West Ham United are in the process of grooming ex-players to become a potential future manager of the club. Interviews with Julian Dicks, Kenny Brown, Steve Potts, Ian Pearce and Steve Lomas took place last week for a coaching role on Avram Grant’s staff which provides an endless list of debate. The Irons are certainly looking to the future but is it likely that a former Hammer will lead to the team to success?
First of all it makes a change for the club looking to help Avram Grant on the coaching side with the recent calamity over the Martin O’Neill approach. It is possible that the recent comments by Carlton Cole praising Scott Parker’s half-time war cry has persuaded the board that there is a need for more motivation on the Hammers dugout. Personally I don’t see it as a discredit to Grant’s abilities who takes a calmer approach to management and it sounds like Parker was fulfilling his duties as captain with great affect. In regards to a recent article about the lack of long term managers, this proposed move for a future successor to Grant looks very positive.
Identity is one of the most important foundations to any football club. For example, Arsene Wenger’s long spell in charge of Arsenal has seen them have a huge identity change to his predecessors with the likes of George Graham and the infamous “1-0 to the Arsenal” label. If West Ham are to groom one of these ex-players through the coaching set-up and into first team management then it could make a positive change to the football club in terms of identity and direction – something that has been lacking at Upton Park over the years.
However it will only be a positive move if they pick the right man and out of the potential five candidates, who looks best fit for the role? The first name that caught my attention was Julian Dicks, the former West Ham and Liverpool left-back is currently in charge of non-league side Grays Athletic. Would he take his ‘hard man’ style of playing into management? Hammers fans wouldn’t have to worry about their team playing with passion if ‘Dicksie’ was to be man however it would be a huge step up from the level of non-league football. Perhaps a more sensible choice would be Kenny Brown who is Dicksie’s assistant at Grays. Brown may not have played for the Hammers as long as his current boss but his father Ken Brown is a former coach of the club and made over 400 appearances for the East London side. With their current roles at Grays it would be likely that these two would come as a partnership which could make a wise move as long as they are given the right support and guidance by the club.
Alternatively, former captain Steve Potts who was an apprentice at Upton Park making one short of 400 appearances for United. Although ‘Pottsy’ is busy driving a black cab rather than seeing a football pitch these days, his son Danny is currently at the club. Former Northern Irish midfielder Steve Lomas has gained his coaching badges and looking to get into football management; Lomas spent several years at the club. Last but not least, Ian Pearce who has assistant managerial experience with Lincoln City this season could be in for the running. However, the duo of Julian Dicks and Kenny Brown appears to be more sensible.
If the club are to groom some of these ex-players within the club into a future coaching staff then I believe it could bode well for the club who have not had a manager serve more five years since Harry Redknapp in the 1990s. But whether those mentioned have the managerial skills to succeed with the club remains to be seen, but in theory it can only be a move in the right direction.