West Ham’s Big Mistake

by admin

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Back in the 2006/07 season West Ham found themselves in a similar position in the run up to Christmas as they did this season. They were lingering down at the wrong end of the table and if truth be told the spirit within the squad had evaporated. The season had started full of hope, after the agonising defeat in the FA Cup to Liverpool in the final in the previous May West Ham fans were looking for the club to push on and upwards. The FA Cup final appearance had secured a place in the Europa League and then of course on transfer deadline day August 2006 the now infamous signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano was made.

However, by the time the grim afternoons of December had arrived West Ham had been knocked out of the Europa League by Italian side Palermo in the very first round and Tevez and Mascherano appeared to have only made negative impacts. The manager then was of course Alan Pardew, after a run of 3 straight defeats including a humiliating 4-0 defeat away at Bolton (which I had the misfortune to attend), Pardew was shown the exit doors on December 11th. After that Alan Curbishley was appointed and although it took some time he eventually saved West Ham from relegation with an incredible run of results at the back end of the season. The reason I bring up the drama of 2006 is that the timing of Pardews sacking was key. I am not a hater of current manager Avram Grant, I think he is a decent guy with a good footballing brain, but is he really the right man for West Ham in their current predicament? When Pardew was sacked rumours were rife that he had lost the confidence of the players, I think its questionable as to whether Grant has really ever had the players confidence to lose.

It seems as though Grant has been on the verge of losing his job for weeks now, but if the owners decide to sack him anytime in the near future why on earth did they not do it before Christmas. To sack Grant now and bring in a new manager would be unfair on the new guy. The January transfer window is no secret, everyone knew it was coming, any new manager would want the opportunity to bring in his own men to galvanise what is a rather poor and downbeat squad. The vacancy would have seemed a lot more appealing 3 weeks ago if the new manager had some time to find his feet and then the entire transfers window to strengthen where he wanted to with who he wanted to. Obviously finances play a part, the owners understandably want to avoid having to pay compensation to Grant but can their decision to ‘hope’ Grant suddenly turns things around really be justified.

In 2006/07 West Ham stayed up due to the magic of Carlos Tevez. It was his and Bobby Zamora’s goals that kept West Ham in the Premier League, just. If you look around the current squad its hard to find an argument that it is a squad thats ‘too good to go down’. West Ham of all clubs should know that after being relegated with a squad that included Joe Cole, Paulo Di Canio, David James and Michael Carrick. As I have said I’m not a hater of Grant, but I never really felt he was the right man for the job. Right now West Ham need a strong passionate character, who can rally the players and provoke a reaction, Grant is not this character. He started his career in England as someone behind the scenes and I think its where he belongs.

As it is I expect Avram Grant will be dismissed in the near future. West Ham are not doomed this season, the league is unbelievably close, however, if whoever the new manager is had been appointed in the middle of December I think West Hams chances of survival would be far greater. If Grant stays and keeps West Ham in the Premier League then I can only imagine it will owe a lot to the teams around West Ham being architects of their own demise.

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  • Ironman

    Hhhm. Where to start? This is article is wrong on so many grounds it’s hard to know where to start. “In 2006/07 West Ham stayed up due to the magic of Carlos Tevez” Is that a (Sheffield Utd) fact, is it? Tevez went how many games before he scored his first goal? And what about Bobby Zammora and Robert Green? I seem to remember that they had something to do with it (as well as Mark Noble, Lucas Neil etc). No. Tevez did not keep us up. Pardew was sacked for reasons other than footballing reasons (that is a matter of record from Eggert Magnusson) and the timing related to this. What we need is stability, not another manager. To sack Grant now would be foolhardy in teh extreem and unnecessary; with the signing of Bridge, Ba and others to come and the return of some long term absentees from the treatment bench now is not the time to panic. And who would you get? Sam Alardydice? Behave. This is West Ham, for God’s sake, The Achademy… have some respect. What self respecting manager would go for a club, to use an analogy, that has cheated on its girlfriend, as badly as we would have, on Grant? Not exactly the recipe for a long term future, isi it? So what do we do? Go for another stop gap? I think not. No, we need to back our manager… the way we used to. So in a nutshell, this is tosh… Come On You Irons!

  • hammer 93

    ironman i could not agree with you more mate fair play.
    c’mon u irons!

  • Tony Ablitt

    Right then, I completely agree with West Ham needing to get back to the days of backing the manager through thick and thin. The article isn’t about me wanting Grant to be sacked, its about the constant gossip surrounding his job, I think it completely undermines him, and the point I was making was that if they end up sacking him then it should have been done earlier. Avram Grant has come in and been everything everyone knew he was, he’s not gonna shout and scream and yet it just seems as though his personality is highlighted constantly by the media. In regards to Tevez, no of course its not fact but his goals played a part, as did Zamora (who is actually mentioned). At the end of the day Grants job has been under threat for months now, it does no one any good. They quite literally need to fully back him or sack him.

  • LVM (WHU)

    “whoever the new manager is had been appointed in the middle of December I think West Hams chances of survival would be far greater”.

    Well since we have only lost one game since the middle of December, this seems like a really bad argument.

    We’ve won 4, tied 2 and lost 1. In the league that’s 2 victories, 2 draws and one deafeat – and two cup wins. If we can keep that form we will be fine.

    Biggest problem is that we have a few away games coming up now and really need to shape up. On the positives we have strong players (only Bridge right now) coming in and players coming back from injury…

  • Tony Ablitt

    Yeah the form has been better in the past weeks (Newcastle excluded) which is why the gossip surrounding Grants role needs to be stopped from the very top. The point wasn’t that any prospective new manager would have done better than Grant the point was that if Grant is sacked during January after West Hams best run of form this season then he may as well have been sacked before the transfer window.

