1. I Know, I Know, I Know
I'm sorry. I know I really should be doing a preview for each of these games but consider this. Imagine you are a jobbing session musician and the only two offers of work you have are for either James Blunt or Robbie Williams. Do you take one of them, or retain your dignity and take up employment as the back end of a pantomime horse?
That's kind of how I feel about the prospect of writing about playing both Fulham and Portsmouth in the space of four days.
So I've decided discretion is the better part of valour and gone for a combination.
2. Jolly Nice Chaps
Let's go chronologically then. We are off to Fulham first of all, a team who despite the huge weight of evidence to the contrary appear to be on course to survive another season in the Premiership.
This is despite the fact that Fulham's central defence consists of Zat Knight and Ian Pearce. Going through their first eleven makes for a who's who of Premiership mediocrity.
All of the above notwithstanding, they have lost just three times at home this season and have the best fanzine name around - "There's Only One F In Fulham".
Given that Fulham is quite possibly the least offensive football club in the land I can't find it within myself to mock them all that much. It follows therefore, that if you look hard enough you will find that Fulham FC is actually made entirely of marshmallow.
Aren't they cute?
3. Errant Knight
Great story about Zat Knight. He was originally playing in non-league football when Kevin Keegan signed him. Keegan resigned not long after, possibly through shame, but it was later revealed that the price for signing Knight was a set of tracksuits.
I don't know about you but I think they overpaid.
It is also a little known fact about Knight that he is exactly the same height as the Eiffel Tower. Although he is not as mobile.
4. Another Tidbit
I once heard a possibly mythical story about Chris Coleman and Alan Pardew.
As you may know they were both team mates at Crystal Palace and when we played Fulham in the Cup a couple of years ago, Pardew made a comment to the effect that he could never keep up drinking with Coleman as he had, and I quote, "..hollow legs..".
It probably seemed an innocuous enough quote at the time but apparently it caused much consternation to the Fulham boss as he was still embroiled in legal action at the time over the car crash that ended his career.
Probably an urban myth but it does show how far Pardew progressed with his media skills. By the end he was making strangely out of context comments all over the place without libelling anyone. That's nice work Al.
5. The History
We have had some success at Fulham in recent years. 3 wins in a row, including a 2-1 victory last year.
However, it's a measure of our frankly offensive away form, that I would imagine Fulham fans view tomorrow as a home banker.
6. That Other Lot
Portsmouth arrive on Boxing Day, having a season that they would not have imagined possible just six months ago. Harry Redknapp is using a familiar modus operandi - filling his squad with ageing veterans on high priced contracts (sound familiar?) and relying on some fantastic home form.
Whilst I have a suspicion that Redknapp is probably being just as casual with Pompey's finances as he was with our own, it isn't likely to have quite the same effect as they are now backed by some substantial Russian finances. Which is enough to mildly anger me.
You see, I am one of those guys who sticks his hands in his pockets when the time comes to give Redknapp his ovation. My main problem was that by the end he was not replacing those players he was selling with any of a similar standard. The writing on that particular wall probably came when Rigobert Song popped up in our defence in place of Rio Ferdinand.
7. The History
We haven't played Portsmouth all that often and we have yet to beat them in 3 tries since we both returned to the Premiership. Last year saw them thump us 4-2 at Upton Park as everyone associated with West Ham had their eyes firmly fixed on our FA Cup quarter final two days later at Man City.
And let me tell you, if we play that badly again I say we cancel New Year.