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Yet more of a circus


Filed: Tuesday, 18th January 2011
By: Paul Walker


You couldn’t make it up…sadly though at West Ham you don’t have to, because every day seems to bring more shambolic nonsense.

You couldn’t make it up…sadly though at West Ham you don’t have to, because every day seems to bring more shambolic nonsense.

Martin O’Neill says no, so a board who were intent on sacking Avram Grant weeks ago because results were so bad, end up with a half-hearted commitment to the manager.

Half-hearted because it came on the end of a brief, terse, club statement supporting Karren Brady and threatening to uncover the mole at Chadwell Heath who leaked even more allegations about our part-time vice chairman to the media.

And there’s the threat of legal action against the Mirror. Strange that our leaders seem more concerned with discovering the mole at the training ground rather than finding out which muppet it was who leaked the O’Neill story not only to Sky but also the national media - because they all had the story - on Saturday morning.

That wrecked any chance of O’Neill taking the job, the last thing he wanted was for folk to think he’d been talking to the board while Grant was still employed. The unwritten no-no of the managerial industry.

Saturday’s farce clearly upset the players, left a 32,000 crowd confused and concerned, and a manager hung out to dry.

Players don’t need many reasons to blame others for a bad performance, and that is just what we got. A much-weakened side totally outplayed in front of a TV audience.

Maybe that performance convinced O’Neill he was making a mistake. Who knows?

Neill is notorious for being very careful and not wanting to take risks that would damage his career CV. He’s had countless job opportunities over the years, Liverpool as well as Leeds, and pulled away from them. Just why he’d take on West Ham
- despite a reported £3m bonus for avoiding the drop - is anyone’s guess.

Now the board are threatening legal action over the allegations that texts were sent to players regarding Grant‘s future. Martin Lipton wrote that in the Mirror and Matt Lawton in the Mail, although the Mail carefully avoided putting a name to the texts in print.

It’s a lot easier to show which mobile sent messages than it is to prove who actually pressed the keys!

I would describe Lipton and Lawton as respected former colleagues of mine, who are not prone to making things up. And you can bet the Mirror 'legalled' the story carefully.

What is needed now is for Brady to prove she was not responsible for anything, and to also distance herself from suggestions she was involved in Saturday’s debacle, in some way.

She may well be totally innocent, but fans need to see her credibility restored, and quickly before her position becomes untenable.

Now we are left with a squad, dysfunctional at best, angry with the way their manager has been treated. Sadly, in all this, there’s not been a twitter of how badly us fans are being treated, but nobody seems to care about the paying customers who have loved our club all their lives, and how let-down we feel by this circus.

And while I’m on the subject, I really don’t want to see a mid-range agent like Barry Silkman - who seems to have so much say in what happens over transfers - being sought out by Sky as some sort of club spokesman while he’s at the races.

Silkman, I believe, is an associate of the people who handle Grant’s career, who in turn are close to the Chelsea hierarchy and Roman Abramovic. As Grant has said of late: 'don’t worry about me, I’ll be OK'. Too right he will be, whatever happens at the Boleyn.

Grant now has public sympathy, as well as the media’s. And our fans feel likewise as they see another manager being treated in the same way as Zola was.

So now, a manager many felt should have been sacked in November for poor results, has won the fight for the high morale ground even if he has only won three of our last 16 league games and picked up 15 points from the last 48. Scoring just a goal a game on average.

That is why he was going to be sacked in the first place, but our rulers cannot even get that right. He was for the chop, it should have been done quickly not the painful way we have been witnessing.

And even more worrying is that there are rumours now that Grant has been put under intense pressure by the club of late, almost inviting him to quit. That may or may not be true, but we are left with a manager who on current form is taking us down, cup results should not mask this situation.

The board may be right, any many would agree in their assessment. But they have embarrassed the fans and turned the club into a laughing stock trying to achieve their objective. As I said, you can’t make it up.


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.







Your Comments


by gareth price
02:14AM 22nd Jan 2011
''Just reading all the comments about the article; sad, sad days for what was once our club. Welcome to corporate football and all who sail in its filth. The very heart of West Ham has been ripped out thanks to Curly, Larry and the one with the perm. Time to vote with our feet.''

by Jim
06:25PM 21st Jan 2011
''I would be amazed if the legal threats from the club amount to anything. It's a ruse designed to distract attention from their incompetence. No-one will be sued. The club will just hope the story goes away. ''

by gareth price
10:50AM 20th Jan 2011
''I agree with everything written, you hit the nail on the head. 40-odd years I've supported this club, we were a family club with players that cared. You paid your money on the turnstiles and were entertained on the pitch, not off it.

This mob never took West Ham over because they were supporters, the Boleyn is nothing but real estate and hopefully Spurs get the other stadium. We are going the way of Leeds and Southampton, it's just a matter of time.''

by matthew glyde
09:05PM 19th Jan 2011
''Absolutely spot on article, can't praise it enough, you even manage to write about Grant without swearing! You have self control that I find very difficult at the moment.

I knew he was not the man for the job in June and I e-mailed and wrote to the board telling them as much with suprise suprise, no response. After this debacle I have once again written to the three protagonists and vented my anger, and e-mailed anybody at West Ham I had an e-mail address for.

It's a very sad time for West Ham as this board and the totally inept manager will take us to the Championship this season and maybe then oblivion. I like you mentioned in my mail how sickening it was to see Barry Silkman announcing Grant's stay of execution on At The Races, after being physically sick I then felt like it was my own execution.

Having made the trip to Liverpool this year and also witnessed the 5-0 thumping by Newcastle I feel I have the right to be bitter, but do I expect a reply to my letter? No chance, but maybe Silkman will give me an explanantion next time I am at the races.''

by
09:16AM 19th Jan 2011
''Well said. I could not agree with you more. It has been a total embarrassment to the club over the last couple of weeks.

I can honestly say that being a West Ham fan is... well I am lost for words.
This is the lowest the club has ever been.

We got out of relegation last time. But this time we haven't got anybody who can score goals.

I think that regardless of West Ham's debts Messrs Sullivan & Gold should dip their hands into the bank accounts and invest into buying three more quality players not has beens 0R ON LOAD DEALS until the end of the season.

Bring in coaching staff for the forwards and midfield who know what they are doing. Di Canio is the man to help the strikers.

If they want to get the Olympic Stadium they know that they will have to survive in the Premier League, but with the way things are at the moment I personally cannt see thes happening.

So Mr Sullivan & Gold wake up and start acting now before it's too late. ''

by Graham Arnold
08:41PM 18th Jan 2011
''Call me old fashioned but our directors used to handle West Ham's affairs with dignity - now we have rabble in charge that are expert self-publicists and don't care who they hurt or insult in the process. They boast about being West Ham supporters but they haven't a clue how we feel or how insulted we are by their actions.

May I remind them that we are a club with a proud history, we are proud supporters of our club and now it is time to stick together and force them out. Let the Claret and Blue army that travel to Birmingham next week make it known that they cannot treat us like fools.

For anyone that remembers this is worse than the introduction of the Bond Scheme or the Terrence Brown affair.''

by stevet
07:56PM 18th Jan 2011
''Well said Paul. West Ham supporters are so loyal but I have to say with all that's gone on over the last few years I am starting to lose my love for the club.''

by tom
06:42PM 18th Jan 2011
''I have now given up on west ham, the ownes are a joke but why is anyone surprised? They made their money by being snakes and nothing has changed except the field they are hunting in. Sadly my hate for the way our club is being run is now spilling into evrything including me wishing we lose on Saturday to Everton just so the owners look even more foolish. See you all in the Championship next season. ''

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