Wednesday, September 3

Curbs out

Just when we thought Newcastle had the monopoly on boardroom farces, Alan Curbishley has resigned with the Irons fifth in the Premier League. The sale of Ferdinand and McCartney appears to have been the catalyst.

What is Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and his board up to? We need to trim the squad, but not through flogging our only left back. Clearly all has not been well with Curbs installed favourite for the chop at the start of the season, despite finishing tenth last time round. Selective leaks from inside sources have appeared in the press, and today’s Independent reports that Curbishley clashed with captain Lucas Neill after Saturday’s over Blackburn, with Neill demanding more leadership from Curbs.

Last week the Indie also claimed that Slaven Bilic was lined up to replace Curbs and quoted boardroom sources as being unhappy with his “negative” attitude and “demeanour”, as well as his purchase of a team of injured stars and lack of expertise in the foreign market.

Curbishley has clearly retained his mental balance through stoicism, never overreacting to victory or defeat and you have to admire the way he’s insisted “I’m a big boy, I can take it” when criticised this season. Yet that phlegmatic approach has alienated him from some fans and it seems the board. At West Ham we demand passion. It’s why Alan Pardew finally grew to be loved, after the Pardew shuffle against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and the Wenger handshake spat.

Yet it’s impossible to knock what Curbs has achieved so far. The Great Escape was unparalleled in Premiership history and tenth last season despite a huge casualty list was impressive. He made some bad buys, such as Freddie and Kieron Dyer, yet at times this season, with Bellamy, Parker and Ashton fit, it’s looked like a top eight team has started to gel.

West Ham. There used to be a football club over there. Pardew should never have been sacked by Eggert and Curbishley deserved another season at least. Keegan shouldn’t be getting humiliated at Newcastle and Avram Grant was sacked for being a penalty kick away from winning the Champions League. We used to be different. A club that never sacked managers. But that’s what happens when football clubs become the trophy brand of billionaires.


Nicholas Clee said...

Yes, you could always rely on West Ham to be in relegation battles, to lose games they should have won, and to do everything to make their fans' lives as traumatic as possible; but at least the club believed in continuity. The distinctive club ethos has vanished.

Pete May said...

Quite agree... Just read that "West Ham's next manager will be their fifth in the seven years since Redknapp left in 2001, a stark contrast to the record of six managers in an 88-year period from 1902 to 1990".

Mouth of the Mersey said...

Yes - Pete.

I wasn't a big fan of Curbs and finishing tenth with little prospect of improvement isn't inspiring, but he deserved better than that.