Friday, June 4

We've got a manager…

Finally Avram Grant has returned from his holidays to become West Ham’s seventh manager of the decade.

A relief, as the last time we had such a long wait in the summer of 2001 we ended up with not Steve McClaren or Alex McCleish, but Glenn Roeder.

We’d better have it right, because the decision to axe Zola and Steve Clarke will presumably eventually cost the club around £3 million.

The positive thing is that this is David Sullivan’s man and he’ll surely have to shut up and let him get on with the job.

Grant has all the experience that Zola lacked having managed club teams in Israel, the national side, Chelsea and Portsmouth. However, I’m still not entirely convinced of his transfer market acumen as most of Pompey’s players were bought by Paul Hart. At Chelsea he bought Anelka, Ivanovic and Di Santo in the transfer window, which is decent enough although accomplished with unlimited finances.

But for the short term we could do worse than cherry-pick his old charges at Pompey with Belhadj, Boateng, O’Hara and Piquionne all in the frame for a trip to the East End, with Upson and Cole possibly up for sale.

The big plus with Grant is that he has strength of character and gets to cup finals. He won over the big egos in the Chelsea dressing room and kept Portsmouth’s players motivated even after administration.

Oh, and David Gold says he has a sense of humour, which is always needed at Upton Park. And under Granty, at least the after-match rub-downs might be more entertaining than under Zola and Curbs.

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