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West Ham United v Huddersfield Town

Filed: Friday, 15th March 2019
By: Preview Percy

After last week's performance and the hike in season ticket prices you might expect Preview Percy to rather irritated and annoyed in his look at this weekend's visit of Huddersfield Town. You'd be right.....

Next we return to civilisation where we will host Huddersfield Town. Kick-off is 3pm on Saturday which is nice. Trains – yup, you’ve guessed it, anything that involves trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will not so much involve trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield as involve replacement buses between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. Check before you leave etc.

So Huddersfield then. There’s no way of sugar-coating this really. Whisper it but I think they may be in a spot of bother. With 8 games to play they are in 20th spot with 14 points. To put that into context, a maximum haul from their remaining matches would leave them on 38 points. Southampton and Burnley, the two teams immediately north of the dotted line, both have 30 points so a defeat in this match and wins for those two would see them on the verge of returning to the second tier. Sadly for them it looks like a matter of time.

Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile over whom I have been berated for not mentioning her name in recent weeks, informs me that there have been a surprisingly few 42 meetings between the clubs dating back to the first, a 2-0 away defeat in December 2019 in what used to be Division Two. Those were the days.

The lowly position of the club cost previous manager David Wagner his job, although Chairman Dean Hoyle went to great pains that, in contravention of the term’s usual euphemistic use within the confines of Association Football, the phrase “by mutual consent” in this case meant exactly that. Hoyle went straight back to Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team, from whom Wagner had been sourced, to recruit Wagner’s replacement Jan Siewert. The new boss has, if truth be told, had little effect. Even the usual minor recovery on the appointment of a new boss has been conspicuous by its absence – Since Siewert’s arrival on 21 January they have only picked up three points, all of those coming in a 1-0 defeat of Wolves at home a few weeks back. That goal was one of only three scored in the ten league matches since the turn of the year. There’s your problem.

Of course the timing of the managerial change was far from ideal from the point of view of recruitment, which is difficult enough when you’re scrabbling about near the bottom – tell us about it. The work experience girl with the beautiful smile, whose name, lest we forget, is Daisy, informs me that they did shell out a reported £2m on striker Karlan Grant who arrived from Charlton just before the window shut on 30 January. A striker, Grant has scored exactly 50% of Huddersfield’s goals since his arrival, that being his strike in the 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal. Grant had something of an interesting summer last year, getting himself arrested on suspicion of sexual assault alongside his the Charlton teammate, the improbably-named Reeco Hackett-Fairchild. The pair were released pending further investigation since when nothing has been heard from Plod Espanol as far as I can see.

The other new arrival was the loan signing of Jason Puncheon from Palace. Puncheon himself is no stranger to brushes with the law having gotten himself 210 hours of unpaid work and a £250 compensation order payable to a nightclub doorman after an altercation at Reigate’s top nitespot which has probably got some naff name like Hollywood’s or Sinatra’s or something. Who knew Reigate had a hotspot though.

And so to the wider world of football. Up at Birmingham a moron rightly got sent down for aiming what was a girly swipe at Jack Grealish, any attempt at landing something more substantial on the player, like a punch, being thwarted by the gallon of sump oil Grealish sticks on his hair.

The other big news in these arts was that, in order for our owners to provide affordable family football at the Olympic Stadium they will be putting up season ticket prices. I suppose when they (or possibly some chinless wonder from some firm of marketing consultantcy) came up with the phrase “affordable family football” nobody actually asked the question “which family?” And, certainly, nobody answered it at the time if they did. So I suppose we shouldn’t be that surprised that the answer turned out to be that the family in question was named Sullivan or Gold. Makes you wonder what the in no way handpicked or tame Official Supporters Board or whatever they are called had to say when they were consulted about it all. I mean they did consult with them didn’t they?

Even accounting for the fact that prices to tend to rise from time to time the bringing forward of the renewal deadline to what appears to be one nanosecond after the ref blows his final whistle at the end of the season. Or, if you are one of those who subscribes to the away season ticket scheme or does the finance deal, it's even earlier. At this rate you’ll have until half-time on the opening day of next season to pay for 2020-21 and those of us of advanced years are now getting to the stage where we are going to have to make a judgement call at the end of each season regarding how many matches we are likely to see before we shuffle off this mortal coil.

Still they will no doubt point to Declan Rice’s deserved call-up to proper international football and claim the increase will help keep him at the club. Which is fine – as long as they don’t claim poverty when someone big, (or Tottenham) wave a multi-zillion pound cheque in their direction. Congratulations to the lad who has said he won’t be collecting the FAI Young Player Of The Year award he has just been awarded for his performances in 2018. The lad is predictably getting all sorts of abuse from the sort of Irishman who likes to blame the English for everything and who seemingly has no memory of the systematic poaching of players from Northern Ireland over there for years.

