Paul Parker

Last chance one too many for Grant

Paul Parker

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If the rumours about Avram Grant are true - that he will be sacked if he doesn't win one of the next two games, not that he is the reincarnation of Dangermouse baddie Baron Greenback - I think they're being generous.

Grant should have gone way before this. It was an experiment by the board - his only managerial experience outside Israel was one season with a Chelsea team so good it could manage itself, and getting Portsmouth relegated, financial trouble or otherwise.

Having been born in East London and raised in Essex I know West Ham and I know their fans. It pains me to see what is happening there. The manager has no emotion and he can't attract the right players even if you give him £30m - no one wants to play for him.

You don't need big players anyway, not in the state they're in now. You need mentally strong, bread-and-butter players to scrap it out and get you off the bottom.

Just looking at him you can see why players don't want to play for him - he's hardly the most inspiring character, and turning up dressed in black on matchdays says it all.

West Ham need a new manager, as soon as possible. They're only three points off safety and with the right man in charge they could breeze it.

The right man in charge would bring in the five or six players they need because, right now, that squad is deficient, both in terms of quality and appetite for the fight.

They need three defenders, and particularly a left-back as Herita Ilunga is seriously lacking in hunger. They need a creative midfielder to take some of the pressure off Scott Parker, who is doing everything for that team right now.

And they need a striker to score some goals as, while Frederic Piquionne is a decent player, he is not an out-and-out goalscorer, while Carlton Cole has lost his mojo and Benni McCarthy isn't pulling his considerable weight.

To 'do a West Brom' and become one of those rare teams to survive having been bottom at Christmas, West Ham need the right man in charge.

Someone who's survived before, who's been there and knows how to get out of it by winning the winnable games.

A Neil Warnock or - dare I say it - a Sam Allardyce, although I'm not sure he would take a job like that down South. It may not be the West Ham style, but it's that or bust right now.


Speaking of Big Sam, people who haven't got a clue about what they've got themselves into are making a right mess of things. I'm not talking about the coalition government, but Venky's, the crazed Indian owners of Blackburn who shouldn't be allowed near football with a very long stick.

To say the job is for Steve Kean to lose - and for him to say he wants it permanently - is bonkers, especially given their claims that they want an experienced gaffer who knows the league either as a player or manager.

While a good Premier League coach, Steve has no experience of the division in either of their criteria: he has not played to a high enough level, and he has not managed at any level.

It sounds to me like they're just talking hot air and waiting around for a really big name to show, someone who can bring in the top players to play the exciting football they want.

But these guys need a reality check. This is not Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool or even Tottenham. This is Blackburn, and it's not 1994 any more.

If you're going to revolutionise a small club then you need to pump hundreds of millions into it, or at least have that kind of money available: Venky's do not.

If you want a coach who can bring players to a small club who are perhaps a notch or two above that level, then there is this guy who once brought World Cup and Champions League winners and proper entertainers to a little team in the North West. Players like Youri Djorkaeff, Ivan Campo, Jay-Jay Okocha and Nicolas Anelka.

That man's name was Sam Allardyce, and the team was Bolton.


It wouldn't be a football blog this winter if there was no mention of Carlos Tevez.

He cannot be captain after this and it's not like they don't have any other leaders in this squad to take his place. Those rumours are without question, you don't need speculation to know he won't be wearing the armband tonight.

Roberto Mancini has said a few things, saying he wants City fans not to have a go at him, knowing full well that will provoke them to do it, simply by getting the idea into their heads.

I think Mancini wants Tevez to get some gyp, to take the pressure off him, as there are clearly issues between those two.

As far as I'm concerned they should applaud Tevez because no one really knows what's going on between the players and management - and I'm not talking about this smokescreen about a ruckus with the board.

Everything so far comes from his representative Kia Joorabchian - it has to, Tevez doesn't speak English - and I don't buy this guff about Garry Cook and Brian Marwood for a minute: it's in Joorabchian's interest to keep a top coach on side, as he may need to deal with him over other players in the future and execs don't really care if an agent has a pop at them.

Mancini is unpopular and his man-management and training methods do not cut it with Premier League players. That's what I believe.

There are a lot of unhappy folk at City but only Tevez is brave enough to come out and say something, to actually dig his heels in, and the fans should back him whatever he does because they'd be nowhere without him.

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