West Ham United v Luton Town: match preview

As you can imagine, Preview Percy has a word or two to say about the events of last week. So much so we were surprised that he could fit in something to say about Luton...

Next up as we trudge our weary way towards the end of the season we play host to Luton Town. Kick-off on Saturday is at 3pm – something we can presumably look forward to a bit more of next season. There are no engineering works as far as I can tell in the immediate area. Look out for everything to be shut as soon as next season starts.

So Luton then. Well to nobody’s surprise they are currently in the relegation zone. Indeed the most surprising thing is the fact that they are still in with a chance of staying up. That is largely down to a little run over Christmas that saw them win three and draw two out of six.

However, since then they have been less fortunate. Their only win in their last 15 came in April when they beat Bournemouth at home. That game had been rearranged from December when the original fixture was abandoned following Tom Lockyear’s collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He suffered something similar in last season’s play-off final at Wembley and, whilst I’m sure he took all the medical advice given to him after the first incident seriously, he’s a very lucky chap to have survived a second such attack, and, with an onboard pacemaker-defibrillator now fitted one would have thought the wisest move might be to call it a day, perhaps.

Since that game they’ve lost 5-1 away and at home to Man City and Brentford respectively. This was followed by a a 2-1 defeat away at Wolves and, last week, a 1-1 home draw with Everton. This has left them in 18th position with 26 points with two games to play, with Fulham at home on the menu for the final game of the season.

Nottingham Forest, at present the only other team they can catch, have a three point advantage and an 11 point goal difference advantage with Chelsea at home and Burnley away to come. So very much crunch time for them.

Daisy is annoyed. Having spent most of the second half of the season with her feet up thanks to a transfer window of unprecedented quietness, we’ve finally happened across a team who have signed a few players since we last played them.

Andros Townsend arrived in October after the summer window had shut, the transfer happening by virtue of the player being a free agent following his release by Everton. Townsend had had a deal agreed with Burnley having completed a pre-season with them.

However, shortly before the start of the season Burnley withdrew their offer, leaving the player in Limbo. Luton came to his rescue, signing Townsend, initially on a short term deal until January with a longer term contract being agreed then.

Luton turned Japanese for their next signing, bringing in right-back Daiki Hashioka from Belgian outfit Sint Truiden for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £2m. He’ll be glad that they don’t have to face Manchester City again this season. He made his debut in the 6-2 FA Cup defeat to the Citizens and, when the clubs met in the league recently he was debited with an own goal in the 5-1 reverse.

They took a trip to Reading whose financial problems mean that they are easy prey to anyone with a spot of loose change to spare. And it is loose change that is believed to have constituted the combined fee for youngsters Tom Holmes and Taylan Harris. We won’t be seeing either on Saturday; Holmes was loaned straight back to the Biscuitmen whilst Harris is plying his trade for the development-level sides.

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Enough of them. And no Wild and Wacky World Of Association Football this week as, well, basically, it's all about us.

Nobody has ever accused our owners of possessing an abundance of class – one look at Mr Sullivan’s house in those lifestyle pages of the magazines you get with your Sunday paper should give you the clue there. However, the parting of the ways with Mr Moyes surely plumbs a new depth even for them.

All the stuff about “we’ll sit down and discuss at the end of the season” and “there’s a contract on the table for discussion” was never that convincing, but the constant leaks and admissions that at least two managers had been involved in talks with the club were pretty low in my opinion. But then again I suppose we should never be that surprised at the antics of our owners.

For what it’s worth, the end of this season was probably about the right time for the parting of the ways with the relationship having just about run its natural course. However, there are ways of going about these things that are right and proper.

Unfortunately, Sullivan and Brady’s combined histories suggest that “the proper way of doing things” is fairly low down their list of priorities – look at the number of times that the latter’s “newspaper” column has arguably dragged the club’s good name through the mud.

And, in similar vein, who can forget the sacking of the admittedly hapless Avram Grant in the tunnel after the match at Wigan, telling him to find his own way home. It took Scotty Parker to get him a seat on the bus.

Again for what it’s worth, I have in the past spent quite a lot of time in the presence of Mr Moyes at media briefings and, unlike certain previous incumbents of the manager role, I found him to be a decent and honest chap. Certainly a chap who deserved better than the treatment he got, irrespective of whether you wanted him in or out.

That’s an argument I’ve deliberately steered clear of in these columns given that whichever side of the debate you stood on, expressing an opinion seemed to attract abuse from those of an opposing view. It’s all got very school playground of late with the whining to teacher reaching annoying proportions.

