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Beleaguered Grant going down fighting

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Jonathan Stevenson | 07:13 UK time, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Upton Park, East London

Since he first set foot in England nearly five years ago, it has often felt as though Avram Grant has been fighting a losing battle.

In almost five years he has had spells at Portsmouth (twice), Chelsea and West Ham; five years in which he has had to deal with a seemingly never-ending stream of rumour and innuendo about his future.

But as he faced the press on Tuesday night at Upton Park, after The Hammers had taken a step towards their first appearance in a Wembley showpiece for 30 years with a Carling Cup semi-final first leg win over Birmingham, Grant finally seemed to be at peace with his unenviable situation.

Besieged by questions for most of the last two months about his supposedly imminent dismissal, Grant has, this week, had to fend off speculation that West Ham will terminate his contract as manager at a board meeting on Wednesday.

There has been no hiding place for the first Israeli manager in the English game; a man who snuck in through the back door with roles as director of football at Portsmouth and Chelsea before being catapulted into a spotlight in which he never seemed fully at ease when he replaced Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in September 2007.

Grant knew he would be asked the question yet again in the bowels of the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday, despite the manner of his team's 2-1 triumph after being reduced to 10 men early on in the second half with the score 1-1.

"I understand why you're asking," he began slowly, hands clasped in front of him.

His eyes scanned the room for an escape route from what must at times feel like his own personal adaptation of a Jean-Paul Sartre play, where hell is not just other people, but also journalists.

"However, there are seven teams in the Premier League in the same position as us, more or less, and yet I am the only one you keep asking these questions to.

"I'm not complaining against you because I know this is what you do, but you must realise I'm not the person to ask. If you want an answer about my future, you need to ask someone on the board, not me.

"I've lived with these rumours since day one at West Ham. If it was quieter, I believe it would help the players more. But I don't think about why it happens to me because I don't have time - I focus on the team and the players, that's all."

Avram Grant issues instructions to Scott Parker during the win over Birmingham - photo: Getty Images

Just as Grant thought he could get on with talking about the game, he was reeled back in with yet another question about his future. As silence fell over the media room, so a big smile appeared on his face.

"Don't worry about me. I know you worry about me, but try not to, I'll be fine," he said, breaking into laughter. "I really appreciate that you like me so much that you want me to be close to you. I like you also, by the way."

If it is an English trait to back the underdog, then few managers can have received as much support against the odds as Grant in recent years. What is most unfortunate about the seemingly imminent end to his tenure is that it looks likely to happen just as he seems to have turned West Ham's fortunes around.

Four wins and two draws from their last seven games do not immediately stand out as form dire enough for the Upton Park hierarchy to bring down an axe which has been hovering over Grant for what must seem like an eternity.

Only 11 days ago they had risen to 15th in the Premier League and were celebrating an impressive haul of seven points from three games over the festive period - a sequence which appeared to have given Grant a well-earned stay of execution.

But a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the extravagantly inconsistent Newcastle - a team that has also thrashed Aston Villa 6-0 and high-flying Sunderland 5-1 this season - appeared to make Grant's employers edgy once more.

What may have sealed Grant's fate further was his attack on director Karren Brady after she used her column in The Sun on Saturday to reveal the reasons why the Hammers pulled out of a move for Aston Villa's Steve Sidwell, who then signed for Fulham.

Grant, so used to keeping his counsel while all around him go public, did nothing to hide his fury. "All the things I have to say to the people at the club I say to them directly," he said. "We [Grant and Brady] don't have a problem but I speak with the owners. I'm dealing with the owners and that is the most important thing."

Judging by Monday's newspapers, which suggested Martin O'Neill and Sam Allardyce had already been lined up to take over from Grant, the co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, in conjunction with Brady, have already made their minds up.

It would be ludicrous to suggest the West Ham board did not want to win on Tuesday with a Wembley final and everything that goes with it at stake, but if they are going to sack Grant he has not made it easy for them.

For 45 minutes, West Ham were magnificent, pouring forward with intent and quality and forcing Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster to make several fabulous saves to keep the visitors in the tie.

When they were pegged back to 1-1 in the second half and then rocked by the foolish sending off of Victor Obinna moments later, they stiffened their sinews, pooled their collective resources and, roared on by a wonderful crowd, scored a winner against all odds to take a slender lead to St Andrew's in two weeks' time.

It was no more than they deserved, and no more than their manager deserved for staying so dignified in such testing times.

My last press conference with Grant before Tuesday was at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in May 2008, after Chelsea's shattering defeat on penalties in the Champions League final at the hands of Manchester United.

Rain-soaked, desperate and defeated that night, he was sacked three days later. It may be asking too much to hope that the fates are kinder to Grant this time around.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I feel sorry for Grant. He picked up a Chelsea team a long way off the pace in the EPL at the time, and boosted results such that they finished only just behind Man Utd. He also got them to the Champions League final, which they nearly won. His reward? The sack.

    Nobody on earth could have kept Portsmouth up, given their financial situation, and at least he got them to the FA Cup final.

    Now, West Ham are only one of many strugglers, they play good football at times, recent results have been no worse than, say, Birmingham or West Brom, and of course resources are very short - so why is Grant, seemingly alone amongst bosses in the lower reaches of the EPL, singled out for sacking speculation? It's unfair.

  • Comment number 2.

    Seems Karen has it in for Grant and is desperate to be seen to be doing something. Unfortunately for Brady, Grant has turned it around since xmas with 6 wins, 3 loses and 2 draws. Given we are only an average team how on earth a manager can be sacked after a run like that, god knows. The tactics are fine, the players all seem content and are playing for him. So what on earth does Karen expect a WHU manager to achieve? The women is totally detached from reality if she expects anyone else we have a chance of doing much better.

  • Comment number 3.

    Grant inherited a poor team and although there has been plenty of speculation the Davids haven't really spent as promised. There are some important players through the spine of West Ham's team who are just not carrying their weight. Rob Green, Matthew Upson and Calton Cole are all undobtedly more talented than their performances this season would suggest. As the more experienced players in their team, they need to look at themselves.
    (Pete loves ginger)

  • Comment number 4.

    Managers and not just grant need to be given time to stamp their mark on the team. 6 months is not long enough. While I agree with brady that signing sidwell would have been crazy we already have 13 midfielders, why did the club not stop the deal before he had a medical or before they spoke to villa and the player. Im not totally convinced about grant but it has to be pointed out that he has Inherited a squad that lets be honest has so many poor and average players that until the owners invest properly in the squad we will always be in the same situation.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with Friendlycard. Grant has actually been tremendously successful in his career considering his routes. Portsmouth was in such a dire situation, Grant was never going to change it and surely it was never expected of him.
    If Wenger or Redknapp had achieved what Cheslea achieved during Grant's time in charge there, everbody would be congratulating them on a magnificent season and a memorable time in charge. He got the sack because Abramovich epitomises the phrase banded around about club owners these days - 'a millionaires play-thing'. Even Mourinho couldnt stay and he's been the most consistent manager in Europe along with SAF for the last 3/4 years!

