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Curbs Out!

Filed: Monday, 14th April 2008
By: Staff Writer

As the debate on Alan Curbishley's future rages, three KUMB.com members give their reasons why he should not remain in charge next season - whilst another remains firmly on the fence.

Curbs OUT! - says West Ham Tom

What has happened to the club we all fell in love with? The unpredictable team giving us endless nail-biting excitement every season?

Some people called for a season of consolidation this season and Alan Curbishley has brought us that. But can anyone really say they are truly happy deep-down? Happy with us playing uninspiring, unimaginative football and dull football grinding out a win here and there and not playing particularly well in the process?

Of course there have been times before we have seen us play some truly awful football, but never have we seen West Ham play in such a negative fashion week in, week out. A lot of people are under the delusion that Curbishley saved us from relegation but he just got lucky. We had the team all along to do well in the Premier League and if Curbishley had his way we would have finished the season off with no Tevez and no Noble in the side and probably gone down.

All the players who played a major part in our survival came into the side because of injury to others. Also some fans seem convinced that we would definitely have gone down under Pardew. But how can they be sure? Ok we had played some bad football and were in bad form but we were not dead and buried and still picked up some impressive wins and results. We only looked dead and buried when Curbishley took over and although we got out of it, it was more due to the players than an inspiring manager.

This season we are not the West Ham we know and love. We are a replica Charlton and will continue to be as long as Curbishley is our manager. His signings have been very poor and uninspiring. Injuries aside, are players like Dyer going to change us playing dull football? Will Curbishley change the way he has all his sides play? I dont think so.

This season is the first in a while we have nothing to play for at the end of the year. That isnt why I fell in love with West Ham. I fell in love with the club for the excitement, passion of the fans and unpredictability of being a West Ham fan.

Having an uninspiring manager will rub off on the players and, most importantly, the fans. Many fans I know do not enjoy going to Upton Park this season as they know exactly what will happen. The same old dull football and same old results. Ok we do not want to turn in Newcastle and demand exciting football all the time as it would never happen. We just need something to shout about and play some decent, attractive football that gets the fans behind the team and not on the team's back.

For that I dont blame the fans. I blame the manager for sending out an uninspiring team every week. It isn't the players fault either as they play the way they are told to play preventing talented players such as Noble and Ashton to really flourish.

We need a change and a positive one. Everything about West Ham is negative right now and that is down to the man in charge. For all Alan Pardew's faults he always got us believing and buying into his dreams and ambitions. His players believed it and although it probably was his downfall in the end he gave us that amazing season in 2005/2006 because he made the players and fans believe we were better than we were and it worked. The players played above themselves and the fans got behind the team.

We need a manager with charisma and a positive attitude and it will rub off on the players and fans. So thank you Mr Curbishley for your time, but it's time for us to move onwards and upwards and become West Ham again.

Curbs OUT! - says 'ouston 'ammer

Trying to take the passion out of 'Curbs In? Curbs Out!' and trying to be objective is a virtually superhuman task. Personally I didn’t see him as the person to take us 'forward' (although what forward means I suppose is subjective). I for one loved Alan Curbishley as a player, his vision and passing range were in my opinion, second to none.

He was vying for a starting spot opposite Trevor Brooking, a complete non-starter. They were diametrically opposed in style and therefore Curbishley would always come off second best. Trevor had silky skills and Alan was long-range passing (almost Hoddle-esque) and could definitely get stuck in.

Anyway, fast forward (I always kept an eye on his career but it never materialised as I thought it might). Manager: I thought he did very well with limited resources and a poor fan base that would always be more than satisfied to survive in the Premiership.

When he was appointed as manager here I was torn. I of course wanted him to succeed. I always liked him as a player but thought he was not quite the exciting player that he was supposed to be. Not his fault of course, there were and will always be labels stuck on players by the press, the TV or fans. However, I was always of the opinion that although we are West Ham and we always want our own to succeed - witness the applause and respect paid to players who have moved on to England - Rio, Joe C., Michael C., Carlitos, etc.- I really thought that it was time to move on and get someone from the outside. Someone who understood playing football, the fan base, the culture BUT had no direct connections to the club, who might instill a

little bit of European flair. Maybe.

