Grant... what improvement?

Surely anyone who witnessed the predictable defeat by Manchester City now knows that nothing will improve the situation under the current management.

We are bottom still, we will be bottom at Christmas and only one side in the Premier League era has escaped the drop from that position..West Brom.

Avram Grant keeps telling us we are getting better. Now he has started to talk gibberish by suggestion managerial success is not based on points and winning matches. And he's come up with another four matches we must do well in if we are to turn things around.

We've been here before. The Birmingham, Blackpool, West Brom and Liverpool run were earmarked as games we could pick up points from. We got three.

Now it's Blackburn and Fulham away and the home games with Everton and Wolves. Last season these four corresponding fixtures produced one point .

It is hard to see how Grant believes these games will be much different this term, because we are not getting better despite the spin being offered to the fans. This side is no better than last season's.

West Ham have won just six of 35 league games this year. We are not improving. We have no power in our game, no strength to match someone like Yaya Toure. We lack pace and intensity, and there is no obvious leadership on the field, although Scott Parker leads by example, at least.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce pointed out a week or so ago that we have an England goalkeeper, centre-back, midfielder and striker through the spine of our side. But that does not seem to impact on the rest of the players.

I'm not one who wants to see outpourings of passion and pride from our players, I just want to see concentration and possession. One follows the other but we continually give the ball away very cheaply.

An interesting stats from Saturday's game shows that Manchester City made over 500 accurate passes against our 310. That sort of ratio has been the norm all season. Barcelona made over 900 passes in defeating Real Sociedad on Sunday, eat your heart out Premier League.

What was so distressing on Saturday was that for a 20 minute spell in the second-half we were playing as well as we have done for a while. But it came to nothing. We are still suffering from rubbish refereeing decisions, but we are not improving, Avram.

He keeps saying we are just a couple of wins away from mid-table. Well, Blackpool are mid-table and they are ten points ahead of us with a vastly better goal difference. We will need four wins to get anywhere near them.

And that's the rub this season. Few would have expected the likes of Blackpool, West Brom, Bolton, Sunderland or Stoke to be where they are. I don't accept that their players are much different to ours, and they are certainly unlikely to be paid as much.

Our owners have been very patient with Grant, he is their appointment and someone they want to see succeed. They have a history of not panicking and that is creditable. Just as creditable as the owners' beefed up commercial side, merchandising, ticket sales and all the things that must be done to improve our business model and financial position.

I have a sneaking respect for their brand of doing business. They can turn a bob or two, their marketing is pro-active, like knocking out thousands of home shirts for ?10 that were found in the warehouse last season. And no, I don't really care how they make their money as long as it is legal.

Gold, Sullivan and Brady have replaced an indifferent previous regime with positive action. Prior to that we were owned by a bank who only wanted to make a profit on the asset they had acquired from an even more financially embarrassed owner.

But our current owners must surely see that nothing will improve our situation on the pitch until the manager is changed. The drive and inspiration isn't there.

Grant makes great play of being big mates with Alex Ferguson, and he only seems to get animated on the line when he's pumping hands and joking with his rival boss. Be it Fergie or Bruce.

But he is clearly a friend, not a rival. It reminds me of the cheerful relationship that Jose Mourinho had with then Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd, all backslapping and laughing on the line. Then it was pointed out to me that Mourinho is only like that with people he does not see as a rival, his behaviour with Benitez and Wenger was very different.

Nobody sees Grant as a rival and it is beginning to look like he is being patronised. Maybe Avram could tap Fergie for a couple of decent loan signings like Danny Wellbeck, Tom Cleverley, Mama Diouf or even sell us a good young defender like Craig Cathcart. All four are playing in the Premier League for our rivals.

Maybe we cannot afford to sack Grant, with his contract. But something has to be done, and soon. There are plenty of decent managers out of contract and looking for work, one - Alan Pardew - has just gone to Newcastle despite being heavily touted for a return to the Boleyn.

Martin O'Neill, Chris Hughton and Martin Jol are all available. Would any of them do a worse job than Grant is currently managing?

Personally the only good bit about Saturday was the bunch of lads I travelled down from the north with to see the game. This fixture has for several years been an excuse for a group of Man City fans I've known for years to make a day of it in the smoke with me and the family.

It's been that way for a few years now. We find a dodgy Irish pub at Kings Cross, hook up with an equally great bunch of Hammers fans at London Bridge and then sink a few before the mad-cap race to Upton Park on the increasingly unreliable weekend Tube service.

Real fans, rivals but mates and it's a top day out. But on the way back we realised it may be a while before we can do it again, such is West Ham's plight.

The toast was City for the title (I've got no problems with that as long as it's not Chelsea, Man Utd or Spurs) and West Ham to stay up. Sadly, I'm not holding my breath about the second bit.

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