The inevitable end for Avram Grant

I’d imagine all West Ham fans are pleased to see the club have wasted no time in showing Avram Grant the door in the wake of their relegation. I fully expected Grant to go the day after the Hammer’s relegation, but even that would have been a day too long for him at the club.

I obviously don’t know Grant and he comes across as a decent bloke, but I think we -the jury – are now certain that he is guilty of being a crap football manager.

He did well as manager of Chelsea, where he had a ready made team that was used to winning. He got relegated at Portsmouth with well documented problems at the club, but he did get them to the FA cup final.

West Ham was his big chance to prove that he was a good manager. He had owners prepared to pay big wages and experienced internationals in his squad, he was on an even playing field this time and he blew it in a big way.

To get relegated would be bad enough, but to go down as the bottom club and a week before anybody else is a major underachievement given the resources available to him.

Grant appears to have a good knowledge of the game, but I think he is best used in an administrative role.

Owners, Gold and Sullivan have to take their share of the blame. They appointed Grant, they then backed him at Christmas after undermining him in public and are now paying the price for their own mistakes.

The big question now is, are they going to pay with their wallets, or are they going to put the club in administration?

Why bother watching West Ham?

I’ve heard and read a lot of flak aimed in the direction of the West Ham board of directors for their non show at Eastlands to watch – in David Sullivan’s view – the teams latest poor away performance.

Sullivan came out with the excuse that as the team have been poor lately and the match was on tele, there was no point in going.

I sincerely hope the West Ham fans don’t adopt that attitude to watching the team when they are poor, as there won’t be much of a club left in 12 months.

Sullivan has to take his share of the blame for the teams poor showing. There’s not much point in him complaining that he isn’t a £20,000- £60,000 a week footballer and blaming everyone else, as it was he and the board who appointed Avram Grant – the main reason why they are where they are.

On top of that, it was he and his board who kept Grant in his job last January after making a pig’s ear of recruiting Martin O’Neill. Sam Allardyce has also been available since December, like O’Neill, another man who would probably have kept the Hammers up.

Basically I see Sullivan’s comments as the beginning of the end for Grant. It looks like the same appauling attempts at undermining the manager as he and David Gold kept doing to Gianfranco Zola last season, again when the team was in the midst of a relegation scrap.

A lot of what Sullivan said is true, but you don’t undermine the team and manager in this way at this stage of the season, he needs to keep it to himself.

Sullivan is a part of the board that appointed and kept Grant, so he has to accept he is just as much to blame.

Grant in, Rafa out.

Another quiet post season day in the world of Premier League football saw the departure of Rafa Benitez from Liverpool, and the arrival of the Transylvanian looking Avran Grant at West Ham United.

Another one of footballs worst kept secrets, Grant was unveiled as West Ham’s new manager by a statement on the club website, he is on a 4 year contract subject to a work permit.

It will be interesting to see if the constant drip feed of information to the media will still be as forthcoming from David Sullivan as it was under Gianfranco Zola’s spell as manager.

Or was it more a case of just trying to continually undermine Zola? A risky stratergy given the clubs perilous position at the time.

Grant would seem to have a large job on his hands at Upton Park. He will almost certainly be required to reduce the wage bill, a task not likely to be made any easier while the club are openly pursuing the likes of David Beckham and Thierry Henry, presumably on large contracts.

It will be interesting to see how things develope at Upton Park, get the feeling ‘The Two Davids Show’ will find it hard to keep their opinions to themselves over the course of the season.

Meanwhile at Anfield, Benitez is finally gone. I have wrote a lot on this blog about how lucky he seemed to be to keep his job last season, and do believe he had to go.

I’m not suggesting he is a bad manager, his CV would contradict that. I just think at times he over complicated things, making a simple game harder.

And at times he was way too negative to win the Premier League, all too often picking defensive sides at home to lower league teams.

Nothing surprises me about this saga though, so it was no great shock to hear that fans gathered outside Anfield to protest in the wake of Rafa’s departure.

I take it they would have rathered Steven Gerrard left instead?

Some reports are suggesting that Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush are being lined up to take over, possibly on a caretaker basis.

Another report suggested that Dalglish and managing director Christian Purslow will begin the search for a successor to Rafa.

One name heavily touted around and up there in the betting is that of Martin O’Neill’s. He might well be unsettled at Villa, and the sale of James Milner might be the final straw.

Anyone looking to back O’Neill with their hard earned though, should bear in mind that it was he who ordered Kenny Dalglish’s removal from his role as Director of Football at Celtic before he took the managers job in Glasgow.