    I too feel for Grant. He may not be the most charasmatic but the main reason he's under so much pressure is because of the media's obsessive persual of the matter. Everywhere he goes, bloggers, reporters and column writers around the UK jump on the bandwagon. This must make it incredibly tough to manage the team and feel confident in your position which will then rub off on the squad.

    I'm afraid Jonathan that you are just another of those on the bandwagon writing what has already been written and said a thousand times by your piers. Move on, change the station and let the man get on with what he's good at because this constant wrapping on Grant is boring now and typifies the laziness in jounalism these days.

  • Comment number 6.

    And another thing - As a manager, surely the first thing you expect is that your team will help you and visa-versa. With that in mind - what the hell was Obinna thinking?

  • Comment number 7.

    "Grant finally seemed to be at peace with his unenviable situation." - I disagree. I don't think he's ever been not at peace with his situation, not in the clips that I've seen. He always answers the questions in a calm & dignified manner, and always tries to talk about the football instead of having to repeat the same answers to the same tedious questions from idiot journalists who can't resist the temptation to keep badgering him about it.

    In fact, I disagree with quite a lot of the tenor of your article. As per usual, journalists want to talk up a story & use as much dramtic hyperbole as they possibly can. I don't think the way he expressed his dissatisfaction amounts to "fury" or anything as savage as "an attack". I see that sort of thing regularly as a headline about all sorts of remarks from all sorts of people, only to find, on reading the article, that the comments were usual perfectly reasonable and reasonably expressed. But as a journalist, you can't accept that can you? It has to be labelled in some way. "Manager makes innocuous remarks" just doesn't cut it, does it? Rank bad journalism, and I'm afraid the BBC has been descending into the same gutter as Fleet Street for some years.

  • Comment number 8.

    Well said Raedwulf. Couldnt agree more.

  • Comment number 9.

    Whatever you think one thing is very impressive about Grant...

    Took Chelsea to Champions League FINAL,
    Portsmouth to FA Cup FINAL
    and now West Ham to Carling Cup FINAL, well nearly!

    this guy is a winner!... in my opinion. or is it just co-incidence whichever club he takes goes to final! im sure lot of clubs wouldn't mind taking a manager who can take them to one final, at least! lol

    never liked him personally but I seem to now liking the fighting spirit in this, only if he can turn around one of those final to victory...! well well well...

  • Comment number 10.

    To be fair - the BBC journos are pretty good on the website in generall and we all like reading the bloggs - which are, lets face it, written to incite discussion so its a little unfair to label the bloggs with the other BBC Journalism.

    Anyway - I like Grant, obviously, and hope he succeeds - the matches Ive seen in recent weeks have shown West Ham in a good light and Im sure with maybe 1 or 2 additions and some players back from injury they will be strong enough to stay up.

  • Comment number 11.

    Reading the posts, amazing the support for Grant...and I can't help but back him too. It's absolutely ridiculous how a manager can get fired after only a few months in the job. You can't re-build and develop a team overnight. A manager is just one member of the squad and yet clueless owners seem to believe that changing this one member will radically change performances. It won't...bottom line it's the same players turning up every day. West Ham and Grant need cash to spend, but the two David's are just small fry and too budget. I think my nan has got more cash under her bed.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Rob Green, Matthew Upson and Calton Cole are all undobtedly more talented than their performances this season would suggest."

    I think that's a bit harsh on Rob Green, who in many matches this season has been displaying the goalkeeping ability of someone who should be in a team sitting higher in the table. His performances against Arsenal and Liverpool in particular were very good - the manner in which Liverpool won 3-0 in the match in question was unquestionably down to Wham's unquestionably patchy defence where they ave the sometimes tenacious Upson and otherwise seem to be rather adrift (and slightly Stevie's knowledge of Green's penalty saving technique). Look at it this way: prior to the defeat at Newcastle, in the EPL Green had made 81 saves and conceded 32 goals. That's a pretty good saves/goal ratio - Petr Cech has 56/19 and Joe Hart a stunning 69/16, but other previously stalwart goalkeepers like Pepe Reina (three time winner of the golden glove, remember) has 48/27, while Van der Sar has 38/17. If nothing else, Green is clearly working the hardest.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi, I would like to say something to Chelsea. Mate, Grant went in to the finale BUT he never won anything in his life so what is the point to go in to the finale if you don't get any trophy? Even though I am a West Ham supporter and I can see that the Hammers are clearly getting better for all what we can blame are the owners. And they are behind everything. This is just money grabbing and not caring about football. I am personally behind Grant 50 percent. I think if he stay till the end of the season ( which I don't think will happen ) it could be more then 50 because he works hard and he can save us. Lets be honest here West Ham is one of the weakest teams in the league.

  • Comment number 14.

    'their first appearance in a Wembley showpiece for 30 years': OK, Cardiff isn't Wembley but we were in 'one of the greatest Cup Finals in the history of the tournament' (Wikipedia) in 2006. Not a good start to the journalism in this article. I wouldn't have appointed Grant but the man has got guts. He doesn't emote in the media-preferred sick-making way - as if Stuart Pearce-style 'passion' is all you need to win your games - but he has dignity and quiet authority that builds confidence in the world of football driven crazy by the media circus. He speaks thoughtfully and intelligently, which is a kind of voice that needs to be heard more often. West Ham used to be a club of loyalty and a manager on average every 20 years; The BBC used to be an organization with ethics and principles: 'Don't give the people what they want, give them something better'. West Ham needs to stand by its traditions of loyalty; Jonathan Stevenson might wish to stop mischievous rumour-mongering, as if Grant's dismissal was a fait accompli, which it isn't, but which becomes so with this kind of headless chicken reportage. I thought journalism was about facts.

  • Comment number 15.

    The new owners, Brady, Sullivan and Co are not being sincere with the supporters. At every opportunity they moan about the club's financial situation, about the players, about the manager, its everybody except themselves.

    They were aware of the club's financial situation before investing. If it was not thought to be a good venture, they would never have made the purchase. I don't believe the hype that they were life long supporters. It was a purely a business decision. On the longer term, they would benefit more from the club's goodwill.

    Looking back, Alan Curbishley laid the foundation for today's rut with his irresponsible management and signing players that eventually became liabilities to the club. And he was paid off handsomely that he doesn't even need to work for the rest of his lives. Rather he should be charged for taking the club into financial distress

    What qualities have Sullivan and Co brought to the club. They rather prefer to manage the club on pages of newspapers, slagging off the players/managers. They should be taken to the employment tribunal for making it difficult for players/manager tp perform their duties.

    Just get on with the job. support your players/maanger.

  • Comment number 16.

    Grant should stay and big mouth Brady should go.

  • Comment number 17.

    Sam Allardyce - Real Madrid's next manager - and Martin O'Neill - who stropped out of Aston Vlla after they failed to give him more money. Are these really the answer to WHUFC's problems? Not in my opinion although arguably Big Sam knows how to keep a rubbish team up as he did with Bolton.

