware of the gaffe, the goal stood lord alone knows. Incredibly in the pub afterwards one of the locals actually complained about the ref. Having been shown the still picture with the offside line drawn across the pitch his response was telling: “the first two yards don’t count -everyone knows that”. They are so used to being on the right side of bent refereeing up there when they don’t get it they cry foul.

Our scouse brain donor (tautology?) then dug himself deeper into the mire by pointing out that’, when both Wilshere and Noble had taken simultaneous blows to what commentators euphemistically refer to as “the midriff”, the ref had had the temerity to actually stop play, despite the fact that Liverpool were on the attack. I offered to illustrate the absurdity of his argument by kicking kick the berk in the orchestras to see if he was capable of carrying on the conversation but unsurprisingly my generous offer was declined.

Things didn’t get any better as the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For the Bewildered’s expeditionary party decided to visit a hostelry for a restorative tincture before catching the train home. We were denied entry to an inn by the bouncers because we had small overnight bags. Despite our offer to allow a search entry was denied. We relocated to an alternative hostelry and had a swift bite to eat in one of those chain Italian places that are good enough to fill a gap, both venues being happy to grant entry to the weary traveller seeking sustenance irrespective of luggage. Fed and watered, we happened to pass our original choice of watering hole en route to the station whereupon Matron harangued the bouncers – who couldn’t work out why their lousy boozer was so quiet when all around were busy - and pointed out that we’d visited two other venues in the time since we last met and that absolutely nothing had blown up. The moral of the story: mess with Matron at your peril.

Football-wise we got what we deserved really. We looked like a team that hadn’t really played together before, largely because we were a team that hadn’t really played together before. Notably Sanchez, the sort of player that, on form, would have improved matters in midfield had not been available for selection. He should come into contention this weekend – probably for the bench initially - along with Perez who should also be added to a squad that is complete save for the three long-term injuries of Carroll, Lanzini and Reid, though there is a slight doubt about Arnie who suffering from a minor knock.

Prediction then. Well even in the aftermath of last week’s thrashing there were a few bright spots (or straws to clutch hold of if you prefer). Anderson looked to have something about him as did Yamulenko when he came on. Fabianski made some fine saves and I thought Balbuena did ok under difficult circumstances. Some say he was lucky to stay on the pitch but given the amount of murder Milner got away with – the usual Liverpool tactic of committing serial fouls 10 yards either side of the half way line hasn’t changed since the 1970’s – he’d have been unlucky to walk. So although I’m not a fan of the concept of “free-hits” (a phrase which will soon join “impact sub” on the hit list) there was enough of a glimmer to suggest that a brighter season beckons. One thing is for sure under the new boss (and the alien ownership from Kepler 442b which I am convinced is now running the club as some sort of experiment) there should be more of an attacking intent from the team. So I’m going to go all optimistic and plump for a home win.

The £2.50 I was going to send to Bobby Madley to help with his shampoo bill now that he is unemployed will, instead, be wagered through the Winstone Turf Accountant App (when the fun stops, you start supporting Spurs) on a 2-1 win to us as the season finally kicks off.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met at the Olympic Stadium: Drew 1-1 (Premier League January 2018)

A somewhat patched-up side following a midweek cup replay against Shrewsbury featured a bench so young it contained test tube embryos. Having played some decent stuff and looking by far and away the better team we naturally went 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go, ex-Hammer Stanislas being the ungrateful culprit. We equalised virtually from the kick-off with Hernandez sticking away the rebound from a blocked shot in exactly the same way as we had envisaged him doing on a regular basis when he signed for us.

Referee: Stuart Atwell

Promoted from non-league to the Premier League with barely a few (calamitous) months in the four divisions in between at the say so of family friend and mentor Keith Hackett. Having been out of his depth at everywhere beneath the top flight and after three years of undistinguished service in the Premier League he achieved something that only four other referees have achieved since they went pro in 2001: he got demoted. However, this was only a temporary move and he was quietly allowed back in to the so-called “Select” Group in 2016. The future of refereeing is in safe hands with PGMOL isn’t it?!

Danger Man: Callum Wilson

Has a habit of scoring against us. Often assisted by being allowed to punch the ball in. While offside. With an assist from Bobby Madley who, mysteriously, has resigned from the so-called “Select Group” of referees due to a “change in personal circumstances”. There have been some pretty outlandish rumours going around out there as to the reason, including one particular rumour concerning a video which, surely, must be one of those things initially said as a joke but subsequently taken on board as fact. For the record, I for one refuse to believe that there is video in existence containing footage of Madley actually getting a decision correct. (That wooshing noise you can hear is the sound of the collective sigh of relief from the kumb lawyers, by the way).

Percy’s Poser: Last week we gave you the following incomplete headline from the Liverpool Echo:

Woman with live XXX in bath told that pest team will deal with it next week

First correct answer out of the bag came from our old friend Mrs Winifred Bursitis who correctly stated that the missing word was “Rat”. It seems that the city has a bit of a rodent problem at the moment – numbers have soared ever since KFC got their supplies of chicken restored, suggesting that the old song about dustbin restaurants up there might not be without foundation. Anyway well done Winifred!

For this week’s poser we visit the Bournemouth Daily Echo (what is it about local papers and sound reflections?) who this week had a story entitled:

Sabotage: Stone-throwing vandals damaged my XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX.

Fill in the missing words and the first correct answer out of the digital hat wins a Liverpool rat. Or ten. Thousand. (winner collects).

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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