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West Ham United
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/18/2011

In a shock announcement that could have serious repercussions for all the other clubs in the Football League, West Ham United issued a statement on Tuesday in which, effectively, they have revealed that absolutely nothing has changed. Avram Grant is still manager, Martin O'Neill is not coming, everything that has been written about the Hammers over the past week is utter nonsense and Karren Brady has been misquoted; I'm not sure if the full text of the announcement also revealed that Saint Bobby Moore is still sadly deceased, Sir Trevor Brooking is still retired and 'Pop' Robson is no longer scoring 28 goals a season, but I think we can take that as read.

"The entire board is 100% behind Avram," David Sullivan has told ESPNsoccernet. "He is a really decent person who deserves our support."

"West Ham United is a club that does the right thing and the right thing at this time is to support the manager. We will do all we can to bring in players over the next 12 days and once we have achieved that we hope it will keep us up. I urge all supporters to rally behind the club at this difficult time."

It seems that rumours that Martin O'Neill had grave concerns about his involvement in the replacement of Avram Grant and how it would be perceived by media and people within football as undermining a decent man, may have an element of truth although doubtless even the inkling that Grant was due to be replaced will probably be denied along with everything else in this Year Zero scenario.

One truth that surely emerges from this whole sorry mess though is the one that makes West Ham appear a club in almost terminal decline. Stuttering performances like the one against Arsenal, are light-years away from the type of gutsy attempts to redress the balance of the Premier Lague table being offered by the likes of Blackpool and Wolves currently. I'm not claiming that everything can be laid at the feet of Mr Grant - regular readers will know how poorly I received news that Gold, Sullivan and Brady had moved into the boardroom - and at least some of the current mess has reverberations from the distasteful sacking of Gianfranco Zola and the dismantling of the project put into place over the three preceeding years by the Icelandic group. And let's not forget how the whole Icelandic structure was brought crashing down by world events that even the most far-sighted failed to see - the huge mountain of debt at Upton Park surely being part of the reason the squad is so threadbare.

Nevertheless though, the fans and boardroom of the club have now turned to Avram Grant to save the season and the immediate future of West Ham - odd how this news somehow now looks like something not previously thought of - and we can only hope he is given some money to sign the striker we have desperately needed for over two years.

May I also suggest that Karren Brady returns to her role as Alan Sugar's lapdog and stops writing spurious and badly written junk for a newspaper - I don't have a job currently Karren let me do it eh? - and the whole board just get on with doing what they are supposed to be doing and fending off the hordes of rampaging Spurs supporters encroaching on Stratford and trying to stop this club from being relegated. As for Avram - let's wish him luck eh? If the soap opera that is Eastenders claret and blue style weaves its normal course I expect the Israeli to guide us to a respectable mid-table position, win the Carling and FA Cup and then resign on principle.
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Posted by Anonymous on 01/18/2011

My friend, it is good to accept that at the end of every season there will be three teams to be relegated. What Westham should be thinking of now is to die with a fight because at the moment they are now where near the other teams who sit in mid table. For a season in which Man U have only won twice away from home and are top of the table, it means standards have gone high.

Posted by Kyle on 01/18/2011

Well done Blagg. A fiasco of epic proportions. It seems a bit contradictory to admit you had thought you signed Oneil without having sacked Grant while claiming to be a club that does the right thing.

Brady's position on the board and her involvement with her smut rag is completely untenable going forward... one would think

Posted by Andrew Lewin on 01/18/2011

Billy, for me there are two separate issues. Those things you have no control over: the financial meltdown, loss of key players through injury; and those things within your control: how you manage your business and yourself.

The way Gold, Sullivan and Brady have managed affairs since they took over about 12 months ago has, almost from the start, been embarrassing, media-attention seeking and disrespectful of the club, it's employees and fans. The meltdown witnessed this weekend needs no further comment and Gold and Sullivan must take responsibility for their actions. A principled, self respecting Premier League quality manager would think twice before considering a job with West Ham. It is time G, S and B pulled their necks in, and worked with the manager, staff and players to get us out of the mess and build a future and a club we can be proud of.

Posted by Paul Pudney on 01/18/2011


Spot on as usual. The whole thing is so depressing, i even sent a pointless e-mail to the club last night pointing out there complete incompetence. It sounded like O'Neill might actually have come if it hadn't been for there stupid publicity seeking antics. Of course as you said this was the sort of thing we were afraid of when they took over.

Posted by Man Alive! on 01/19/2011

I'm actually quite glad that Grant's staying because it's the Hammers' best shot at staying up - or getting some silverware! Not that I think that Grant is a good manager - it's just that no-one else could make a significant difference. Apart from Tevez! It'll be a close-run thing in the relegation battle - let's hope that the Hammers have some luck for a change. Remember when they went down with 44 points?! It seems that 40 points may well be enough to stay up this year. The key will be Parker, Noble, Upson and Bridge (and Bridge will improve)- if they can play well most matches, we'll be OK.

And Brady doesn't seem to bring much dignity to the club, does she? And very often, that's all that West Ham have had in the past - and now she's taken even that away! Sigh.

Posted by Trini West Ham on 01/19/2011

common guys stay up and fight a great deal harder

Posted by pondhopper on 01/19/2011

Billy,,, All I ask from this circus of a season is we put more fight in the prospect of being relegated - I would appreciate as a supporter more conviction, tempo, desire and battle scars and go after this with our tails up - as the old saying goes "if you are going down, go down with a fight" - but as alway blowing bubbles...

Posted by Somnath Mallick on 01/20/2011

Avam is a good coach, he is just put under unnecessary pressure. I do feel for Avam, he is under so much stress for his own job that he isn't able to do his managing at all. If the board gives him some money for some decent players and the assurance of time, I am sure he would do it for them. Unfortunately, relegation is somewhat of a reality now. But the table is so tight at the bottom anything can happen. 3 point is something more precious than gold. Might as well lose a few and get a win. For a club like West Ham, they played badly against Arsenal, true. But they were not expected to win, even if it was 2008 or 2007! Put your faith in the coach, he has more footballing sense than many other coaches in the EPL. I do not even hear of West Ham going for some player and buying them. Is there a lack of funds? I don't have any idea on the financial status of the club. But their league position also doesn't help bringing in players.

Blagg: Financial staus? In a word; GRIM!

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Billy Blagg Born at an early age a mere defenders' spit from the Boleyn ground, Billy Blagg has seen every West Ham game from 1898 onwards. Blagg was mentioned by Kenneth Wolstenholme in 1966 as one of the people on the pitch during the famous Hammers win over West Germany that lifted the World Cup and he returned to the pitch again for the 1975 FA Cup Final but stayed on the terrace for 1980 FA Cup victory. Blagg, 26, now lives with his eighth wife and innumerable children in a small semi-detached with chintz curtains in Dagenham, Essex and still attends every Hammers match and training session.

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