    I think the board and the journos should give him a break. Yes, West Ham have played some real rubbish football this season, but now the results are flowing the last thing we need is the David's shaking everything up again.

  • Comment number 18.

    I had incredibly low expectations for this season. We were barely good enough last season and the transfer dealings in the summer didn't suggest we were going places. Both the board and Grant have made mistakes. The transfer window closed and we still had only Ilunga at left back, who is maddeningly inconsistent at best. We committed 8m to the signings of Reid and Barrera, neither of whom have been convincing. However, with a rolling, ever-changing cast of players on the treatment table, we've not had a settled side. Still, there are massive plus points this season and I think that is why Grant is still our manager. Part of the brief was working with our young players and he's been a massive success thus far. Tomkins was a mess last season and seemed to really suffer under Zola. Now, he's completely revitalised and growing with every match. Likewise, Stanislas has bounced back and Freddie Sears has been transformed and has flourished on the right.

    I know there's a clamour for Avram to go but, ultimately, if we add Wayne Bridge, another forward and get a couple of players back from injury, we're as good as the whole gaggle of terrible sides polluting the bottom of the table.

  • Comment number 19.

    Sidwell was probably being lined up as an experienced replacement for Parker, who's been linked to Spurs for the last 6 months. Brady & the Davids weren't going to tell the fans how close they were (are?) to selling WH's best-performing player, were they? As whufc1985 said, why let Sidwell get as far as the medical?

  • Comment number 20.

    I have nothing but the highest of respect for Avram Grant, I think he is a good manager and good enough to keep West Ham up and as for his boring personallity Im sure I seen him have an attempt at the cross bar challenge on Soccer AM once so he has got some charachter somewhere.

    for my full thoughts I worte a blog on Avram Grant a few weeks ago now have a look see what you thik

  • Comment number 21.

    stevo, you and your media colleagues won't be satisfied until your columns bring down Avram Grant. It is in your nature to put the downfall of a manager at the feet of the tabloids, but you are just as guilty of forcing the issue - how else would you earn a living.
    When Grant is sacked you will then report on the unfairness of it all, write more column inches, put the blame on someone else and assume the position of an innocent bystander......

  • Comment number 22.

    As a life long West Ham fan it's brilliant to see them in a semi final of a cup with an extremely good chance of progressing. However is Grant the man to take our club forward, I don't think so.
    People talk about average players, but the spine of our team with the exeption of Scotty Parker are underperforming, and this has to be down to management. A manager should have the ability to get the most out of the players all of the time, we all understand they have odd off week, but an off season! The same can be said for some of the fringe players.
    Agreed not all down to management, the players alo have to take some responsability.
    What is going with our 4 year long injury crisis? are training techniques/facilitys to blame?
    If Grant is to stay i would like to see him show some emotion on the sidelines, at least then the players and fans may see that he does care!

  • Comment number 23.

    In contrast to a lot of other fans who've posted I've never rated Grant.

    He took Mourinho's team and yes took them to the Champions league final which they lost on penalties. However, this was a strong team and squad having been assembled over the last few years. Grant didn't need to do a lot with it.

    He then went to Portsmouth. Yes they had massive problems and were odds on to be relegated particularly in the second half of the season once things started to go massively wrong, but throughout the season they were deep in relegation trouble. Yes he managed to get them to the FA Cup final, but to me they seemed to produce better, more motivated and better tactical displays in the FA Cup than in any of their league matches - why on earth was this??

    He then joined West Ham. Despite them having stayed up the previous season under Zola, he's made them worse and guided West ham to their worst ever start in the premier league. Yes they have gotten to the semi finals of the Carling Cup - but they'll now have to go to St Andrew's with just a one goal lead, having just gotten away with a win last night (West Ham fully deserved the lead based on the first half, but Birmingham were by far better in the second). Grant's spent the vast majority of his time at West Ham in the relegation zone - is it perhaps just 2 weeks that they haven't? - and he spent the entire calender year 2010 in the bottom 3. Indeed despite his team's good form over Christmas, after one loss they've still gone back to bottom of the league - that's how bad they were!

  • Comment number 24.

    There is an appetite in the media to go for the kill with certain managers and they seldom let up until they've got their man. Now Roy Hodgson's gone at Liverpool, Avram Grant is the next easy target. It is a form of bullying and is becoming a trait in this country after an appetite was fed by shows like Big Brother, X-Factor and dare I say it 'The Apprentice' featuring one Karen Brady. On that she seemed to know what she was talking about but she's not on the show anymore and public spats will only harm the club. Surely she has enough on her media courting plate with the Olympic Stadium bid? As for Avram, as I say the media hounds have smelt blood, but as he says don't worry about him as his pay-off will be tide him over.

  • Comment number 25.

    Grant has always handled himself with the upmost diginty when questioned about anything.
    Karen Brady would be better off concentrating on her job at West Ham rather than writing inflamatory drivel in a sensationalist tabloid!!!
    If I was in Gold and Sullivans position I would be questioning her future at WHU

  • Comment number 26.

    If West Ham's owners fail to appreciate the ability, knowledge, experience and honesty of Avram Grant, they will find that there are scores of other club owners who do, both here and abroad.

    Avram can clearly be seen to be improving results and unifying the squad, in spite of not having had much financial support as yet and in spite of a spate of injuries which has severely limited his team choices.

    Through all this, he has behaved with the calmness and dignity that has come to be associated with him. Those who say he lacks passion and charisma are wrong. This man is a professional and will not leap around like a demented schoolkid every time his team scores or, on the other hand, every time a decision goes against him. But for those who really look, his passion and determination are there all right. He is a consumate battler with a steely determination to succeed.

    Given enough time, he will restore West Ham's fortunes and then take them further on. It is long overdue for West Ham's owners to show that they appreciate what they have got in this manager and to unequivocally back him to the hilt in every way. If Karen Brady doesn't like this, the answer is screamingly obvious. I wonder how many would be in a queue for her services.

    So, Sullivan and Gold, show some bottle and back your man - not half heartedly but fully and completely. You don't seem to realise how lucky you are to have him.

  • Comment number 27.

    It's not the spine of the team though. Defensively, we're let down by the age-old West Ham problem of forgetting about the full backs. Upson, Tomkins and Da Costa have all looked pretty good this season when we've had the right players at full back. Jacobsen and Gabbidon have proved the best performers there and with Bridge coming in and Jacobsen recovering from injury, we should have a more secure back four. It also helps that our wide midfielders are now doing their job defensively. Upson has disappointed because he's been overrun. Even Parker has seen games completely slip away from him because other players aren't doing it. If we're going to resort to cliche, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This season, there have been many weak links and it doesn't matter how strong the other links are, especially in positions so exposed as centre back.

  • Comment number 28.

