Monday, December 11, 2006

Adieu Pardew

Dead Kenny has avoided mentioning much about football lately, hoping that this nightmare season for the Hammers would just go away if PV ignored it. But it was not to be and gaffer Alan Pardew has paid the price with his dismissal earlier today. Your correspondent was one of the first to back Pards for the job in the first place, and few could have matched his achievements in pulling us from where we were then to promotion via the playoffs, a top ten finish in his first Premiership season, an FA Cup final and a UEFA Cup place, so first up you have to feel very sorry for the guy the way things have turned so sour so quickly. On the back of that, we can be confident that there won't exactly be a shortage of potential suitors for his future services and there is every chance he can still go on to prove himself one of the best managers of his generation in this country.

That said, there are some sound footballing and business reasons for the decision to dismiss Pardew. The last three defeats, and the last two in particular, were as abject as the Hammers have produced at the top level against mediocre opposition. Dreadful defending and a lack of physical strength Hammers fans are used to, but the current squad seem to have completely lost the plot in terms of creating, let alone converting, goal-scoring chances which has left us in a sorry mess where we can't defend, struggle to compete in midfield and never look like scoring upfront. It's clear that without massive change the club will be relegated, and with the transfer window lurking in January, that change had to be in management and it had to be now.

Harsh on Pardew? Yes, but he'll get the chance to prove us wrong soon enough. Will it be enough to keep us up? Maybe, maybe not, depending on the calibre of manager we recruit and the funds made available to him. Favourite is Alan Curbishley, who's available, interested and with Upton Park links and would definitely be the selection if the previous regime were still in charge. Dead Kenny's not so convinced that he has the proven track record the new owners might be looking for in terms of their stated long-term goals - year-on-year European qualification and a place in the Champions' League, and Sven-Goran Erickson may be their preferred choice if they're able to make him an offer he can't refuse. Just don't let it be Glenn Hoddle, please!


Blogger Ben said...

Less of the gloom, Ken. I still maintain that there are at least three worse sides than the Hammers in the Premiership - Charlton, Sheff Utd and Watford. (Fulham come pretty close too, at least defensively.) If Sheff Utd were to pick up injuries to key players, I could easily see them fall away - and in any case grit and a strong work ethic generally isn't enough to survive in the top flight. The undoubted class of some of your players must surely shine through at some stage.

8:12 PM  

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