Belfast Telegraph

Ham fisted

Dithering West Ham were last night running the risk of another Martin O’Neill knockback as they stalled yet again on doomed manager Avram Grant’s public execution.

The job is O’Neill’s, if he wants it, but the former Northern Ireland World Cup captain is unlikely to be impressed by the ham-fisted conduct of poor Grant’s imminent departure.

Grant was still clinging to his job last night despite a 3-0 home defeat by Arsenal that kept the Hammers rock bottom of the Premiership — and despite the widespread expectation emanating from the club that he is set to be replaced by 58-year-old O’Neill.

The former Aston Villa and Celtic boss is desperately wanted by West Ham’s owners to reverse what they believe is a losing battle against relegation under Grant.

They were given no encouragement by O’Neill in an earlier approach through an intermediary but launched a second bid as club sources made known their intentions to axe Grant yesterday regardless of the Arsenal result.

But they hedged yet again on an official announcement on Grant’s future, creating further uncertainty over O’Neill’s desire to link up with a club seemingly lacking the purpose and direction that is his hallmark.

Having identified O’Neill as their saviour, West Ham chiefs have been unconvincing in their pursuit and look to have more work to do to persuade him.

The naming of former Spurs boss Martin Jol as a fallback only serves to complicate matters further.

For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.

Belfast Telegraph

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