The problem with the appointment to me at the time was that it was a 'play safe' choice. Understandable perhaps but one that IF it failed would make life very difficult to change again. I wanted a “new face” if you will. I was even, heaven forbid, ready for the drop as long as in the long run we had someone who could usher in a new era.

I loved Ron Greenwood and John Lyall. At the time we appointed Roeder I thought that we had the opportunity to tread a new road. Anyway, after giving you a little bit of background to my dissertation, I really cannot understand why people clamour for Curbishley to be given at least next season to turn things around. I honestly believe that his forays into the transfer market were and have been abysmal.

The players that he chose to bring in were 'on paper' looking good to improve the squad. Unfortunately 'on paper' doesn’t get it done. I scratched my head at Quashie, Davenport and even Boa Morte. Neill I thought would be effective but not at the rate that I thought we were paying him (baseless maybe but all we had to go on). Bellamy, yes - I thought would be an asset IF he could stay out of trouble, much less than stay fit.

Dyer? I thought that was a shocking investment. Upson ... well I only had my Brummie mate to go by and he thought he wasn’t worth the money. But he was an England international so I thought he was a sound investment.

I was disappointed when Curbishley failed to recognise what the footballing world knew - Carlos Tevez was, well, actually the dog’s b***ocks. Mascherano too, I thought was an excellent signing and neither of whom I would have thought I could have seen at West Ham United in my lifetime.

Anyway, suffice to say we avoided the drop - none of which Curbishley had an active part in playing, I thought. Noble was actually forced into the team as Reo-Coker was suspended and Quashie being (and still being) injured. Tevez got the nod from the constant baying of the fans, and the fact that no one else could score. To be honest he did everything he could do, NOT to play Tevez. Well it seemed that way to me at the time. The Collins/Ferdinand partnership seemed to be more by luck than judgment.

This year has been such a dismal effort in terms of players not being fit; getting fit and then re-injured; injured never to return; injured to return injured and seemingly taking forever to return; injured with various ailments that seemed to take a turn for the worse.

Perhaps if the medical staffs were fired and a new set hired I think the club would be making progress. I do not however, see a new dawn arising. I see safe, effective football of the same type that Curbishley played himself. I think he is a decent person who won’t be seen shagging a player’s wife. I don’t think I will see him in the NOTW setting off fire extinguishers in the early hours of the morning.

What I don’t see though is the prospect of improvement. Not long term anyway. When we are battering the opponent and winning 1-0, I don’t want to see us going 4-5-1. I want to see us go for it. I don’t want to see us concede as many goals as we have from set pieces. That’s easily solvable.

If I HAD to have my arm-twisted I would most certainly have to say Curbishley OUT. It doesn’t make me happy at all as he IS on of our own, I didn’t or don’t want him to fail. I do however see someone always looking to place the blame on injured players (who had a track record when he bought them) or blaming the fans for not lifting the team when sometimes it takes the team to lift the fans.

Just for once mate hold your hand up and say, "I cocked up, I will try to do better next time."

We at West Ham are a forgiving lot most of the time.

Curbs OUT! - says leeo272

Consolidate [verb]: to make markedly greater in measure or degree.

Anyone who knows the London Underground reasonably well will know about Aldgate station and has probably spent many accumulated hours sat there not moving anywhere, usually squashed into the armpit of any number of overweight City boys and immigrant cleaners. Aldgate is adjacent to the major track junction in the east of London which often causes trains to have to wait for prolonged periods of time for others to get out of the way.

Many is the time I have sat there inebriated, clock watching as my last train from Liverpool Street nears departure while I sit there going nowhere, wondering how the hell I’m going to get home again while a feeling of anger, frustration and helplessness enveloping my being, getting tighter by the second. The longer this goes on the greater my appetency to leave my seat and assault the train driver becomes. Since three o’clock on Saturday the 1st of March I’ve felt a similar ambience every time I enter the Chicken Run.