    Watched a documentary about him a few years back. Quite a humble chap really, had a tough up bringing in the aftermath of the holocaust. I didn't really find much to dislike about him at all. I suspect many people share your view of not really liking him but I think you would change your mind with a little back ground info. on his life
    His wife on the other hand though has done some questionable things!

  • Comment number 29.

    i like him too.

  • Comment number 30.

    25. Suffolkgold:

    "Grant has always handled himself with the upmost diginty when questioned about anything.
    Karen Brady would be better off concentrating on her job at West Ham rather than writing inflamatory drivel in a sensationalist tabloid!!!
    If I was in Gold and Sullivans position I would be questioning her future at WHU"

    Spot on. The Davids cannot be blamed for the club's financial woes, which they inherited from the previous owners. But they should get right behind Grant, especially now that results have picked up and WHU are grinding out points on a regular basis, and often playing watchable football at the same time.

    As for the media, there are at least six other clubs at similar or greater risk of relegation - why pick on Grant?

  • Comment number 31.

    I don't think that Grant is really a poor manager and it is well documented that he was a post's width away from being a Champs League winner but I don't think it is working at Upton Park. If you need to play Jonathon Spector off your striker as the creative force then something is wrong.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a Hammers fan I am confused on the issue TBH.

    Seeing the team sheet last night with Upson at LB and Spector as support striker I was thinking the guy is crazy, but then we play excellent in the first half. The 2nd half starts and we play like we have Upson at LB and Spector as support striker.....

    Its highlights an issue that we have seen before having a good first half and then a terrible second, does this speak to an issue with man management...

    It the inconsistency that really confuses me we had a positive Xmas then gets hammers 5-0 WHY. The cups we have been much better than in the league WHY.

    We could still end the season in the PL and with a cup.

    The one thing I am not confused about is I don't want BIG (mf are there to look at the ball as it flies over their head) SAM, Parker is our best player and he would never get to touch the ball.

  • Comment number 33.

    As an ex-pat living in Israel I am constantly surrounded by media coverage of Avram Grant, both positive and negative. He is almost always back page news, and West Ham games are usually televised. Israelis seem genuinely interested in how one of their own is faring in possibly the highest profile league in the world. This is not to say that every Israeli has suddenly become a West Ham fan, but more to do with what Grant is doing for Israel and for the profile of the game both inside and outside of Israel. Israel is certainly not famous for it's football on either a national or an international level, but Israelis are certainly football mad, and in my experience some of the most knowledgeable fans I have encountered (about all the big European leagues, not just the Premier League). This has made me wonder why we British are generally so unsupportive of our own managers who take the plunge to try and ply their trade overseas. Such managers are treated with at best apathy and at worst scorn. Steve McLaren immediately springs to mind.

  • Comment number 34.

    been saying for about 3 months that grant needs to go - with problems of team organisation, motivation, tactics and most frustratingly of all closing down.

    but the longer they wait the more i'm inclined to keep him. the team, obinna aside, showed more spirit yesterday than we've seen for them all season - and there comes a point where it's too late to get rid and you just have to stick with him.

    also i'd feel uneasy about what big sam would bring. survival maybe but i wouldn't be all that keen watching them, more excited about going to the ground even with avram

  • Comment number 35.

    I think this article is so unfair it borders on scandle. I have never liked Grant since he arrived on these shores but what I do like is the way this man moulds a team that can win. He is now taking those lazy lofers at West Ham into a half decent team. The team is readying it's self for greater glories but if he is thrown to the Wolves then West Ham will follow him. What I can't understand is why do the managers allways take the blame for a poor run. Is it not the players that must take some of the blame,after all it's them that kick the ball. The owners and especially the board has a big play in matters as well, why are'nt the board sacked first. It take's quite a while to mould a team into playing the way the manager wants. 6 months is certainly not long enough .Why can't the managers take the owners to court for unfair dismissal when they are sacked on a whim. Football is a fickle game and every team must suffer it's up's and down's, and it takes more than 6 months to get out of the down's. Maybe it's time to cap the players wagers to a more realistic figure. Those players that are just not pulling their weight must suffer a significant pay cut. It's loosing money that makes a player more focust.So I say to the owners of all the teams instead of sacking managers willy nilly step up to the bar and take some blame yourself.
    M. Charlton

  • Comment number 36.

    "If you need to play Jonathon Spector off your striker as the creative force then something is wrong."

    Er, didn't he set up the winner? Not to mention score twice from midfield in the previous round.

    Just shows how Mr Grant knows what he is doing, in finding a creative solution to a lack of bodies in key positions.

    Results are improving, apart from a poor performance at a St James' Park where numerous other teams come unstuck. The players seem to trust and respect him. . . shouldn't everyone else just let them get on with it?

  • Comment number 37.

    mpk87 - I think it's a bit of a special case with Steve McClaren don't you?

    Also, as a West Ham fan, I think they're almost starting to come together, and despite the Newcastle result, which was disappointing to say the least, this result and the results over the Christmas period should give them some confidence on which to build.

    I'd just like to point out that for all the plaudits that Parker receives, and it has to be said he is a great player, Noble is showing some class this season and should get some recognition. A possible England prospect? Well if Parker hasn't been noticed yet, then surely Noble won't be either...

  • Comment number 38.

    Has Carlton Cole ever played up to his potential? Grant has inherited a poor squad and has no money. Part of the problem with Grant though, is that he always looks like his dog has just been run over, like Gordon Brown on tranquilisers.

    IMO Cole seems to be one of the most inconsistent and overrated players in the premiership.

    I've never understood why managers keep faith with such players when you could put any non league striker up front and he would probably score more goals.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am not an Avram man. His recent run of results aside this has been the worst season I've ever seen for the Hammers. But.... I don't think the guy should be sacked after half a season in charge, and any blame on results should be squared between the players and the manager. It always amazes me how fickle the nature of football management has become, with the notion that 'management' now only seems to mean squad selection and tactics, with less and less empowerment over the buying and selling. The 'Davids', whilst complaining about things to a degree (although the Brady article at the weekend was both saddening and hilarious in equal measure) have got to appreciate that the club is more than just the financial statistics they based their decision to buy the club on. We were promised investment in players etc.. Do we have scouts who go and watch players in lower leagues etc as other teams seem to? Is the Academy likely to spit out some world class players again anytime soon? Will the appointment of the defensive coach actually develop a coherent defence... ever??

    Keep Grant, give him the say on players to buy and to sell. Keep the promise that West Ham won't become a 'selling team'. And apportion any blame according to how you judge the 'professionalism' of the players.... Obinna, what were you thinking???

  • Comment number 40.

    Stevo mate, it wasn't the sending off that was foolish it was Obinna's behavior

  • Comment number 41.

    I am not Grant's biggest fan either; but if you look at the team's (all competition) record since losing their fourth consecutive league game of the season it is actually pretty reasonable.I think it's Played 24, W 10, D 8, L 6.

    Ok you can't ignore the first four games but overall they have played (typically West Ham like----sometimes the best team on the planet; and then the worst!!

  • Comment number 42.

