Manager Avram Grant has been in an untenable position due to the apparent desperation of the club’s owners to get rid of him and bring in a new man. It was a scarcely hidden secret that they had approached Martin O’Neill to take over the running of the team. They refused to publicly back Grant and it seemed to be a done deal.
Then O’Neill, unhappy that the news of his pending appointment had been leaked to the media decided, probably wisely, that the job wasn’t for him and pulled out of any deal that been agreed. All of a sudden it is announced that Grant is staying at West Ham and the board give him the public backing that had been so obviously missing a few days before.
Against this impossible background Avram Grant has been dignified and professional and tried to get on with his job. His team have had some half decent results in recent weeks and will this week try to finish the job they have started against Birmingham to give the fans and the owners a day out at Wembley.
Yesterday West Ham a tough assignment at Goodison Park against an Everton side who are starting to look like their old selves. The Hammers did well in the game and despite having less possession, they always posed a threat to the home side’s goal. They took a first half lead and for a long time it looked as though that goal would be enough.
Then with thirteen minutes to go Everton equalised and West Ham were maybe looking to hang on for a crucial point rather than thinking of taking home the three that would have taken them out of the drop zone.
Six minutes from the end of the game Wayne Bridge pumped a cross into the Everton box and Frederic Piquionne rose above everyone else and powered home as header. Understandably, with all that has gone on at the club, the goal sparked riotous scenes of celebration. Piquionne went into the West Ham to celebrate and removed his shirt. The fans went absolutely wild and some of the players celebrated with their manager.
Anyone with half a brain and any knowledge of football at all would have totally understood the reaction to that goal. I really hope that the West Ham owners saw the players turn to their under pressure manager because that would have told them that the players are behind him, are trying for him and do like and respect him. It sent a message to the owners. ‘Leave the manager alone to get on with his job!’.
Unfortunately the referee, having to follow the letter of the law, sent Piquionne off for his over exuberant, if understandable, celebration. It was a correct decision, but one that flew in the face of common sense and showed that the rules are not always right.
With ten men, West Ham tried to hang on to their lead but a minute into injury time, Everton scored an equaliser that they probably deserved but was incredibly harsh on Grant and his players.
The end result is that West Ham stay bottom and presumably, the manager remains under pressure.
Who would be a manager?
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