The boss around here keeps getting “you’re only banning people from my side of the debate” - from both sides of the debate. For the record, if you’re reading this on a ban from KUMB's Forum it is not because you were Moyes In or Moyes Out - it’s probably because you called someone who disagreed with you a really rude word not suitable for printing in this column.

As for Mr Moyes himself, well I suspect that the whole thing will have come as some relief to the poor chap. His reported comments wishing the club all the best for the future showed an element of class and dignity the board could only dream of, not that they would of course.

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I shall certainly raise a glass in his direction at the appropriate moment and express thanks for the good times, in particular the first trophy since I was a teenager. Wherever you end up sir I hope you get better owners to deal with – though I suspect that won’t be difficult.

As for the shambles on Sunday, well it was like watching players who had forgotten what position they had been picked in – it wasn’t a matter of being caught out of position as such. More like they were never there in the first place. Whoever takes over from Mr Moyes will need to sort out the composition of a squad that has been terminally light in certain areas for years.

On the striker front alone we have alighted on Michail Antonio on the grounds that none of the other 50 attempts at signing a striker have worked out. Antonio has made a reasonable fist of it given that he was never a natural striker really, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a proper striker on the pitch? One that didn’t turn up at training to be asked by the manager “who are you?” for example.

It would also be nice to think that if we are forced to send out a central defensive partnership that is our sixth choice, one of them might be too young to claim a pension. Oh and if someone could mention to poor old Jarrod that the goals are 8ft tall not 8ft 4ins. He could have had another hat-trick and, if his first effort had gone in at 1-0 down it might have been a much better afternoon for the away support for whom even the usual gallows humour was getting a bit weary.

Still we can console ourselves with the fact that we aren’t Chelsea, a club whose trophies were bought with blood money from the Russian Mafia aluminium wars. The hefty points deduction they are facing next season will be fun.

I stood right next to the barrier between fans and was hilariously “offered out” by one of their teenagers who was desperately trying to grow some facial hair and, having spotted a tuft, had decided that he was going to try and act all hard. I simply laughed at him as one tends to do to Chelsea supporters as a matter of course.

However, a much larger bloke a few rows back from me seemed more inclined to take up the offer. So the kid, bless him, clearly rattled by this turn of events, decided to swap places, putting a bigger boy between him and the barrier just in case. I bet he was still hiding behind his mate on the way home. Pathetic.

On the injury front, we have the same doubts over Mavropanos and Aguerd. I’m going to press before any announcement over their fitness but I’d rather suspect that the former is more likely to appear than the latter, though a return for either would be welcome. Kalvin Phillips has a calf injury and, with him being ineligible for next weekend’s trip to Manchester, we have probably seen the last of the luckless midfielder.

So the prediction then. Well, given all that’s happened this week if there’s not a reaction the first job of the new boss will be give one or two players a Saturn 5 up the backside. Surely they’ll want to say goodbye to the boss with some sort of flourish, and, given next weekend’s opponents, this will probably be the last opportunity to do so.

So, I’m going to plump for a home win. The £2.50 that I was going to spend on a farewell (and good riddance) present for Jurgen Klopp will instead be going on us to win 3-1 once I can get down to see Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!

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When Last We Met At Home Drew 0-0 (FA Cup QF March 1994)

Well I remember going to this match and that’s about it. A look at the team details shows we fielded Ludo in goal plus 10 Englishmen, with an 11th, in Clive Allen on the bench. Allen replaced Lee Chapman in what turned out to be Allen’s last match for us before disappearing off to Millwall after a course of prophylactic injections. We lost the replay 3-2 at their place for what it’s worth.

Referee Michael Oliver

Everyone keeps saying how good he is to the extent that the most common phrase associated with him is “well we can forgive him the odd error now and again”. Nobody seems to have noticed just how often that phrase is uttered.

Danger Man: Elijah Adebeyo

Their top scorer with nine to his name this season.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser.

Last week’s poser came from the My London website:

West London council sends bailiffs to chase unpaid council tax to property owned by XXX XXXXXXX

Well done to Mrs Beatrice Armitage-Conjunctivitis of Frinton On Sea who spotted that the missing words were “the council”. Next they’ll be suing themselves for the debt.

This week we look to the Luton Today website from which this headline was nicked:

It’s the XXXXXX XXXXX – police deliver takeaway after driver nicked

Good luck everybody!

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