Paul Parker

New boss, new players needed at West Ham

Paul Parker

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After all the reports claiming that Saturday's match against arsenal would be Avram Grant's last match in charge of West Ham, he is still waiting to find out if he has a future at the club.

The Hammers owners have been so indecisive in their treatment of him. First, there was a match which David Gold described as a 'save our season' fixture, then Grant had three games to save his job and now, if reports are to be believed, Martin O'Neill is on the verge of taking over while Grant's seat in the dugout is still warm.

West Ham should not determine the club's future based on individual results - they have to work out whether Grant is the man they want in charge in the long term. They need to make a decision one way or the other as soon as possible, because they need new players to get them out of this hole.

Is Grant the man they are going to trust with spending whatever money is available on better players who can help them avoid relegation? Is he someone who will be able to attract the required personnel to the club? I fear the answer is no on both counts.

It seems that the failed attempt to sign Steve Sidwell and the baffling decision to take Wayne Bridge on loan both had nothing to do with Grant.

Whoever comes into the job, West Ham need new players. The last time they were relegated many people were saying they were too good to go down, but I don't think you can say that about the current squad.

A new man is required who is willing to drive that recruitment at short notice and can also instil belief in the players who are already at the club, because West Ham are by no means out of this.

They may have been bottom at Christmas, nearly always the death knell for a struggling team, but they are not cut adrift. A run of three wins for any side at the wrong end of the table will drag them a fair way up it.

As well as O'Neill, Sam Allardyce has also been lined with the vacancy. Those are two names I never would have imagined being linked with the job at Upton Park, to be honest.

Both would bring different qualities to the table, but equally either man could save them. O'Neill would be the one to unite the players in the belief that escaping the drop - and ensuring they were all Premier League footballers again next season - was a possibility, while Allardyce would make them hard to beat, something they certainly weren't against the Gunners.

The best thing about that 3-0 defeat was that plenty of the home fans weren't there to see the end of it. One of my closest friends was at the ground, and he told me that he just could not take it anymore and had to leave. Arsenal were embarrassing them that much.

The big worry for West Ham's board is that, with all the different things said and mixed messages coming out of the club, would a talented, experienced manager want to work for them anyway? Just as clubs pick out a manager they like, a manager will want to be sure they are going to be able to work with their new employers.

After seeing the way Grant and Gianfranco Zola before him were treated, is the West Ham job really that attractive?

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