West Ham United v Norwich City

We have been looking into whether or not we can prorogue Preview Percy until the end of the season. While we check on the legality of it all, here is his look at this week's visit of Norwich City......

So after an eternity on the road we return to the Olympic Stadium where we will play host to Norwich City. Kick-off is at the holy hour of 3pm on Saturday. Hurrah. Trains? Well the Southend Victoria line is knackered from Shenfield to the end and buses replace trains on the C2C line between Pitsea and Grays. As ever, check before you leave.

The Canaries then. It's funny how things appear when you are not paying attention. I mean the overall impression I had was that they were enjoying a decent start to their first season back in the top flight. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I discovered that they have in fact lost two of the three games played so far and, for what little it's worth at this stage of the season, they are actually a point and three places below us at present. I guess that I had forgotten all about the 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at the start of the season and had somehow gotten it into my head that the 3-2 home defeat by Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime had been their first defeat of the season.

Inbetween those two games they beat Newcastle 3-1 which sees them sitting in 17th place with three points. Thank heavens for Daisy, the full-time personal assistant with the beautiful smile for putting me right on that one.

Their last outing saw them go down 1-0 in the League Cup at Crawley, though much like those old 1960's soul groups you see advertised as plying their trade around the various holiday camps dotted around the country, I suspect that Norwich may have contained few of the original (league) line-up.

Daisy informs me that their first signing of the window was Josep Dimic who came in on a free from Borussia Monchengladbach. His time in Monchengladbach was not a happy one. Far from prolific in his early days they shipped him out to Hamburg, which at least gave him a change of scenery in which to be far from prolific. Injury limited him to five appearances last season so it was little surprise when his contract was allowed to lapse.

They also brought in Sam Byram from our good selves. The fee was undisclosed but is believed to have been a nominal ?750,000. When Daisy told me the player had made as many as 27 appearances for us I was rather surprised. In fact the player, who didn't have the best of luck with injuries whilst with us, hadn't made a first XI appearance for us since 2017-18, having spent last season on loan at Forest. Byram started the Crawley match but has just the one sub appearance in the league thus far.

Patrick Roberts came in on loan from Man City. He has spent pretty much all of his career out on loan since his ?12m transfer from Fulham to The Citizens, the Canaries following Celtic and Girona as a temporary home. He is another whose sole appearance this term has come in the League Cup.

Whilst former Newcastle 'keeper Tim Krul is the first choice 'twixt the sticks, another it was another summer loan signing, Ralf Fahrmann who played in the Crawley match. Expect him to return to the racing car seats this weekend.

The final loan signing was Ibrahim Amadou. The Cameroon-born former French U19 international arrived from Seville on a season long loan with an option to buy. Another whose sole appearance tus far was in midweek, he can operate either in central defence of just in front of the back line as a defensive midfielder.

They have four on the injury list. The aforementioned Dimic is rated as 50-50 with a hamstring problem, whilst Cuban winger Onel Hernandez (knee) and Swiss international defender Timm Klose (also knee) are definitely out whilst there is also a major doubt over central defender Christophe Zimmerman (hip).

And so to the wild and wacky world of association football, which is a sadder place this week following the expulsion of Bury from the league. There have been accusations and counter accusations being thrown about with Club Captain Neil Danns accusing owner Steve Dale of destroying people's lives whilst Dale in return has shifted the blame onto the debts incurred by the previous owners.

Meanwhile dignity, sensitivity and good taste were just three things lacking from Sky's coverage of the whole affair. Would you believe that they actually ran a countdown clock on their Sports News channel? I wonder whose great idea that was? What next? If Rooney's missus decides to divorce the spud-faced one will they be sitting outside the divorce courts with a timer showing how long before the decree nisi becomes absolute? And why stick at football? Next time British Steel hits a problem why not send out an inanely grinning reporter to the steelworks with a massive great clock telling the workers how long they have got before they have to sign on? You could lighten the mood by playing that little jingle they use on "Countdown" over the last 30 seconds. Perhaps the graphics people could add some 1960's "Batman"-style graphics such as the word "Wham!" as a now former steelworker lamps a grinning Sky reporter for asking him how he feels?!