The West Ham United for which I pay around £800 to see for nineteen league games only is not the West Ham United I have seen since we crossed the forty point barrier against Fulham at Craven Cottage. The blame for this undoubtedly has many bearers, the main suspect being Alan Curbishley.

Now I am not a fan who requires a top ten finish and a trophy run every season. All I ask is that my West Ham teams objectives every time they play are to win the game and more often than not string three or more passes together, preferably in a forwardly direction. I don’t believe this is an especially unrealistic expectation.

None of these have been particularly prevalent since that, and actually including that, game at Fulham, Liverpool away being the worst example where we spent over half an hour trying to cling to a one nil defeat before going on to concede another three. Our recent performances along with our manager’s constant post match bleating show no signs of giving a toss about displaying any of the basic responsibilities of a West Ham United team at any time of the season; effort and passes on the floor.

Curbishley’s passion this season has been injuries, both collecting them and using them as a handy excuse to order his players to lump the ball up to our centre forward while providing no support from the midfield who all have to stay back to protect the defence. Why none of the available players have been able to pass the ball much themselves is still a mystery.

West Ham fans showed remarkable patience with this early in the season as we knew things were bad with injuries but were of the unfounded understanding that the injured players would soon be back and then you’d see what the team were capable of. The time frame for this has now been extended to some time next season. We shall see.

Right now we are stuck at that junction wondering if we will ever make it to where we really ought to be. All the while with a sweaty bog cleaners BO burning through our eyes as the other trains glide past us right on schedule.

Stuck in no-man's land - says bubbles1966

In March 2007, West Ham United teetered on the edge of the abyss. Relegation seemed certain.

A combination of great individual performances, a kind run of fixtures plus a healthy dose of dubious officiating kept them up. Some claim Alan Curbishley was instrumental in this, others say he fluked it. In the end though, its about league position and results. Curbishley got them.

Come Summer 2007, the club was buzzing with anticipation. The board talked big, the end of season surge in form offered great promise and £28 million was spent on new players to add to £15 million in January.

Alan Curbishley had been offered an opportunity and funds to shape a team and squad like no West Ham manager before him.

The season to 31st January delivered on what was promised. A mid-table position had been secured and maintained from November. Curbishley’s tactics had delivered strong away form with convincing victories at Reading and Derby in particular. At home, Manchester United and Liverpool had been conquered.

Cries for better football were tempered by the knowledge that West Ham had rarely, if ever, looked so accomplished defensively. They could be relied to put up a fight against everyone, and whatever their failings players like Cole, Mullins, Bowyer, Etherington and McCartney were all responding with performances that made the most of their respective qualities hinting at Curbishley’s qualities as man motivator. Meanwhile the team went on a run of just 3 defeats in 15 games (all narrow to top five teams).

Then, it all started to turn sour. The January transfer window came and went with the team four points from a European place. A lack of activity signalled complacency. The faith in the return to fitness of the summer signings also proved misguided. When this was added to the way results unfolded in the domestic Cup competitions, plus the clubs unwillingness to register for the Intertoto Cup, a message of “season over” had been communicated.

Performances and results disappeared along with a sense of motivation and organisation. Still, the club sits in 10th, a sort of Premiership “No Man’s Land”, almost unmoved for nearly 6 months.

The real question is: "Can Curbishley lead the club from 'No Man's Land' to 'the Promised Land?'"

Whether he should stay or go depends on the level of trust the board have in him. If they conclude that he cannot be trusted to sign players who will stay fit and provide a return for the investment, it is a matter of time before he must go. Possibly the summer, certainly autumn. However, history shows it takes three years to build attractive, successful football teams at West Ham. Lyall needed it. So did Redknapp.

If Curbishley stays the board must back him again in the summer, trusting him to learn from his mistakes. The epidemic of injuries must end. Ineffective, always injured players must go. But the signs of progress must constantly be there.

Otherwise, the exit beckons.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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