1. First Day Jitters
The recent historical performance of these two teams on opening day is actually fairly poor. Since the 2001/02 season Charlton have lost 4 of their opening fixtures and won just 1. Their solitary victory came last year at Sunderland, which is the footballing equivalent of beating your 4 year old child at chess and probably shouldn't be counted anyway. More relevant perhaps is the 3-0 defeat at home to Man City in 2003/04 and the 4-1 reversal at Bolton a year later, but these were all "achieved" under Curbishley and one has to assume that Iain Dowie will inspire a better than average performance this time from The Addicks.
We, on the other hand, have been unsurprisingly inconsistent. 2 defeats, 2 wins and a draw since 2001/02. The best result would be last years 3-1 triumph over Blackburn and the worst, the shockingly awful 4-0 defeat at Newcastle circa Roeder. In between there was a win at Preston and a draw to Leicester to not get excited about.
In short, then, it's hard to look past a draw. Quite interesting though that one often thinks of Charlton as a fast starting, slow finishing team when this (admittedly very small) sample size suggests that they aren't THAT quick off the blocks.
2. Jimmy Will Score
The likelihood of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink not scoring against us on Saturday is so miniscule that there is no adequate comparison in the universe for me to give you. According to www.soccerbase.com JFH has played 15 games against West Ham in his career and scored 13 times. This gives him a Goals Per Game ratio of 0.8666667 and means that if he were to play all 38 of his games against West Ham he would score 33 goals. Which is a quite impressive, Andrea Silenzi type figure (look him up). I don't know why we don't just buy him and save ourselves 2 goals a year.
Of course it is not yet possible to lose a game 0.8666667 - 0 but if it came down to tottenham winning or losing a Champions League place I suspect Daniel Levy might write a strongly worded letter on the subject.
3. Nothing Good Comes Of Playing For England
I'm really not all that fussed about the English national side (mainly because they are the international equivalent of Aston Villa) but for any Hammers out there keeping score, I now make it 3 consecutive call ups injured whilst on duty with the 3 Lions.
Dean Ashton of course has had his ankle broken today by the mighty Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nigel Reo-Coker had to pull out of the pre World Cup training squad with a back injury (quite possibly sustained whilst carrying Jermaine Jenas through the warm up sessions) and aeons ago David James injured his knee against Holland before he'd even had a chance to lose his concentration in a game for us.
I'm happy to be corrected but I think that's our complete litany of woe for recent years. Of course this doesn't include Anton Ferdinand, who was injured already in the summer and thus couldn't be called up to the stand by list for Germany 2006 (thus leading to the terrifying prospect of Michael Dawson somehow appearing in a World Cup), and Robert Green who we are apparently about to buy, and who is naturally recovering from an injury sustained whilst playing for England.
In short, if McClaren comes anywhere near Chadwell Heath I suggest that Pardew turns out the lights, draws the curtains and doesn't answer the front door bell.
4. Aston Villa Takeover Bid
One day I suspect that someone will put forward a cogent argument explaining the reason for the existence of Aston Villa. Until then I shall continue to view them as the most pointless sports organization in the Universe. Not that I'm knocking them or the 6 splendid points they kindly donated to our comeback season but all in all I remain convinced that if Villa didn't fulfill a Premiership fixture nobody would notice.
By the way, if you get a minute check out the record of Randy Lerner's Cleveland Browns NFL team since they returned to the league. I, for one, am hoping for this level of success in Birmingham.
Having digressed slightly I shall finish off by pointing out that should Darren Bent play on Saturday he will be depriving us of one of the great all time reasons for missing a game. Just in case you missed it Darren allegedly nearly severed his finger this summer whilst making himself a sandwich. Now we are all aware that bread related activities are fraught with danger, but what really caught my eye about this one was that young Darren confessed to not knowing what type of sandwich he was making at the time. Now I don't know about you folks but that kind of culinary high wire walking is way beyond my level of thinking........*shakes head and walks to kitchen*.....