    As a chelsea fan, i couldn't wait for him to leave, despite what he did for us. Boring press conferences, boring post match interviews and just his gloomy aura in general, which were made worse by the fact that we had Mourinho before him. can't imagine him inspiring the players either

  • Comment number 43.

    i think people are a bit harsh on this man here, give him a break!

  • Comment number 44.

    Just to rectify my stats at No 41:

    It's Played 23, W 9, D 8, L 6 (and of the wins only one (Barnsley) is against a non premier league team.

  • Comment number 45.

    I get the feeling that one of the big boys will be relegated this season. Who im not sure. Thats how tight things are at the bottom. So i dont think it would be detrimental to sack Grant now when he seems to be turning things around. But since Hughton was unfairly dismissed as well the boards have gone crazy this season. But i hope some rationality prevails.

  • Comment number 46.

    "42. At 12:47pm on 12 Jan 2011, messien wrote:

    As a chelsea fan, i couldn't wait for him to leave, despite what he did for us. Boring press conferences, boring post match interviews and just his gloomy aura in general, which were made worse by the fact that we had Mourinho before him. can't imagine him inspiring the players either"

    You sum up Chelsea fans and why your team aren't competing at the moment - you value style over substance.

  • Comment number 47.

    Despite the despicable, constant hounding and speculation from the same old gutter press individuals, Avram Grant has conducted himself impecably yet again. He recieved the same treatment when he was at Chelsea and to a lesser extent at Portsmouth.
    I have much respect for Mr Grant, affectionatley known as 'Uncle Avram' at Portsmouth.
    He does not deserve the treatment he has been recieving from certain corners of the press. In addition he has not been given the support by the board in the transfer market to make West Ham's squad strong enough to survive.
    I dont think it's fair to use Chelsea as an example, due to the owners interference, but Avram Grant deserves the opportunity to manage a team where he gets proper support from the owner to build his own squad and work with them for long enough to get them performing the way he wants them to.

  • Comment number 48.

    You don't get to a Champions League final and an FA Cup final without being a good manager.

    The most telling stats in the Premier League for the 2009/2010 season was the correlation between a club's final points total and the size of their wage bill. Managers do obviously make a difference but they can only do so much until clubs spend more to increase the quality of their players. If West Ham's board back Grant in this transfer window to improve the calibre of the squad they will see the results, if not the outlook is not good for a club.

    I agree with other comments in this thread that Grant hasn't been given enough time to make an impact at West Ham. There is good evidence that stability off field brings good results on it. Look at Newcastle's recent history and compare it with that of Everton under Moyes, Sunderland under Bruce or Fulham when they were under Hodgson.

    It would be good to see a board properly back their manager for once rather just pandering to the media who are baying for blood so they can fill their papers.

  • Comment number 49.

    As a neutral looking in to me Grant has done an excellent job. It always amuses me how some fans think that a change of manager can suddenly somehow tranform a team as if by magic. It's still the same players on the pitch after all, and if they aren't good enough or motivated enough to play for the shirt in the first place then that says more about the player than the manager and gives no great guarantee that they won't do the same for the next man.

    Similarly, how can a manager be blamed if a player has a bad game and losses them the match as could easily have happened with the sending off against Birmingham? It's not like he can plan or legislate for that ... it doesn't make him a bad manager, just the fact that players are human and have off games. I mean nobody expected West Ham to stuff Man Utd in an earlier round and they did ... but there wasn't an outroar to sack SAF.

    Seems to me that with the modern game as with modern life everything is about the now. Show patience and if after a year things haven't improved, then move him on

  • Comment number 50.

    Great to see so much support for Grant; the guy is doing the best he can with limited resources, a squad of average players who are not pulling their weight, and a very opinionated board who cannot help but undermine him at every opportunity!

    Very frustrating to see the team propping up the rest of the league every week but save for one or two notable exceptions our performances this season have not been as bad as our position suggests, however since the addition of Wally Downes to the coaching staff (and possibly due to Avram's lucky scarf) we have started to pickup the results we're going to need to stay up. The cup run has been great but please we need to focus on winning league games, living in the northeast I have vivid memories of Middlesbrough losing TWO cup finals and getting relegated in the same season and don't want to see the same happen with West Ham.

  • Comment number 51.

    You have to look at it from the owners perspective. They probably have quite a lot of faith in Grant, but it's all about avoiding relegation. West Ham aren't Wolves who are used to frequent switching between the Premier League and the Champions League. The financial consequences of dropping are huge, and it's not always that easy to get back up the next time around, being that you usually lose your top players. Premier League owners tend to get a little desperate at this time of the season when their clubs are in the bottom three. The bottom of the bottom three is panic stations, and it really doesn't make that much difference how well you might be progressing in a cup competition. The hope is that you can bring in a new coach who can incentivize players.

  • Comment number 52.

    Poor buys in the Summer Obinha, Piquionne, Barrera, Jackobson, Tal Ben Haim, simply not good enough or better than Franco, Di Michele from last season. Failed to spot that we have no full backs, and only one Centre Half of Premier league quality. Failed to realise that we have no natural width on the left. He bought five players that failed to fill any position adequately. Tactically rubbish in many games. Failed to turn up with any idea in most away games especially Liverpool and Newcastle results. Played one man up front in too many home games. Failed to connect with the crowed. On the above facts, suggest that a manager who is bottom of the league two Christmas's running desearves the sack.

  • Comment number 53.

    For starters, West Ham need to offload Kieron Dyer this month - this guy has been like a walking hospital ever since his rediculous attempt to prove his fitness for the 2002 England World Cup squad. He symbolises the deadwood at Upton Park, and he should have been medically retired from the game 5 years ago!

    I think Avram Grant should be given more time to prove his worth - with a few astute signings and some of the long-term injured finally regaining fitness, the situation is quite likely to dramatically improve during the second half of the season.

  • Comment number 54.

    @TB #3.....Sorry, but when did the David's ever say they were going to spend their way out of trouble? The fact is this club was 100+ million in debt when they took over, some people need continually reminding of this and a complete reality check. They need to get the business side sorted, as well as try and keep the club in the PL for the TV money, it's a MASSIVE juggling act.

    AG is fine, he just needs more time, I can't believe the amount of people who are completely fazed by the UK Media when it comes to football, 99% of the stories are made up or never materialise.

    Can anyone show me a direct link/quote from the club/board to AG getting a 3 game stay of execution? Anyone?..............or perhaps the 2 game one? Anyone?

  • Comment number 55.

    as a Brazilian used to 3 managers per year on average, I'm quite surprised with the recent trend of manager sacking in England. although I understand Blackburn's case (owners who know little to nothing about football), I don't see West Ham having much better players than the other clubs figthing for relegation, nor I see them playing much worse right now. I agree with #48 regarding transfers, in my very humble opinion I think sticking to Grant and spending some money would be wiser than sacking him and getting a new coach that except for a new motivation wouldn't bring much IMO (given the current options).

  • Comment number 56.