Meanwhile, it would be nice to think that the staff, players, pubs, suppliers and other ancillary people who face uncertain futures as result of Bury's demise might get some sort of apology out of the broadcaster, or that Ofcom might slap them with a hefty fine to be distributed amongst those about to lose their jobs. I'm not holding my breath though.

In lighter news, Newcastle beat Spurs. I have heard Spurs fans whinging that Newcastle "parked the bus" against them. That's not strictly true. Having gone 1-0 up the Magpies unfolded some deckchairs, stuck knotted hankies on their heads, slapped on some factor 50 and put their feet up with a cold drink and a copy of the Racing Post. Meanwhile Spurs seemed unable to work out a path through the deckchair maze.

Much moaning ensued over a so-called penalty that wasn't. If you watch it you will notice Kane actually changing his direction to instigate contact. Best quote of the match was that Harry Kane "finds VAR difficult to understand". Hardly a surprise really, one suspects that he probably finds the instructions on a sauce bottle "difficult to understand".

And over on Crimewatch Dean Saunders spent a night in the jug following his conviction for failing to give a sample having been pulled over on suspicion of drink driving. Apparently he was slumped against his car and slurring his words. Saunders - described by the Judge as "arrogant" - claimed that the alcohol had mixed badly with the prescription medication he is on. That's an argument with which I have some sympathy. I myself have similar problems. A mere 8 pints of Scruttocks Special Guttrembler Ale, which is my preferred beer of choice over at the Swan & Superinjunction, has a major effect on my stability and vocal skills when mixed with one of my arthritis pills.

And what of us. Well I have just watched back the recording of the Newport game. The disappointment in the Sky commentators' voice increased by the minute once he realised that the banana skin was about to be dodged. Bizarre first half in which we gave up numerous chances then ought to have gone in 2-0 up. We controlled things a lot more in the second period and in the end the little extra bit of quality told. I'm not going to get involved in hand-wringing over the performance. A well-drilled and settled team will always be able to cause problems to a theoretically better eleven comprised of relative strangers and that is what we got on Tuesday. Job done let's park that one until the next round.

Obviously, it wouldn't be us if we didn't have some sort of major injury occurring to an important player and the second Antonio pulled up lame it looked a nasty one. Obviously there is a scan result to wait for so let's hope it isn't as serious as some sources have suggested.

Otherwise the only other absentee from the squad will be Reid, the knee problem that kept Hernandez out of the squad for Newport having resolved itself.

Ok it's prediction time then. My thoughts have been slightly confused by the fact that I thought they were higher up the table than they actually are. That and the 8 pints of Scruttocks Special Guttrembler which have reacted badly with the half a paracetomol I took earlier. They have a few injury problems in a possibly suspect defence. We just have a possibly suspect defence, which suggests it won't be 0-0. Let's go optimistic this weekend then and go for a home win. I will therefore open up the Winstone Turf Accountancy App on my phone (when the fun stops Sky are probably dancing on your grave) and place the ?2.50 that I was going to contribute to the Free Dean Saunders fund on a scoreline of 3-2 to us.

Enjoy the game!


When Last We Met At The Boleyn Drew 2-2 (Premier League September 2015)

An oddly entertaining game. Sakho levelled on 33 mins after Brady had given the visitors an early lead. Ruddy made some fine saves for the Canaries who seemed to have sewn up all three when Redmond put them ahead with 7 left. Kouyate stuck away a loose ball in stoppage time to rescue a point that saw us sit in 3rd place after 7 games.

Referee: Paul Tierney

Last seen handling the 2-0 home defeat to Everton last March. In a previous fixture between the two sides he allowed a series of assaults on Payet that culminated in a challenge that saw the player sidelined for 6 months.

Danger Man: Timo Pukki
Currently knocking them in for fun, which isn't bad for a free transfer. On a high so we will have to keep him - and his suppliers - quiet.


Percy's Poser

Last week's guest publication was the South Wales Argus. We asked you to identify the missing band name from the following headline:

"XXXXXXXXXXXXX and more big names to perform in Newport this autumn"

Congratulations to Mrs Dolores Spatchcock of Herongate for correctly identifying the missing band as Showaddywaddy. Presumably the Bay City Rollers were busy that week.

We stick with the musical theme as we visit the pages of the Partridge-esque sounding North Norfolk News, from which the following missing words were removed:

"XXXXX XXXXXXX music nights score a big hit for soul and reggae fans"

Good luck everybody!


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