Tony Cottee Column: West Ham results improved after board Committed to keeping Grant

“The manager is the most important person at any football club and when rumour and uncertainty over his position comes to light it affects the players.”

STABILITY is so important in football and it does not surprise me that since the owners publically backed Avram Grant, results have improved considerably.

The rumour before the Arsenal game was terrible for the club and since that 3-0 defeat and we found out Martin O’Neil would not replace Grant, West Ham have lost only once and taken 11 points from a possible 18.

It’s mid-table form and it shows what stability can do. The manager is the most important person at any football club and when rumour and uncertainty over his position comes to light it affects the players.

Footballers are a funny breed and when you hear rumours your manager is about to be sacked, or you yourself have an uncertain future at the club, it has can only have a negative effect.

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Letting everybody know Grant is in charge for the remainder of the season and then keeping themselves out of the limelight has proved to be a wise decision by the owners.

They have also backed the boss with signings and so far all seem to be paying off, with Demba Ba proving an immediate hit.

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He has scored four goals in five games and it must have been quite a moment for him to score against Stoke on Saturday, the team he failed to join after failing a medical.

Some clubs have stringent medicals, but in West Ham’s situation it looked like a gamble worth taking and so far it has certainly worked.

Footballers in their mid-20s are bound to have a medical history. They have been playing football since they were kids and are bound to have picked up injuries along the way.

Ba certainly looked fit on Saturday and the team played as well on Saturday as they did against Liverpool the week before.

It seems we have changed tact and are trying to outscore teams and at the moment is working.

We have also kept two clean sheets and back to back wins have led to have led to huge optimism, so much so Carlton Cole believes the Hammers could finish in the top 10.

I know where he’s coming from. Everton are 10th and are only five points above us, so it’s not a ridiculous statement and it shows how close the league is that with two wins, West Ham go from rock bottom to 17th.

However with Spurs and Manchester United on the horizon, now is not the time to get carried away and survival is the only thing the Hammers should be aiming for.

Mid-table can wait until next season.

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner

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