NUFC vs West Ham United – The Premier League (in The ‘Fourth Bottom versus Fourth Top’ Challenge).

 

Date: Saturday 17 April 2021 KO 12:30pm at a behind closed doors SJP.

 

Media: Sky Sports TV or BBC Radio Newcastle for the poor & thrifty, with highlights later on BBC MotD or the club website.

 

Attendance: Zero fans as behind closed doors due to COVID restrictions.

 

Inane Fact: The word “London” was introduced below the crossed hammers on the latest WHUFC badge to “establish the club firmly on the international stage”.  Apparently, the more minimalist approach is to give a “strong statement that is instantly West Ham United”.  Really?  It just looks empty to me, rather like their shallow bowl of a soulless stadium.

 

Football Trivia:  West Ham Untied are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 63 of 95 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including this one (now, you name the other seven?).  The club’s highest league position to date came in 1985–86, when they achieved third place in the then First Division (old money), including a 8-1 mullering of NUFC at Upton Park.

 

Preview ramblings: 

 

Well, NUFC did the job the hard way, and came from behind to beat Burnley away and provide a six-point cushion from the dreaded ’trap-door’ and drag those northern Claret & Blues closer to us.

 

I still think The Mags need to stay at least four points clear of Fulham before the last day of the season show-down at Craven Cottage, as even needing a draw that last day will be too nail-biting to imagine; and our squad and manager certainly has enough shit-housery (yes, I’m looking at you Jonjo) to re-visit that horrible ‘Duff/Villa’ moment again.

 

Despite my previous preview confidence, NUFC lost the BHA ‘six-pointer’; but Fulham’s own inadequacies still end up giving us a six point cushion at the mo.  I’m mentioning ‘the cushion’ a lot.  It is all I think about.

 

The Hammers have been very happy recently, playing fast response, attacking football and have given Jesse Lingard a new lease of life.  Better gamblers than me have been making out like bandits on his ‘Shots on Target’ per game – go 2+ at least.

 

WHUFC also have a pair of tall, affable, crew-cutted Czechs in Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal.  These two have not disappointed the East Londoners; the former looked very good on loan there at the end of last season.

 

I’ve always thought that Eastern Europe should be a good hunting ground for the kind of ‘double-hard bastard’ Bond-villain-henchmen types who could do a decent (hatchet) job in an English club’s midfield and/or defence, perhaps alongside some more silky and mercurial players from the warmer shores of the Mediterranean.  And also it should be a place to find value – so why are NUFC not scouting there? Or anywhere?

Craig Dawson has also slotted in at WHU perfectly, a player who seems to have been around for decades, but apparently is only 30 and just signed permanently after being on loan from Watford – so going ‘up’ a division on loan, which is somewhat bizarre.  Decent, reliable player – gets the odd goal, at both ends.  Good acquisition, Fulham should have nabbed him.

 

A year ago I would have described WHU as a totally unpredictable, rag-tag outfit of multinational mercenaries led by the EastEnders’ evergreen homeboy Mark Noble as long-serving captain, with a bunch of under-achieving players mainly with vowels at the end of their surnames.

 

However that would now be harsh, and wrong, as Moyesy has got a tune out of this random bundle of misfits and they are on a sweet run of form.

 

First game of the season we dispatched the Hammers quite easily, 2-0 at their place, and we saw Callum’s post-goal, broad white grin in a B/W shirt for the first time; as he thankfully got off the mark on his NUFC league debut.  That game promised plenty which was never delivered, and now 7 months later we are again at opposite ends of the table; other way though.

 

WHU’s good run has to end sometime, and perhaps somewhere surprising.  And, just like we beat Everton a second time this season whilst the Toffees were also playing well, I pray it is also time for another unpredictable ‘seasonal double’ to appear – this time over the Hammers.

Our ‘big’ players are returning, we are at home and there really is no excuse not to try and win this game and further banish thoughts of relegation.  I think we can be more expansive, but we won’t.  Perhaps it will be time to sit tight, frustrate the opponents, who like to break fast themselves, and see what we can do to them.  The ball might just sit in the centre circle, waiting for a first move.

 

However, discussing possible tactics for Bruce’s Newcastle United is like discussing what health food Neil Ruddock is about to choose – it’s just pointless and isn’t going to happen.  It’s also as inane as trying to predict the score: which will be 4-1, home win (noting we haven’t scored 4 in a game in the league this season).

 

Castle Farm Mag 

 

Un-Fun quiz:  Name the three Newcastle United goalkeepers in ‘THAT’ 8-1 Upton Park 1980s NUFC drubbing.  And, of course, the WHU player who quiztasically scored a goal against each of them.