Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Alan Green: New boss can Curb Hammers decline

When I wrote what I did last weekend about Alan Pardew, I honestly didn't anticipate that Eggert Magnusson would move so quickly. But you've got to hand it to West Ham's new Icelandic chairman: he didn't hang around.

When I wrote what I did last weekend about Alan Pardew, I honestly didn't anticipate that Eggert Magnusson would move so quickly. But you've got to hand it to West Ham's new Icelandic chairman: he didn't hang around.



And although he must have been tempted to approach his buddy, Sven Goran Eriksson - a move that '6-0-6' callers told me would go down like a lead balloon - Magnusson has made the right appointment.

Alan Curbishley has always been a 'Hammer' as well as being an exceptional, and still young, manager.



He knows though, that, like his chairman, there's no time to mess around.

There are serious problems at the club that Alan Pardew didn't create and had little responsibility for.



Just what are Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano doing at Upton Park?

We've hardly seen the latter and the former, while at times looking a very good player, has yet to score and doesn't seem remotely in tandem with his colleagues.



Some of those 'colleagues' themselves need a kick up the backside. I was never taken with the hugely complimentary reviews given to Nigel Reo-Coker.

He's a good player, yes, but many football writers - and you'd be surprised to hear how many of them are close to West Ham fans - made him out to be the next Lampard or Gerrard. He isn't.



Reo-Coker has an inflated notion of his own ability. Though Arsenal's August move for the player might turn anybody's head, the West Ham captain clearly believes he's already a star and worthy of a bigger stage.

Well, maybe Nigel if you ever start playing again the way you did at times last season.



He isn't alone, unfortunately. Although Pardew himself dismissed any thought of such an ailment, West Ham are undoubtedly suffering from 'second-seasonitis'. It's not the first season in the Premiership that is so difficult.

Players are lifted by the newness of their surroundings and benefit too from opponents knowing less about them. By the time of the second season those advantages are lost.



Maybe too many are following the example set by the captain, thinking they'd already made it, Hayden Mullins being a shining exception.



Whatever. Curbishley will shake them up very quickly. He knows the Premiership and performed miracles keeping Charlton in it.

Though he's twice before turned down approaches from West Ham, the timing on this occasion was well nigh perfect.



"I have to admit that watching Chelsea and Arsenal made me realise how much I miss the drama and the theatre of Premiership football. I found myself caught up in it. The excitement of such matches is something that affects anybody in love with the game," he said.



Curbishley could hardly have picked a better fixture with which to resume his personal experience of such pleasures: Manchester United play at Upton Park tomorrow afternoon.

Pearce dives in with honesty

My last two commentaries saw occasion to provoke hope and despair, in equal measure, to those of us who feel that diving is one of the evils of modern day football.



After the Manchester derby, City boss Stuart Pearce refused the normal 'get-outs' for managers. "Yes" he did see Corradi dive - scandalously so: "yes" he deserved to be sent off and "yes" Pearce would be telling his Italian striker to cut it out. Wonderful.



Then, the next day, much of my optimism was swept away at Stamford Bridge.

I gather that some observers on Sky Sports thought the antics of Lehmann and Drogba were very funny. Arsene Wenger thought their behaviour "comedic" .



Shame on them and shame on him. Lehmann and Drogba are both excellent players. The German is probably the best goalkeeper, bar Cech, in the Premiership. Drogba is an early candidate as Footballer of the Year.



But they were pathetic last Sunday in the way they threw themselves to the ground and it's not a laughing matter. Instead, they're a cause for condemnation.

What a pity Stuart Pearce isn't their manager.

Everton must abandon 'shed'

Tomorrow I visit Goodison Park for the second time in a fortnight.

Despite its dismissive reputation amongst Liverpool supporters as a 'shed', I feel the ground remains one of the most atmospheric of English football venues.



But, undoubtedly, it is old, it is rundown and it no longer meets the needs, financial or otherwise, of Everton F.C. The club has to move.



'Staying' is not an option. Because of the surrounding housing, Goodison cannot grow and, in practical terms, it cannot be rebuilt.



No matter that most Evertonians felt as hostile to the thought as did fans of the Reds, there had been a hope that the two Merseyside clubs might share a new ground but Liverpool always wanted the Stanley Park venture to be all their own and the Dubai takeover now makes that a certainty.



So, it appears there is only one deal on the table for Everton - to go into partnership with Kirkby Council and Tesco and move outside of the city boundaries.



I can understand the anger and frustration of the club's fans. I sympathise.

But I agree with chairman Bill Kenwright: there's no other option.

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