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West Ham United
Posted by Billy Blagg on 05/15/2011

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.


Posted by Andrew Kiken on 05/15/2011

I kinda liked Grant in a sad, pathetic way, for some odd reason. It seemed West Ham would turn the season around six weeks ago. Then, it kept getting worse and worse. I am not even a West Ham fan, again, but they were up 2 to 0 in a sport, it is so hard to score at any level. The management had no choice, but to get rid of grant. Any manager would be better. If I were a West Ham fan, it would be devastating. I knew they were going to lose the lead and so did everyone else if they followed their season.

Posted by Gerald from Singapore on 05/16/2011

Agree with Blagg that its a depressing day, even from fans in Singapore.

2-0 at halftime, with the Brummies trailing to Fulham, what more motivation do the players need? Unfortunately we've done it again, thrown away a 2-0 lead and end up with a defeat. It was a funny thing that when we were 2-0 up, I had this sick feeling that Wigan would go on and nick a win.

Well, nuff said, Grant's sacked and we will also see the backs of our best and our uncommitted players. With the expected mass exodus, I really wonder who will be in the first team next season and of course, who will be in charge.

Personally, i wish we would go with Paolo Di Canio or Martin Allen, both Hammers legends. After a season with Grant, we need someone passionate, with West Ham blood flowing in them.

Probable goodbyes: Faubert, Dyer, Kovac, Barrera, Cole, Upson, Parker, Green, Hitz, Obinna, Ba, Bridge, Keane, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Spector, Piquionne

Posted by Kyle on 05/16/2011

Almost too fitting that Cole would stumble through yet another miffed, tap-in shot for the win, and Wigan would turn it around with a dagger-in-the-heart shot. It was the entire season condensed into about 2 minutes.

unemployment starts tomorrow. I don't think you choose West Ham. I think you're just born this way.

....but oh that magic feeling, nowhere to go.

Blagg: Talking of unemployment - Soccernet don't have a Correspondent's page for the Championship...

Posted by Nick Moore on 05/16/2011

How depressing. Bad enough being 2 up again but with Birmingham slipping up I really thought we had a chance. What did we do in a previous life to become a WHU supporter?

Great year for you though Billy, thought about management??

Blagg: Well, I could do a bloody better job than Grant, Nick. By the way, dunno about you, but I was a despotic, fascist serial killer in a previous life. SO that explains it...

Posted by chris hayden on 05/16/2011

Still reeling from shock and disapointment,as are all the Hammers fans here in New Zealand.

Posted by John on 05/16/2011

Wont miss Faubert,Dyer,Kovac,Barrera,Cole Upson he really annoyed me he held the hammers to ranson as our captain he should have set an example instead he made the mistakes on the field that helped to get us where we are now .I will miss Green,Parker,Noble .
Hopefully Sears,Nouble,Tomkins,Collison will stay along with all the other quality young ones that me be there.

Posted by Man Alive! on 05/16/2011

Look on the bright side - it'll be a great opportunity for the youth to come through and people a team of world-beaters in 2012/13. I thought the Hammers' escape-magic would work in spite of Grant. Oh well. Gold & Sullivan deserve to lose cash as a result of such an uninspired managerial appointment. I'll be very sorry that Parker goes but that's about all - let's give the young Hammers a chance!

Posted by paul pudney on 05/16/2011

spot on blagg, all too depressing to comment much more, just makes it worse having such classless owners and makes one wonder for the future

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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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