    In context, West Ham are only 8 points behind 8th place in the Premier League. This season is extremely close, there are maybe 12 teams who could quite possibly end up in the relegation places. I speak as a SWFC fan who surely couldn't get relegated....

    To be honest it seems to be a bit of a lottery this year as to who goes down, there are no rank cannon fodder teams this season as in years gone by, also teams like Wigan and Wolves who keep getting sucked in keep getting results. Other teams are inconsistent, ie Newcastle and West Brom. IMO, for all of the plaudits, teams like Blackpool and West Brom may well get sucked back in as they start to get vertigo. Playing well is one thing, getting results is another (like Man U...).

    The end of this season will likely be a real nailbiter.

  • Comment number 57.

    How is sacking Grant going to improve anything? Even the most optimistic of fans has to acknowledge that West Ham are poor. The league is very tight with a number of clubs of similar ability. It seems rather insulting not to say disrespectful to somehow assume that they deserve to stay in the league anymore than Wolves, Fulham, West Brom or the host of other clubs down near the bottom. As proved a few good results lift you up and the only way to do that is to stick with the manager.

    Ultimately if West Ham to go down, it will be because other teams have performed better over the season ... it isn't the end of the world if they do and West Ham will bounce back. Stability is the way to improve and develop a team year-on-year.

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.

    TomorrowsDream wrote:
    Sidwell was probably being lined up as an experienced replacement for Parker, who's been linked to Spurs for the last 6 months. Brady & the Davids weren't going to tell the fans how close they were (are?) to selling WH's best-performing player, were they? As whufc1985 said, why let Sidwell get as far as the medical?

    Close...but you chose the wrong player. The one who was on the verge of an exit (and still is to be fair), who Sidwell was lined up to replace in the squad, is Behrami. He has a homesick family who've been desperate to move back to Italy for over a year now.

    So the Parker conspiracy theories can be put on the backburner again.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm no fan of Avram Grant, but he has been treated very badly all round. Hodgson's Liverpool experience raises the same issues.

    I think the press behave dismally in these cases - bleating about management turnover, decrying the state of things and yet incessantly asking those questions. The thin cover or prefixing the questions with "The fans want to know ...". Well yes, but resorting to the trashiest of questions to get a quick headline is part of the problem, not a noble example of the press digging out information on our behalf.

  • Comment number 61.

    Got rid of Hodgson, so now it's the next manager on the line. Pathetic media.

    Climb into managers, who carry with them the last fragments of what football is supposed to be about, and fawn over the over-paid, under appreciative players who 75% of the time seem to be finished by the age of 27 and content to just mill about at mid table premiership clubs picking up healthy wages.

    It's utterly pathetic how much things are weighted against managers when you consider the ridiculous hype that surrounds players.

  • Comment number 62.

    Agree totatlly ... it would be nice if for once the media, board and fans actually blamed some of there overpaid and unmotivated players for getting them in the mess rather than the manager. Amazing how it's always the managers fault and there seems a complete lack of accountability with the players. In any other walk of life you do a bad job and you get sacked ... the manager doesn't get shown the door if you ain't pulling your weight

  • Comment number 63.

    Grant has won four out of West Ham's last seven games. Hes got them in reach of the Carlig Cup trophy, and they remain competiors in the FA Cup. These are facts and must remembered. For a club like West Ham (with all due respect), these are respectable accomplishments and should be seen as a. OK position to be in!. He has just won the first leg of an important Semi-Final! Altogether, is it really the right decision to sack Grant?! At this current moment??!! No, its not. I don't think West Ham would find themselves in a much better position. Good luck Avram, you'll need it.

  • Comment number 64.

    54. At 1:45pm on 12 Jan 2011, In Zola We Trusted - Next Up The Undertaker

    Can anyone show me a direct link/quote from the club/board to AG getting a 3 game stay of execution? Anyone?..............or perhaps the 2 game one? Anyone?


    I couldn't agree more, it's utterly made up, chinese whispers at best?

    Jonathan why do your colleagues in the media write stories they know not to be 100% true?

    15 years ago football journalists wrote about football - principally match reports. This was often the only one could read about a match that wasn't on live TV or radio. Journalists provided insight. All was well.

    In the last 15 years the coverage of football has changed beyond all recognition. The internet has revolutionised how the public consume sports news- we can now watch highlights of any EPL game with the click of a mouse. 24 hour rolling sports news channels and as SKY boldly tell us each season the most live games EVER! The enormous choice of websites about football , not to mention extensive club sites.

    All this creates a huge problem for sports journalists. Its no longer enough to write about match events and they incapable of writing about tactics as few have technical understanding of football.

    Hence a once noble profession has declined into a gossip and personality witch hunt (exactly what has happened with AG)

    So much so that these journalists fail to notice the irony of them lining up to write blogs or appear on Sky's Sunday Supplement to cry foul at the lack of time managers are given after the dismissal of Hodgson.

    Who spent 2 months writing unbased poison about said man? The very same journalists....

  • Comment number 65.

    The media need to ask themselves a question - why are there so few candidates for the England job? Answer: you berks have driven them out of employment so soon into their careers. Instead of chasing the real stories of irresponsible owners putting too much risk on staying in the premiership, you go for the lowest common denominator. "Oh it has to be the manager's fault"

    You'll turn around and say that you have to come up with something cos there's a deadline to meet, well maybe that should tell you that there isn't much news in football apart from what happens on the pitch. Stick to commenting on games and form. Stop trying to burn managers, as it only pushes English football further and further back.

    I remember when Dowie was sacked from Charlton in November one season, and there was outcry "what's the owner thinking, so soon into a job?" and now it's the norm.

  • Comment number 66.

    He is a Technical Director and NOT a manager, else he wouldn't employ specialist coaches in all areas. He will be employing a Managerial coach before too long!!

  • Comment number 67.

    I still expect Grant to be sacked from West ham

    It will be excellent if West ham reach the Final and even win the Carling Cup.

    But West ham's main priority is to stay in the premier league this season and on current league it will not happen.

    If West ham are sill bottom of table by the end of this month. I expect Grant to be sacked and a manager like Hodgson or Allardyce to be new manager at West ham

  • Comment number 68.

    I appreciate that these blogs are written to provoke discussion but comments #28 and #33 provide more insight than the article itself! As has been mentioned earlier more bandwagoning here. The owners’ comments have contributed to this too though no doubt. As recent results will tell you the guy has been doing reasonably well (Newcastle apart) so back him! I'd rather keep him and than get the double glazing salesman from Lancashire in!

  • Comment number 69.

    So if West Ham are bottom at the end of the month ... exactly how would bringing in Hodgson or Allardyce help ? With a lot of these sacking ... when a new manager comes in and results improve, I often wonder whether the same upturn would have happened if the previous manager had simply stayed and been given more time. My view is that the improvement in performances would have likely happened anyway .. since football is about players and form is something that fluctuates widely whatever the player or team. Look at the dramatic fall of Rooney, you could blame SAF perhapes but how would replacing him have made Rooney play better?

