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Friday, 17 December 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Avram Grant

Avram Grant a man who looks like he could turn milk sour by looking at it with his straight-faced approach. This seems to have a major effect on his relationship with his clubs fans and allows more pressure on him then necessary.

With West Ham at the bottom of the premier league this season questions are being asked about his managerial ability, highlighting that he has never been at a club as manager for more than one season, and his last club Portsmouth were relegated.

However lets look at the scenarios that Avram has faced when going into management. His first stint in charge of a club in the Premier League was at Chelsea replacing arguably their best manger in the clubs history Jose Mourinho. He managed to pick up the shell shocked players and guided them to second in the premier league taking it to the last game of the season and missing out by one point and also guided them to the champions league final (the only Chelsea manager to do this) where a slip cost him the glory of being the first Chelsea manager to taste European glory.

The second was the ill-fated reign at Portsmouth FC where he faced domestic transfer bans, point’s deductions, unpaid wages and the threat of being wound up and the club being put out of business hanging over him for the whole season.

Whilst his team were relegated (but then I challenge Ferguson, Mourinho or Wenger to say they could have saved them from relegation) he got the players to play and work as hard as possible for the club and guided them to the FA Cup final losing out to Chelsea who had just been crowned premier league champions and were on the verge of completing their first league and cup double in the clubs history so a win was always going to be a very hard task. The fans will always appreciate Grant for that season and allowing them one more memorable day out at Wembley. The signs of that season was that Avram Grant was not the boring mono toned uninspired manager.

And so he went to West Ham another club that was marred with financial problems, a club with new owners who had by their standards a very poor season and only just survived relegation. So far there have not been too many complaints about the style of football West Ham have played this season with an unbelievable 4-1 win over Manchester United meaning West Ham make the semi final of the league Cup for the first time in a decade.

This season has been the strangest of seasons and if West Ham can get a little bit of luck they could easily end up finishing mid table.

With the sacking of Sam Allardyce giving West Ham owners food for thought as a potential ready-made replacement waiting in the wings, will Avram survive to see out the season?  I am not sure but I do believe that club requires managerial stability and I believe Avram can be the man to guide them to silverware and premier league safety. The question is can people see the potential and get past the perception of Avram being the most boring manager or will the cries for the long ball specialist Allardyce become too loud for the owners to bear?


  1. Let me introduce you to two of my friends: Messrs Spelling and Grammar...

  2. Rather than respond with a snide or sarky comment, I'll try to address the article as a whole.

    First: Avram's spell at Chelsea. I agree that following Mourinho was always a tough ask in terms of placating the fans, but by all accounts he was just picking the starting XI while his training methods were so outdated they allegedly had the players themselves in disbelief.

    Also, you say no one could have kept Portsmouth up. By the same token you could argue no one could have failed to finish in the top 2 with that Chelsea team.

    And that brings me on to the year at Portsmouth. It's pretty clear that the cup run took the focus away from what was a shocking season even bearing in mind what he had to deal with.

    Few would disagree that West Ham, Hull and (for the second half of the season) Burnley were atrocious last year, yet - even without the 9 point deduction - Portsmouth would have finished below all 3.

    Given what has gone before, I feel the onus is on Grant to prove he is at least as good as the players at his disposal. This is the first season where he has had a chance to build his own team, and so far they have been an embarrassment. He will probably be given time to try to turn it around, but I only see one outcome for West Ham