In a classy move that just about sums up the 2010/11 season, West Ham sacked manager Avram Grant less than an hour after their 3-2 defeat at Wigan resigned them to the Championship next season.
Grant was apparently pulled out from the post-match press conference, a club spokesman returning 20 minutes later to confirm that Grant was 'no longer Manager at West Ham United'. Grant was said to be close to tears and emotional after the game saying "I'm sorry for the supporters, the people in the club and the players". Reserve team coach Kevin Keen will take over for the Hammer's last Premiership hurrah at home to Sunderland next Sunday.
That the sacking was inevitable is in little doubt, but the timing seems bizarre even by the warped standards currently being employed at Upton Park. It would surely have made little difference to at least wait until the team and staff had returned back to east London rather than adding salt to the open wound that must have been experienced by a freshly relegated side returning back home.
What does seem likely is that Grant may have had some type of relegation clause in his contract and this is why Messrs Gold and Sullivan seem to have acted with almost indecent haste. What is apparent though is that that the stewardship of Avram Grant has been a disaster for West Ham. The Hammer's have barely been out of the bottom three all season and, despite the odd suggestion that things may be about to turn around, the lack of pride and fight in the final weks has been a depressing sight.
What made things worse were the strong rumours that Grant was about to be sacked back in January with the back pages suggesting that Martin O'Neill was being lined up for the hot seat. The Israeli then presided over one of the most abject displays in the Hammer's recent history when they were outclassed on their own pitch by an Arsenal side that barely needed to get out of first gear. At the end of the game, Grant threw his 'lucky scarf' - surely one of the most terrible misnomers ever to grace Upton Park - into the crowd, waved goodbye to the fans and appeared to be striding - or shuffling at least - into the sunset. Then, with rumours that O'Neill wasn't happy with the way the matter had been handled, Grant was given full backing and even, for a brief while, seemed to be turning things around. But Grant's laconic way of managing seemed to be reflected in his teams' on-pitch performance and following a 4-2 home defeat by Manchester United - a match in which the Hammer's threw away a 2-0 lead - the season collapsed further in an alarming manner. West Ham's lack of commitment and fight - Scott Parker and Rob Green excepting - seemed to mirror the Manager and most Hammer's fans had given up hope weeks ago.
Inevitably, the talk will now be about who will take over at Upton Park and what players will be available for the incoming boss to manage. Whoever gets the role will be tasked with the unenviable job of trying to get the Hammers back into the top flight at the first time of asking in a division where the claret and blue will be a major scalp. It will not be an easy task.
A depressing day in the history of West Ham United.