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm not a massive fan of Grant but there are a couple of interesting points about this story:

    One is an issue he raised himself: that being, why aren't the vultures circling round Martinez, Di Matteo, McCarthy, McLeish, Hughes? Take a look at the league table.

    The second point is that the real villains are Sullivan and Brady.

    Sullivan, in particular, came in over a year ago, full of bravado and full of digs at the previous regime. You couldn't turn on a radio or TV without hearing his smug little (non Cockney) voice with that sour old witch Brady lurking in the wings.

    Over a year on, what have they delivered? Nothing. Are we any better off? No. Are we actually worse off? Very possibly.

    Grant has his flaws but he is just the poor bloke who has been pushed forwards to front the clown show that is Sullivan and Brady.

  • Comment number 71.

    Give him time. He's won bloody 4 games out of 5 I think. Give him more time and chance to improve the squad this Jan.

    His job isnt helped by having one of the most laziest overrated strikers around. No not Benni Mccarthy but Carlton Cole.

    He only scored two goals in a single game for the first time a few weeks ago. Sums it all up about him.

  • Comment number 72.

    I do not envy Grant, or anyone at West Ham for that matter, having to deal with Karren Brady. She was a Class A b**ch during her time at Brimingham City, and has certainly not improved with age.

    These off-field distractions, including those emanating from the 'Mutt and Jeff' of English football (Messrs. Gold and Sullivan) must make life very uncomfortable for all and sundry at Upton Park.

    If allowed to continue, with active support insteady of constant backstabbing, Grant can keep West Ham in the EPL this year, and look for bigger and better things next season.

  • Comment number 73.

    70. At 3:08pm on 12 Jan 2011, nlhammer wrote:

    He's too nice a guy. They wouldnt dare pick on someone like Mccarthy who'd tell them where to go with their mindless boring "Are you in fear of your job" questions every single press conference.

    The man has a right to do his job without being wound up by young London journos who have nothing better to do than to pick on the little guy in town.

    That includes YOU, BBC. Lay off the guy.

  • Comment number 74.

    You can't blame the media and BBC too much, all it takes is for someone in the board to stand up to be counted and give there support to Grant. There silence speaks volumes.

  • Comment number 75.

    He is in the five years he has been around in England, one of the most successful managers in terms of placings in competitions...... European Cup final, FA cup final, a couple of semis........he can't be that bad.

  • Comment number 76.

    nlhammer, Mr Chelsea, I agree. There's 2 points separating the bottom 7 clubs however WHU are leagues apart in terms of column inches of drivel churned out by lazy journalists. How about an article/discussion on how spectacularly badly Houllier is doing at Villa?

  • Comment number 77.

    Imagine using the line 'we're only one point behind Wigan' as a defence!!

    Classic! The man knows stuff all about management, but he's got a great line in dry wit.

  • Comment number 78.

    chud83 - you're right, but as any fan of a club outside London (Man Utd aside) will tell you, frankly your club could start selling nuclear warheads to kids with their match programmes and the media will still ignore it in favour of reporting on the latest person to walk across Arsenal's car park or to eat a pie at Stamford Bridge.

  • Comment number 79.

    i ave watched every whu game this season and at the start they were dire,but recently they have played very well and closed down the gap above them.grant has turned the team round and the players have bucked their ideas up.allardyce would take us down for sure!
    leave grant to do his job.

  • Comment number 80.

    74. At 3:16pm on 12 Jan 2011, keithyg wrote:

    You can't blame the media and BBC too much, all it takes is for someone in the board to stand up to be counted and give there support to Grant. There silence speaks volumes.

    50/50 blame for me. Either back him properly or sack him.

    The media love this kind of soap opera. They're clearly loving the fact that the West Ham board are not coming out to back him.

    The Board also are behaving like idiots, keeping Avram in the dark. Reminds me the situation with Chris Hughton. They didnt publicly back him for a reason, because they were waiting for NUFC to lose 2 games in a row, in order to have a perfect excuse for sacking him.

  • Comment number 81.

    @36 Stim100

    Is Steve McClaren such a special case? No, I think he serves to prove my point to be honest. The guy was disgraced (rightly or wrongly) by both fans and the media following an unsuccessful spell as England manager, and felt he had no future in English football. He therefore went overseas and has done relatively better at both Twente and Wolfsburg. Is he the first ex-England manager to do this? By no means. Glenn Hoddle, Bobby Robson, Terry Venables. All these men were once trusted by fans and the media alike, then immediately shunned after a lack of success.

    Anyway I digress, my original point was not supposed to be about ex-England managers, but rather how Brits tend not to care one jot about Englishmen overseas, unlike other nations who seem to display at least a modicum of interest. Thoughts?

  • Comment number 82.

    If Grant showed a bit of passion on the touchline and charisma in his PMIs then maybe we wouldn't have fans calling for his head...Wolves are in a similar position (or maybe even a worse one) but McCarthy has passion and a fine sense of humour. Have there been any rumours about Mick's sacking/resignation? Don't think so. CHECK IT OUT!!

  • Comment number 83.

    Who says you need to behave like a energizer bunny on the touchline to prove to the fans that you have "passion"

    Avram could do a somersault, roly poly and 5 star jumps but it wouldnt mean he's passionate about the club and similarly, how he's behaving right now doesnt mean he isnt passionate about the club.

    Tell me, When was the last time you ever saw Rafa Benitez celebrate a goal for Liverpool. Did he not have passion for Liverpool. That's the one and only time I write something good about Fat Rafa

  • Comment number 84.

    #82, had a quick check of your blog and it's laughable. What's that scout report about, tips from Football Manager, or do you really squeeze in over 100 hours of watching obscure European football into your week?

    Then you go on to talk about sense of humour and displaying charisma on the touchline as key components to being a success.

    Maybe Grant should just buy a copy of Championship Manager and blitz it for 2 days, that'll give him the experience necessary

  • Comment number 85.

    God, you media people make me laugh. You obviously are completely oblivious to the fact that Grant's remarks about "really, really appreciating your concern", were pure. tongue in the cheek sarcasm.

  • Comment number 86.

    13. At 10:14am on 12 Jan 2011, zazrac wrote:
    Hi, I would like to say something to Chelsea. Mate, Grant went in to the finale BUT he never won anything in his life so what is the point to go in to the finale if you don't get any trophy?

    It's true that he didn't actually win the trophy, but you've got to look at the circumstances of their loss, which was John Terry slipping over when taking what would have been the winning penalty.

    That was hardly Grant's fault, was it ?

    People like to use managers as scapegoats, but really, the truth of the matter is that so much of a performance is really beyond their control.

    The problem for Grant at Chelsea, was the fans never warmed to him because he succeeded an extremely popular and successful manager in Mourinho.

    Also, Grant's position at the club was, rightly or wrongly, linked with Mourinho's departure.

  • Comment number 87.

    If only it was possible to have a board with a chairman and cheif exec. with the rifgt qualities for their job.

