The situation at Upton Park is rapidly approaching critical. Bottom of the table and 5 points off safety, something has to change, and fast. With both David Gold and David Sullivan standing by their managerial appointment of Avram Grant, and Grant himself insisting he is the right man to lead the Hammers out of their current predicament, it seems it will not be the Israeli’s departure that will bring about a change in West Ham’s fortunes. But are Gold and Sullivan right to stick by their man? And how bad does it have to get for Grant to be shown the exit?
Losing at Anfield is no disgrace, even against a Liverpool side that has less than covered itself in glory this season, but it was the manner of the defeat on Merseyside that was so disappointing. For vast swathes of the match West Ham were a non entity, awful with the ball, and worse without it, as the pressure and marking for Liverpool’s third goal amply showed. Having actually not played badly over the past few weeks, the ineptitude of Saturday’s performance came as a bit of a shock, even if the eventual result didn’t. It is one thing losing, it is another losing the way West Ham lost to Liverpool.
I am of the school of thought that you need to give a manager time to make a team and a squad his own, but when you are rooted to the foot of your respective division, then time is something you just don’t have. Being bottom at Christmas might not mean automatic relegation, as West Brom proved, but the psychological damage to side that are not exactly brimming with self-confidence and self-belief would be devastating. Something has to change, and the only thing that would quickly change the fortunes of the side is another man taking the helm.
I have a lot of time and respect for Avram Grant, especially after the dignity he showed in charge of Portsmouth, but his appointment at West Ham has been an ill-fitting arrangement from the start, and if West Ham don’t want to be playing their football at grounds like Glanford Park rather than The Emirates next season then they must act sooner rather than later. Gold and Sullivan seem to be very patient men when it comes to their own appointments, but having heard the away fans’ dissatisfaction with the performance and the manager at Anfield, even their patience must be wearing thin.