Filed: Thursday, 25th September 2008
By: Preview Percy
Next up we have a short but expensive trip down by the riverside to Fulham, a strange club owned by a strange man that even the current Government deems too untrustworthy to be granted a UK passport. Fayed (The “Al” is an affectation – a bit like me calling myself “Lord” Percy – not actually illegal but a bit of a pose nevertheless) is charging us £48 quid to sit in the Putney Stand.
Those familiar with “The Cottage” (no, not you Mr Michael) will be aware that this is an edifice that has a slightly greater sense of permanence than one of those temporary stands from which fat Americans shout “In The Hole” during golf tournaments, but only just. Still, after all these years of attending matches I am pleased to announce that I finally have a ticket for the legendary row “Z” where all those shots and clearances end up. Joking apart £48 to sit in a metal stand seems more than a little steep, given that they still have season tickets on sale at £299 for the season.
Our opponents, like ourselves have started with a 100% home record and, also like ourselves have failed to pick up any points on the road. They currently lie in 11th position having played a game less than most due to having drawn Man Utd’s name out of the fixture hat for the weekend that Fergie’s mob spent in Monaco not quite contesting the so-called Super Cup which is, of course, the traditional curtain-raiser to months of moaning from Old Trafford about fixture congestion. Fulham’s two home victories to date came against an out of sorts Arsenal (1-0) and a usual standard Bolton (2-1), whilst their defeats came up at Blackburn (1-0) and at Hull (2-1). Like us they went out of the League Cup to lower league opposition in midweek – though like us their 1-0 defeat (at Burnley) featured a less than full-strength XI.
The opposition line-up will of course have a familiar look to it and there will be a number of players of whom it will be said that the face rings a bell. In front of Mark Schwarzer is likely to be a back four comprising of Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland in the middle, with ex-Hammers Paul Konchesky and John Paintsil in the fll-back positions. The latter became inexplicably popular amongst student types during his spell at the Boleyn all on the strength of a half decent 20 minute spell in the 2-1 win over Man Utd. One ex-Hammer who won’t be there is Ian Pearce, who was released at the end of last term and is playing in the Surrey South Eastern Combination for Oxted & District, where his match subs are £2.50 – half price because he is unemployed!
In the middle Zoltan Gera arrived during the close season from West Brom and is first choice on the left of a four-man midfield. Another ex-Hammer Jimmy Bullard will line up alongside Danny Murphy in the middle of the four. Murphy’s missus used to moan that she didn’t get invited to enough film premieres when the player was at Charlton. Presumably she discovered fairly quickly that even Primark don’t invite you to their store openings if you play for Tottenham and will no doubt be more than happy with the staff discount at Harrods that the Fulham squad presumably get. Simon Davies completes the four on the right.
Up front we are likely to see Bobby Zamora who seems to be enjoying the responsibility and stability the knowledge that you are first choice striker brings - his goal in the victory over Bolton was a fine strike. He will line up alongside Andy Johnson who arrived during the window from Everton with a continuing reputation for “selective instability” around the box. Getting a reputation for diving whilst playing in a city that contains Steve Gerrard must have been annoying for Johnson, who now finds himself playing just up the road from the entire Chelsea squad. “Out of the frying-pan” as they say.
Since Johnson’s recovery from the injury that delayed his debut, the aforementioned eleven would appear to have been boss Roy Hodgson’s preferred starting line-up and my research (yes I do some) suggests that the same eleven went through the whole 90 minutes without substitution up at Blackburn, a most unusual occurrence in this day and age – especially when you consider that Bullard apparently came in for some “treatment” from the home side. I guess that when you’ve had a real injury, as Bullard did a while back, you’re less likely to make a meal of stuff that isn’t as serious. Other squad members who might make an appearance include the Korean Seol, of whom recent message board comment has been less than complimentary, and American midfielder Clint Dempsey who must have a real name that he’s not sharing with us hidden away on a birth certificate somewhere at home. If he’s not selected expect to see him somewhere in the Putney Stand shouting “In The Hole”.
As for us, well it’s been an interesting week so far. The arbitration panel’s abandonment of common sense in favour of guesswork was coupled with our now traditional exit to lower league opposition in the League Cup, though to be fair a number of players were given the night off up at Watford. It’ll be interesting to see whether Zola persists with what was, for us anyway, an innovative 4-3-2-1 line-up though much, as ever, will depend upon who is actually fit and available to start. Given the side we had available last week playing in the same manner as we did for much of the game, I can see us picking up something on the road for the first time this season, though the presence of Zamora in the opposition line up line-up means that the unwritten law that states ex-players always score against us is likely to come into play. (though obviously I’d prefer to be fielding his shots from my vantage point in Row Z). We may therefore have to settle for a point so I’ll go for a 2-2 draw for this one.
Enjoy the game!
Last season: 0-1 – Solano’s late scrambled effort failed to impress the travelling support whose chants of “Too ****ing negative” left the management in no doubt how they felt.
Danger man: Jimmy Bullard is always a worry at set pieces and Bobby Zamora will have a point to prove.
Look out for: “Diddy” David Hamilton (younger readers please note he is no relation to P Diddy). Also, lost fat Americans shouting “In The Hole” and “Lord” Percy of Preview cowering under the onslaught in Row Z.
Last five KUMB.com match reports
- Fulham 0 West Ham Utd 1 (23rd February 2008): link
- West Ham Utd 2 Fulham 1 (12th January 2008): link
- West Ham Utd 3 Fulham 3 (13th January 2007): link
- West Ham Utd 2 Fulham 1 (23th January 2006): link
- Fulham 1 West Ham Utd 2 (17th September 2005): link
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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