    Grant is as good as West ham are likely to get with the club in the situation it is in, and it is time he was backed fully from the top.

    West ham used to be a club with integrity but it seems they just want to play the same boring games that other chairman put on their clubs.

    On a general point, maybe head coaches should be appointed on a one year deal which cannot be changed by either party, the head coach would have to be offered a new one-year contract by the 31st March or he is a free agent for the next season, giving him/her time to look for another position.

    It would do away with the laughable situation at Liverpool, when they replace a top coach with a long ago has-been.

  • Comment number 88.

    It would do away with the laughable situation at Liverpool, when they replace a top coach with a long ago has-been.

    Yes I agree. Replacing Roy with Kenny was a laughable decision.

  • Comment number 89.

    42. At 12:47pm on 12 Jan 2011, messien wrote:
    As a chelsea fan, i couldn't wait for him to leave, despite what he did for us. Boring press conferences, boring post match interviews and just his gloomy aura in general

    Of course, that's what football's all about(!)

    Entertaining press conferences and interviews !

    Never mind that he's the Chelsea manager who has come closest to winning your side the Champions League, or that he was within the odd-goal of winning the PL title, after inheriting a squad that had started off the season poorly.


  • Comment number 90.

    The axe is hovering eh?

    Well, why not lower the damn thing then...

  • Comment number 91.

    Maybe, Grant could be favourably compared to Ron Greenwood. Neither of them very theatrical in their interviews, but I was thinking that what he has done for Jonathon Spector, is reminisent of what Greenwood did for Geoff Hurst, in completely, and succefully, changing their role in the team

  • Comment number 92.

    Avram Grant is an honourable and deeply respectful man. Were those qualities ever to permeate to the boardroom at West Ham then their future would be a lot rosier. Take a look at the more successful clubs and ask yourself - Would David Gill ever consider writing an egocentric column in a tabloid ? How often do you hear Arsenal directors trying to undermine their manager or malign their players via the media ?

  • Comment number 93.

    BBC -: Does it damage your team getting incessant questions from the media that you are going to be sacked?
    Grant -: Yes
    BBC -: You are going to be sacked tomorrow arent you.

    You'd deservedly get lamped if you tried that with MM. Lazy useless football hating journo's. Go report some football for once in your life.

  • Comment number 94.

    93. At 4:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, CoachJeff wrote:

    BBC -: Does it damage your team getting incessant questions from the media that you are going to be sacked?
    Grant -: Yes
    BBC -: You are going to be sacked tomorrow arent you.

    You'd deservedly get lamped if you tried that with MM. Lazy useless football hating journo's. Go report some football for once in your life


  • Comment number 95.

    Grant inherited a poor squad of players,...Zola brought in a load of rubbish from abroad, a lot of hype around them and didn't deliver!

    I think West Ham will go down but it won't be Grant's fault!

  • Comment number 96.

    As a lifelong West Hm supporter the treatment of Avram Grant by his employers is a disgrace, especially as they claim to be oh so West Ham people. Really? If that is the case then why do they behave completely out of character with the clubs traditions for good grace and quiet dignity. Perhaps they should read John Lyall's book to help them understand and lose their arrogance.

    Remember Sullivan's quote when they went looking for Dorrans last Springtime (seemingly against Zola even knowing) "we know about football" ahh yes, of course you do, hence the signing of an overweight mercenary from Blackburn plus Ilan and Mido, the latter giving even more credence to our position as laughing stock of the PL.

    The club went downhill the day we signed the two Argentinians. Not directly their fault and Tevez will be a hero to the club forever, it just signalled the start of disruption. Four months earlier we were one kick away from winning the FA Cup with a team consisting of mainly English players, had a bright and forward thinking coach and were establishing a solid PL position. Since then, three seasons of no direction and another major controversy or mess behind each opening door.

    I will support WH always but the true West Ham United which was a part of my life, died sometime ago.

  • Comment number 97.

    Why do people always have somthing negative to say about the blogger's work? I always enjoy reading the bloggs and even if I disagree with what is said I can still respect the writer's opinion. There are too many people here who like to read thier words of negativity and like they are so much better than to read this kind of work, bet the same exact people who cut the writer's down read the Sun every day! These articles are meant to spark conversation and provoke thoughts among us true football lover's and I am here so I guess it works a treat, great article!

    I am not a West Ham supporter and therefore do not have a love or hate of Avram Grant but I think that he is doing a fine job, he has had the hardest appointments of any manager, having to follow the footsteps of the special one at Chelsea would have been hard for any manager and he did get them so close to a Champs league trophy! I have to say his results are also a lot better with West Ham than people give him credit for, lets remember there are a handful of teams at the bottom with just a couple of points between them, this is not like other years where being at the bottom of the table at this time of the year would spell religation anything can happen.

    And suppose they did replace Grant, what good would that do? They need new players and not a new coach because that is where the problem is, I truly believe that Grant is getting about the best he can out of the players he has got! For a couple of years now I have not seen improvement in the squad and all you do see is the signing of players who have been under par, Scott Parker may have worked out but the countless others are severe under acheivers.

    So in closing I think it is totally unfair to blame to Grant and expect him to be fired when he is working with such low quality players, I must admit I would like to see him go but only to get a chance at a slightly bigger club because I think he could actually suprise everyone if he had a bit more of a budget and also quality to work with but for now all the best to guy and I hope he can keep the Hammers up!

  • Comment number 98.

    Grant put his foot in it from the start of the season when he said West Ham were in a relegation battle after already getting in some players and spending enough time with the squad. That was very stupid. A club like West Ham expects to be competing for Europe every year. Whether they are good enough is a different thing.
    I blame bad journalism from creating unnecessary pressure on managers and forcing Clubs to give managers the boot. I think thats one of the main reasons Hodgson wasnt given a chance.
    That Karen Brady also seems like a bad apple. She has a reputation of slating her own managers. I'd get rid of her first of all if I could.
    I wish you could write something a bit more postive about Grant. His recent 10 games deserve credit. He is getting results.

  • Comment number 99.

    96. At 5:40pm on 12 Jan 2011, jabsco79 wrote:

    "I will support WH always but the true West Ham United which was a part of my life, died sometime ago."

    Pretty cutting. You wonder where the breaking point across the country, supporting various teams have a strong and increasing dislike of their club's owners, who typically like know nowt about football and just trying to make a quick buck.

    At some point, things have got to give? Wouldn't it be nice if REAL fans like #96 owned the club and elected the board...a little bit like how our democratic country works.

    Ah to dream....

  • Comment number 100.

    Sack Grant. Sack Martinez. Sack Houllier. Sack McCarthy. Sack all of them.......and let's see what the club directors do when they are working under the same pressures, wondering if they'll have a job after the next 3 games.
    Managers are appointed because Directors don't know how to manage. Then as soon as the going gets tough it's all the Manager's fault. Pathetic. I'm not a WHU supporter but for heaven's sake give the guy a break.


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