About This Whole West Ham Thing

I could not care less who the manager of West Ham United is.

It may be an unfashionable thing to say. But I'm a maverick, so what do I care?

Dignity, apparently
It is not a stance borne from any residual hatred or even dislike for West Ham in particular. Indeed, if pushed I could probably name several Premiership, and non-Premiership teams, and fans, whose very existence galls me more. I am aware of a belief amongst certain fans that there is a cartel working within the media with a fondness for Upton Park, and that as such they get more than their fair share of coverage. But, like the "Alan Green (apologies for the language) is  a United / Liverpool* fan" debate, it makes no difference to me in my little enclave of Nottinghamshire.

But this whole sorry saga over their manager has moved me to put finger to keyboard in a way unknown of on this blog until now. Heady days indeed.

Now, I am not for one moment suggesting I am the first to be moved to write to no-one in particular.  And regular readers (hi mum) will be delighted to know this doesn't herald a marked departure into a blog you have to read. But this is my blog. I was good at English 20 years ago when I took my GCSE's. I also had a mullet, and if this post is a success, who knows what else may get reinstated?

Gold, Sullivan and Brady have previous in screwing with football clubs, of course. And, naively, you kind of thought they would have learned from that experience. Learned that football clubs thrive under careful stewardship. Learned that football managers, like EVERY OTHER EMPLOYEE THAT EVER WALKED GOD'S EARTH, are likely to perform better when they are secure in their position, working to a long term aim. And, perhaps most importantly, football fans are likely to support their club in ever-greater numbers if they believe it is being run in a professional and proper manner. And such a consideration might be important if, say, you were in the process of looking to move to a soon-to-be-redundant sporting arena with a few more seats than your spiritual home.

Pencil skirts
Kicking Karen Brady is easy. Which isn't to say one shouldn't indulge. Examples of similarly clueless Managing Directors are ten-a-penny of course. And examples of similarly publicity-hungry wastes of human flesh are equally populace. But really, what business does anyone have texting players asking them to break ranks against the incumbent manager?

Hat hair
As a mark of how little I normally care (or possibly how little I have researched before typing) I couldn't tell you which one of the other two clowns is Sullivan, and which one is Gold. Although I suspect the clue might lie in the ridiculous headgear one of them carries at all times. It's the next step up from Ant always standing on the left. What I do know is that their bulldog licking a wasp off a nettle expressions rarely change, and this gives me no end of pleasure. Watching their money bankroll such an unmitigated disaster must really stick in their throat. Alas, they are too egotistical, too self-aggrandising, to understand that, like their Birmingham experiment, the fault does not lie with Carlton Cole, or Matthew Upson. And most definitely not with Avram Grant (although there is a very strong case for saying he isn't any good, of which more in a moment) No, the root cause of all that is wrong with West Ham today sits in the board room. That there were problems at The Boleyn long before that, and that blood must surely still be on "our 'Arry"'s hands to this day is a topic for bloggers more passionate than I.

Budget Santa
But what of Avram Grant? The man stumbled into a job at Chelsea, and with a squad the envy of every other team in the league he won THE SUM TOTAL OF NAFF ALL. Within a year he was dismissed. This didn't stop the comedic cavalcade of Portsmouth thinking he was the man to salvage the good ship Pompey. With a squad that definitely wasn't the envy of every other club in the league, he won THE SQUARE ROOT OF NAFF ALL, and Portsmouth were relegated. So obviously, West Ham seized the opportunity to plant him at the helm. And to date, Grant has won.... four games.

Defenders, apologists, call them what you will, but they will point to a Champions League Final with Chelsea, an FA Cup final with Pompey, and very possibly a League Cup final with West Ham, of course. And they would be right to. But at that time Chelsea's raison d'etre was WINNING the Champions League. Portsmouth had won the FA Cup a couple of years previously, and today would happily swap a day out at Wembley for a day out at Wigan, I'm sure. As would West Ham.

So, yeah, Avram Grant not a very good manager. But the clowns at Upton Park knew this. And yet they gave him a four year contract only a matter of months ago. To be looking to squeeze him out this early reflects poorly upon their own judgement. And allows Grant to "handle himself with great dignity" as the media are so fond of saying. But what the lunatics who are in charge of the asylum fail to understand is that the manner in which they are seen to conduct their business is serving only to make working them ever more unpalatable. Just ask Mr O Neill.

For someone who professed at the start of this piece to not give a rat's ass, I appreciate I have gone on a bit. But then this is just a reflection of the way the whole episode has saturated our TVs, radios and papers of late. Maybe there is a Wham bias as the more conspiratorial would have us believe. And maybe there isn't. But there is an awful acrid smell emanating from East London. And it is poorly dressed smell at that.

*delete as appropriate
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Rogue Cannons said...
18 January 2011 at 19:24

Good piece. West Ham really are a joke under the leadership of these guys - Grant included. Grant seems to keep fooling everyone that he's a decent manager but ultimately, who's the mug? Not him! He's raking in the cash! Hopefully this is the last we'll see of him!

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