As a West Ham season ticket holder and avid supporter, the most painful thing for any fan to witness is the relegation of their beloved club. This season I, as well as the other 35,000 supporters that flock Upton Park week in week out, was plunged into 'relegation syndrome' that Burnley, Hull and Pompey fans experienced last year. However, believe it or not, if you look at the facts it isn't all doom and gloom...
The first positive that we can take is Avram Grant is now Gone. Andato. Pasado... forever. I can safely say, he was the worst manager we have ever had, i'd even go out on a limb and say he's quite possibly the worst manager in the world in todays climate. Nice guy, but can't manage a football club to safe his life. You can say that it was because of the owners ill-treating of him in January, and to some extent i'd agree, but the way to look at it is: would the season been any different if the board didn't pursuit Martin O'Neill in January and instead gave Avram full support? The answer to that is quite frankly, no. Take our last game against Wigan. Now, I take nothing from them, it took a shed load of courage and determination to earn back a 2 goal deficit and then go on to win the game, but what happened at half time in the West Ham dressing room? I'll tell you what happened... absolutely nothing. Silence. That is Avram in one word, a 'mute'. The lads came out, and looked like a team that should be playing Leyton Orient next year, bypassing Doncaster & co completely. The manner Avram was dismissed was fitting, why let him have the luxuries of a coach trip home when he could only bring the team to 7 wins all season. Thank god he's gone, but who next?
The Next Gaffer
Now we are left in the situation of having no boss in charge... and frankly, it seems no-one wants the post. In my opinion, we need to bring in a solid head, someone that can encourage discipline but also inspire the team to win. It seems to me that the players of West ham have become lackluster due to Avrams 'nice guy' nature. That needs to change. I woke up this week and all i've heard is speculation. 'McClaren to be named next West Ham manager' (god forbid), 'Hughton in line', 'MON back into the mixer'. In truth, all it is is paper talk. Until we see the bloke in the stadium with a club shirt in hand then I won't believe any of it.
Let me start by saying i'm glad McClaren has ruled out the job. He would only be marginally better than Avram and frankly he's just as miserable as the toad. My verdict: PLEASE, NO.
Next on the list is Martin O'Neill. Personally, i'm a big fan of him. He's a traditional manager and someone I could see leading West Ham back to the top division in the world of football. My one concern though is MON likes money, and he likes the freedom to do what he likes with it... will the mob in charge provide it and let him off his leash? Probably not... therefore I can see the board and O'Neill clashing and ultimately that would be disastrous. My verdict: ANYTHINGS POSSIBLE.
My personal favourite is Chris Hughton. He's young, he's managed and won the Championship before with Newcastle, and to some extent he's an ex-West Ham player. My only concern is how could the Boleyn Ground ever accept someone to manage the club with such strong connections to Spurs. I'd be happy to overlook his playing time with the Yids but i'm pretty sure the old faithful wouldn't take kindly to it. My verdict: GOOD MANAGER, GOOD CHANCE.
Now the outsiders... Roberto Di Matteo tops the list for me, he's young and he has a lot of potential. Only downside to him is that he seems a bit of a 'soft touch' and after Avram the soft character just doesn't suit our working mans club. Slavan Bilic, who would certainly be a fan favourite is in the runnings but he seems to be linked with just about every English job going. Neil Warnock has come into the fray the last few days, and he would bring experience and discipline, however he's almost as ugly as Avram, in fact, they are probably on par! Finally Big Sam Allardyce, hmm, I won't go there with him as frankly he can take his bluetooth headset and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. No thanks.
The Future Players
Okay so skip a bit further down the line, the manager is hired, what next? The players. Bare in mind we are dropping down a league, so although fairly ineffective this season the likes of Tomkins, Stanislas, Sears, Collison and Boa Morte (only kidding, he's awful) will excell. We will retain these players, as frankly they haven't proved anything in the Premiership, other than Tomkins to some extent. The players we will likely lose are the heart of the team.
Let's start with Scotty Parker. A patron saint of the modern day Hammers era. Can we really expect him to stay with us? He's become an England international, and what international players in second tier football? We can hope that he stays with us, but the reality is he will move on. Hopefully to anyone but Tottenham. I could see him fitting in really well in the red half of Manchester, with Scholes getting ready for his pensioner party, they are in desperate need of a new Center Mid, and although Scott is now in his thirties, he's one of the best in the league, period.
I'd hate to see Noble, Hitzlsperger, Ba and Green leave, but the fact is they most probably with. Particularly the latter three are far too good for Championship football, Noble is debatable.
The likes of Carlton Cole, Kieron Dyer, Matthew Upson, Luis Boa Morte, and co can be shown the door as they are surplus to requirements. I'd hate to know how much money Dyer is being paid per week only to see him play in total about 90 minutes of football, and to add to the hurt it wasn't even 90 minutes of good football, because he's been awful whenever on the pitch.
Youth is the future, so youth is where we need to invest. Bring West Ham back to it's roots and breed the next Lampard, Ferdinand, Defoe etc who all came through our youth system.
The Prediction for the Season Ahead
It won't be easy, so for any West Ham fan thinking the next year will be filled with wins you need to open your eyes and smell the bacon. The Championship is a tough league and it is going to hit home the first league game. With that said, provided we hire a good manager, and bring in the right players, then we may find ourselves back in the Premiership sooner rather than later. But hey, at least we have Millwall to look forward to...
Thank you for reading, I will be bringing more write-ups in the future, please follow me on Twitter: @MrKirbz_2k11