On the pitch, well that was an unsatisfactory trip all round, wasn’t it? With Matron having worked over 100 hours last week we didn’t feel that she ought to drive the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered’s Happy Bus all the way to Wales so we decided to make her drive only as far as our Hampshire sister establishment, with the intention of getting the train the rest of the way. It should have been a nice gentle one change journey but, with Great Western only able to find a diesel multiple unit with three coaches we endured a slow painful passage to Bath whereupon even the three coaches that GWR could be arsed to supply gave up the ghost and conked out. It took three further trains to complete the journey, the penultimate of which was formed of the two coaches that Cross Country could be arsed to supply. Not that one could see much further than some obese Taffy’s armpit but I suspect that train had people clinging to the outside like those trains they insist on showing on travel documentaries.

Bizarrely, the train for the very last leg between Cardiff Central and Ninian Park Station had dozens of coaches and was practically empty. The way back was only slightly smoother with a 50-minute wait at Salisbury because nothing bloody connects with anything else anymore. We spent 10 minutes in a pub near the station which appeared to be doubling as the green room for the Jeremy Kyle show before deciding that freezing on the platform was a better option. In the meantime I have written a strongly-worded letter to that Mr Brunel about his darned railway – what’s the point of building an engineering marvel if you can only be arsed to supply three coaches which give up the ghost as soon as the rubber band is wound up?

The journey fitted in perfectly well with the game insofar as it was equally bally awful. We didn’t get started and it took forever for the players to work out that not giving the ball away would be a splendid idea. Hernandez’s dive reminded us that it is not what we want to see our players doing and the day we succumb to making excuses for that sort of thing we will have lowered ourselves to the status of the pond life that supports Liverpool. Hernandez – stop it now.

The other feature of the game that was annoying (apart from our dreadful performance) was the cynical and obvious tactic that Cardiff had of feigning injury to break up play. It got to the stage that it was used as a variation of the – “you’re coming off so go to the far side of the pitch” routine. The really irritating thing was that ref Scott acknowledged that they were taking the proverbial by gesturing at Arter to get up on the 11th occasion that a blue shirt went to ground. Arter was a bit lucky to be on the pitch in the first place given his three yellow card offences had netted him just the one caution and he might have been joined by Morrison who escaped the red card that one usually gets when one kicks a goalkeeper in the head.

In the end, the stoppages occurred so often that we had to break the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered’s golden rule which is that we always stay to the bitter end no matter how bad the match is. If we wanted to get home in time to get to the Huddersfield game we had to go early. So to summarise, the trains were rubbish, Cardiff were time wasting and rubbish and we were rubbish. Apart from that it was ok I suppose.

Injury news is that we can add Andy Carroll to the 4 long termers (Reid, Sanchez, Wilshere and Yarmolenko), his ankle playing up as it apparently is. Anyone else think we may have seen the last of Carroll? Other than that, it’s a full squad to pick from with rumour suggesting that Arnie will get a start this time out. Which leads us on to the prediction

We are rather Jekyll and Hyde at present, with the evil one turning up as soon as we leave London. There’s got to be a reaction to a performance that poor surely and, even accounting for the fact that not been at our best against lesser opposition at times this season, Cardiff and the associated post-match team meetings and inquests really should trigger something in the players.

So on this occasion it’s a home win that I will plump for. So it’s plug in the phone and locate the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When The Fun Stops Another Journo Will Be on The “Death Penalty For Football Supporters” Bandwagon) and I will place the £2.50 currently sitting in my Season Ticket Renewal Fund on a 2-0 to us scoreline.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Olympic: Won 2-0 (Premier League September 2017)

We had had the lion’s share of the play but failed to convert a number of chances with Hernandez coming closest with an effort that hit the bar when he ought to have scored. Then two goals in a few minutes with less than 20 left to play gave us the points. Obiang’s effort from distance may have been going wide but the deflection off an opponent’s back sent it looping into the net via the Hubble Space Telescope. Shortly after Ayew made it 2, poking home after Fonte’s somewhat clumsy effort off his knee from a corner had been blocked on the line. It was our first three points of the season, coming in our delayed first home game which had been delayed by the school sports being held there a few weeks previously.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Intellectually-challenged chubber whose principal advantage this week is that he isn’t Mike bloody Dean who is still on 99 career dismissals.

Danger Man: Jason Puncheon

I’ll be honest it was a struggle this week. Puncheon has been a pain in the past so gets the accolade almost by default.

Percy’s Poser:

Last time out we nicked the following from Wales Online

XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX could stop Royal Mail staff delivering post to Cardiff streets

Zero points to the joker who sent in a reply to the digital hat containing the words “bone idleness”. – I mean madam count the letters for a start.

The million points go on this occasion to Mrs Salome Polkadot-Labtechnician who knew that the missing word were “Aggressive Seagulls” adding that she “has all their albums".

Well done Salome!

This week’s poser is plucked from the Huddersfield Examiner who recently published an interview with the chairman of the Huddersfield-based Mid Yorks Chamber of commerce under the headline:

A coffee with Martin Hathaway who is well connected and would like to have a XXXXXXXXXX with XXX XXXXXX.

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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