  • It’s Grim Oop North

    As an outsider, it seem’s to me that “West Ham’s big mistake”, was allowing the new owner’s to constantly undermine Zola, whilst stating that the entire squad was useless and up for sale, except Scott Parker, at the back end of last season.
    I know you’ll tell me to keep my big nose out of it, but I said as much at the time, and predicted your certain relegation this season, due to the way the Sullivan and Gold alienated the playing squad.
    Most of the “useless” players are still at West Ham, if they had been replaced, Grant might have stood a slight chance of repairing some of the damage, but of course the money hasn’t been spent, (and didn’t need to be if not for the suicidal comments).
    Why would any of the aforementioned players bust a gut for the West Ham cause now, knowing they’re not valued or wanted by the powers that be?
    You need to start praying for a miracle now, and sacking Grant will only make things worse.

  • ashcloud9

    I agree he deserves more time, good set of results in our last fixtures (albeit Newcastle) 10 men in the squad with injuries and that board to contend with! Would you really trust another manager to get the same results that we have achieved over the last 7 or 8 games? And 10 players dont beat a team of 11 unless they are playing for their club and their manager. I read somewhere that we have had the same chances on goal as man u – our attack play is good we just dont have a decent goal scorer – if we did it would mean less pressure on the defence and more confidence – no left back still!!! Not Grants fault! Give him a chance! Cmon You Irons!

  • Daz

    Grant has never had the players confidence? Yet they are coming out in their droves to defend him. Parker, Tomkins, Noble and even his previous critic in Cole have all publicly backed the manager in recent days.

  • Tony Ablitt

    Yeah sure they’ve come out and said the right things but has that transpired onto the pitch I would say no. The wins that West Ham have had haven’t really been battling wins, Wolves and Wigan were awful when we played them. The team spirit could be better, I’m not saying Grant can’t improve this himself but what I am saying is that the whole time the owners allow the media to speculate about Grants future its only going to have a negative effect on West Ham.

  • dexylongshot

    Like i said in a post days ago, I think we should stay with Sagface at the moment.

    Firstly, the sheckles are low at The Bolyen, so what do we do, pay Grant of with all our wedge and then sell one of our big players, (probably Carlton Cryuff) to help balance the books or keep Grant, keep Cole and spend the dosh we do have on a couple of new faces, we;ve already secured Bridge, let’s see if we can get SWP, these two would make a massive difference.

    Secondly, who would come in to replace Av? Big Long Ball Sam? I wouldn’t like that one bit and nor would the West Ham Academy faithful. O’Neill, I don’t think he would touch our directors with a barge pole (Well maybe Karen after a few pints). Martin Jol, maybe in the future when he has a chance to take a good look at us and bring in his own players etc, but not now.

    Thirdly, the better results that have started to trickle through in the last 6 weeks seem to have coincided with the arrival of Wally Downes. I think he has made a big difference to the team spirit and communication and with a few clubs vying for his services, I just hope we can keep hold until at least the end of the season.

    Let stick with Grant, I believe we are not in the bottom 3 worst teams in the league and gap is so tight in the bottom half, it could be anyone at the mo, I’m including Liverpool and Villa in that sentence as well, Why is all the attention on Avram, Villa or down there as well but it seems now Roy has been hounded out at Anfield, it’s now a media witch-hunt on Avram. Let’s get behind him, C’mon you irons!

    In other news, Upson is a £500’000 target for Arsene’s struggling backline. The Irons cannot take the money on this one, let him see out his contract, for half a million, is it really worth letting the club captain go at this time and who would we get in for that sort of money, Big Sol? d me a favour, he’d do the Frankies at half time if things started going pear-shaped.

  • Sam Vaughan

    One thing I would add to this debate is West Ham are not playing good football. I love West Ham the bottom of my heart and would back them in any situation but I am not blind to see that West Ham are awful at keeping the ball. Its like a hot potato. We are only winning games because the teams we play are not putting in a performance for example Wigan and Wolves, Newcastle home and away this season have to be the worst passing performances by any team Ive seen in a long while. Whether it is Grant, the players or the board until we learn to keep the ball we will always be vulnerable to a 5-0 hiding. What West Ham need is either to back Grant with some money stick to there guns which is fair enough he is the guy they appointed and thought was best suited to the job or sack him because he clearly isn’t getting the best out of the players he has. (These are mostly the same players that Zola had to deal with in a relegation battle where we only didn’t go down because of how poor the other 3 teams were. They felt it was necessary to sack Zola) Does this mean when we finis 17th again this season they will sack Grant and we start again. Whether the poor PERFORMANCES not results are due to the players not support him or them simply not being good enough that is for someone else to decide but all the speculation as Tony rightly points out makes it easier for the manager to become undermined behind the scenes. Causing West Ham’s position to be further weakened if they had said after the Newcastle game, the Barnsley Game or even the Board meeting we understand the situation isn’t good but we back Grant no one could argue but they have not publicly backed him during this week of speculation so his position is clearly under review.

  • Dexylongshot

    Latest news on this. My well placed sources have told o, neill will take over proceedings after the arsenal game tonight

  • Dexylongshot

    Latest news on this. My well placed sources have told o, neill will take over proceedings after the arsenal game tonight. I”m really surprised o neill has jumped into the hot seat at upton park and am not sure how much money that will free up if way have to fork out for avram. I fear a big name will be on his way out with my money on Carlton and behrami. At least with have oneill and not big sam, I rate the paddy highly and I’m sure he,ll be on the blower for some young villa players, he’s a well respected boss and should be able to get some top faces down to the bolyen.

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