Hammer Fan Blog: Not all is lost just yet for West Ham

PUBLISHED: 13:44 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:02 07 January 2011

newcastle v west ham

newcastle v west ham

2011 AFP

Club are only one point from escaping the bottom three

The positive mood garnered by the recent four game unbeaten run was obliterated on Wednesday night at St James’ Park and, with a 10 day break before a return to Premier League action, what ought to have been a time to reflect on a job well done over the festive period now looks like being the time when the obituaries will be written on Avram Grant’s troubled time in east London.

The board are reportedly scheduled to meet to discuss Grant’s future at a meeting next Wednesday, by which time Hammers will have entertained both Barnsley and Birmingham in Cup competitions.

It is hard to see that any opinion could be altered over the course of those two games and once again a West Ham board stands accused of dithering and indecision.

The performance on Tyneside was so comprehensive in its ineptitude – from the dugout to one to 11 West Ham were pathetic – that it is difficult for anyone to argue a case for the Israeli continuing in the job but it is important not to dismiss the contribution of the players; whose chronic lack of professionalism, inability to carry out the most basic of tasks and, in some cases bad attitude, looks like costing a manager his job for the second time in the space of 8 months.

Crumbs of comfort, and perhaps a case for Grant’s retention, come from outside Upton Park in the way that the League is shaping up for a second consecutive year.

In spite of Wednesday’s setback, West Ham remain in touch and are now only 2 points from 14th spot where a few weeks ago Grant’s side found themselves five points adrift of safety. The form of others – notably West Brom’s run of 9 defeats in 12 matches and Aston Villa securing only 5 points from a possible 27 – may also bode well, but everyone at the club should be in no doubt that West Ham need to get their own house in order and not rely on the shortcomings of others in the same way as last season. They are unlikely to be so fortunate a second time.

The Cup games may offer a welcome distraction in the coming week, and with the first leg of the semi-final against Birmingham on Tuesday and then the proposed board meeting on Wednesday, this is a massive week for the club and those in charge.

If Grant departs, the owners must move quickly and decisively to appoint his replacement – indeed, if he is to depart his replacement should already be lined up.

If Grant is retained, it is imperative that he is fully supported by the owners in the transfer market.

As a bare minimum, a striker and a left back are absolutely essential acquisitions in the January window. It’s important that he and the players also retain the support of the fans, and they could perhaps go some way to restoring some of the goodwill they themselves destroyed by offering a full refund to all those that travelled to Newcastle.

A couple of months ago, this column cited Sunderland’s reaction to a thrashing at Newcastle as something West Ham could learn from. Whilst never wishing the first part of the example to be taken so literally, we will shortly find out if Hammers’ owners, management and players are made of similarly stern stuff.

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