King Kenny may well have a long memory.

Gold and Sullivan at it again!

Not content with trying to call into question the integrity of the Premier League by offering to loan Portsmouth £10 Million to ensure they didn’t go bust earlier in the season, David Gold and David Sullivan are now lowering the standards further by complaining about Fulham for resting a few players against Hull last week.

I know it is hard to believe, and when I first heard it on Thursday I thought it was an April fools joke, apparently not.

Is this the same West Ham that stayed up on the last day of the season in 2007, when they beat an under strength Manchester United side 1-0. A side with Giggs, Scholes and Ronaldo all on the bench, and Rio Ferdinand not even in the squad.

Any complaints about that under strength team from West Ham?

I know that these two do a lot of self promotion, but this is taking the piss.

It happens in football, so West Ham should just get on with it and stop complaining. If they did their own jobs properly then it wouldn’t matter what team Roy Hodgson put out. Hodgson’s job it to put Fulham’s interests first, and that is all he is doing, and rightly so.

Maybe now Newcastle can complain about Manchester United for fielding a weakened side against Hull on the final day of last season? Even though Man Utd still won 1-0, they did put out an under strength side.

As the basis of West Ham’s complaint is that Fulham ‘fielded a weakened side’ then surely the result is irrelevant?

Why not open the floodgates and get everyone at it? Is that where Gold and Sullivan want to take football?

Gold and Sullivan might have saved West Ham from going bust, but their constant medaling and attention seeking is in danger of helping to relegate the club as well.

And they are certainly not making any friends for West Ham. Fulham host West Ham at Craven Cottage for their penultimate fixture of the season on 1st May, maybe Fulham might rest Roy Hodgson that day as I think Gold and Sulliavan may already have done his job for him.

Hammers on Holiday

The bizarre goings on at West Ham have continued since Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.

In the aftermatch press conference, manager Gianfranco Zola said he would consider whether he is the right man for the job, before heading to Italy, giving the impression he was about to quit.

Earlier today West Ham fans got the news a lot of them must have been dreading, when Zola confirmed he was going to stay.

Imagine someone must have pointed out that he is on a lucrative contract and that he would wave his pay-off should he resign, that he might as well wait for the bullet, and the cheque instead.

Then came the most strange statement of the lot. Co-owner and spokesman David Sullivan revealed that the players are in the middle of a three day break, that as Zola is away they are not expected back in training til Wednesday.

Marvellous, after the run West Ham have just been on, this is just what the players deserve.

The Gold and Sullivan Show

According to both the David’s, Gold and Sullivan, they are the financial saviours of West Ham United FC.

While I have no reason to doubt what they are saying about the clubs finances, I am starting to doubt whether their media friendleness is doing much to help put things right on the pitch.

The constant drip feed of so-called confidential club information to the media must be undermining Gianfranco Zola, Steve Clarke and their team.

Yes, they are right about the ridiculous wages Zola, Clarke and numerous others at the club are on, but is it really doing any good releasing all this information to the media ahead of matches?

Surely it would have been better to wait until the end of the season to make such remarks.

It now looks to have created resentment within the team judging by the response from Matthew Upsen who described Sullivan’s recent criticism of the team as “unhelpful” and “irrelevant”, saying that it is the coaches and the manager that he will be listening to as “they’re in charge of the situation.”

The two David’s backing of Zola also sounds very hollow to me, it sounds more like a case of ‘its not worth making a change at this stage of the season, so we’ll keep you til the summer and then sack you.’ Surely this is apparent to the players as well.

I’ll be amazed if Zola is still there next season. If he’s not sacked, he will surely walk.

It could also be that a lot of the players are of the opinion that they too will be heading for the exit door this summer, this could be part of the reason for their poor showing of late.

Why bother busting a gut for the club if the owners don’t want you? Or if they do keep you, they expect you to take a massive pay cut so that you can carry on listening to them slagging you off in the press and saying that you are crap, which is basically what Sullivan has done this week. Hardly a recipe for success.

The three saving graces for Gold, Sullivan, Zola, Clarke, all the over rated average players, and all the stupid fans who wanted Alan Curbishley out, is Portsmouth, Burnley and Hull.

Unless former Hammer, Iain Dowie can pull off a great escape, I think you will survive.

I seem to remember a lot of Hammers fans saying that they would prefer to play good attractive football and be in a relegation battle, rather than watch the dross served up by Alan Curbishley, well you all got your wish.