Friday, June 9, 2023

Reports suggest that Avram Grant is in an untenable position

Treated badly

Yesterday I asked if Liverpool’s Roy Hodgson would be the next manager to be shown the door in what is becoming an absolutely crazy Premier League.

The press conference he gave saying that Fernando Torres was going to play in their European game on Wednesday evening, followed by Torres being an unused substitute in the game, did little to make him look more secure. The reason given by Hodgson, that his ‘physical conditioning people’ advised him that Torres could get injured if he played, is at best, laughable.


Anyway, according to the BBC, another manager finds himself in a more perilous position than Hodgson. They report that West Ham’s board have issued an ultimatum to Avram Grant, telling him that he will be released if his side do not win at least one of their next three games. In normal circumstances I would dismiss this as a silly rumour, but as the Premier League world is now a very silly one, this may well be true.

As opposed to Chris Hughton and Sam Allardyce, Grant is in charge of a failing team, so dismissal is a more understandable option. Or is it?


The board were well aware of how lucky West Ham were to avoid relegation last time out and Grant was brought in to manage a side who were probably not Premier League standard. He has been hit hard by injuries and would be looking forward to getting some cash to spend in January to try to turn things around. He was given a four and a half year contract in the Summer and just a month ago, the club were quoted as saying Grant had their support and would almost definitely be in charge come the end of the season.

Just three weeks ago the West Ham board made the ridiculous decision to publicly designate their home game against fellow strugglers Wigan as a ‘save our season’ game. This was after just fourteen games of a thirty-eight game season!


Grant rose to that challenge and led his side to a 3-1 win. He followed that with the fantastic 4-0 Carling Cup win over Manchester United and everything in the West Ham garden looked rosy.

That was followed by a decent performance but a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland and then last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City. Those results have left West Ham rock bottom, three points adrift of the rest.


The facts are that West Ham have won just two league games all season and they are clearly in trouble. The question is, why do they need a new manager to come in and spend funds in January, rather than giving the funds to a man that just four months ago, they thought was the long term future of the club?

West Ham’s next game, ironically, is away at Blackburn. The reason for the irony is that the BBC reports that their sacked boss, Sam Allardyce, is the man being lined up to replace Grant if he fails in his mission. After that game they travel the short distance to Fulham and then play Everton at home.


If the reported ultimatum is correct, I’m not sure I see the point of it. If West Ham lose two and win one of those three games they will have fifteen points from twenty games and still be bottom of the table. Would that be enough for Grant to stay? Mind you, the board who can call game fifteen a ‘save our season’ game, are not people that it is easy to analyse!

If the reports are correct then Avram Grant find himself in an unenviable and almost untenable position. Nobody could work well under these circumstances and it is ridiculous to expect them to. Are the West Ham board hoping to make Grant’s position so difficult that he resigns? Would that mean they didn’t have to pay off his contract, whereas they would if they sacked him?


The final question I would ask is, does anyone on the board get sacked if they employ a manager on a long term contract and then change their minds after four months?

If West Ham are really treating this respected football man in this way then I hope Avram Grant stays at the club and either fulfils his contract or gets paid every penny of it.


Graham Fisher



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