Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: After Grant’s treatment, why would Martin want West Ham job?

I have no particularly strong feelings about whether or not Avram Grant is, or ever was, the right man to manage West Ham. What I am sure of is that he’s been treated abysmally by the trio that runs that club.



I was at Upton Park last week for the Carling Cup semi-final first leg. It was a match that, once Victor Obinna had himself ridiculously sent off, the Hammers should have lost.

Birmingham have only themselves to blame for missing an opportunity to put one foot in the final. But West Ham fought doggedly to force an unlikely win.

I simply don’t know how much of that was down to Grant but those in claret and blue certainly looked like people ‘playing for the manager’ — it was made painfully obvious before kick-off that someone was going to get the sack no matter the result.

Yet the Board meeting came and went with no announcement made. Where they embarrassed by the victory?

Then, on Saturday evening, West Ham had to play Arsenal without their key man, Scott Parker, and Mark Noble had to retire injured soon after the game started. And Arsenal were very, very good. No wonder they won easily.

Afterwards the Israeli displayed remarkable dignity and composure. He threw his West Ham scarf into the crowd as the clearest signal that it was his last game in charge. How could anyone not feel sorry for him?

That the whole saga has staggered on into this week is beyond belief. Is there no shame about what Grant is being put through? Are the (Karren) Brady bunch still caught up in negotiations? Because no-one will persuade me to believe that they’re not lining someone up before they sack Grant. It is the most appalling behaviour.

Now, at first, I simply couldn’t imagine Martin O’Neill being interested in the job. Actually, I still can’t so I admit I was surprised that he suddenly became ‘odds-on favourite’. What on earth is the attraction?

If he walked out on Aston Villa because of a different vision of the future from that of Randy Lerner, I am at a complete loss to understand how West Ham would be better.

Remember, during the summer, David Sullivan said that, aside from Parker, EVERY West Ham player was available for transfer!

How’s that for running a football club? And, in recent days you had Brady, who wouldn’t know a football player from the back end of a bus, explaining in her newspaper column (!!!) that she’d stopped the transfer of Steve Sidwell from Villa.

Has O’Neill thought through the joys of working with that duo?

Sure, he might have the powers of motivation to wrest West Ham away from the calamities of relegation but is he so desperate to return to management that he’s willing to hitch his fortunes, and his reputation, to this particular wagon? Is his judgement that bad?

Further, and you’ll need to whisper this quietly in Martin’s vicinity, IF he keeps them up, how long will West Ham supporters tolerate his, let’s say, brand of direct football?

No, I don’t get any of this.

Belfast Telegraph

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