West Ham United have declared they are committed to embattled manager Avram Grant amid speculation Martin O’Neill has turned down the job.
West Ham were reportedly ready to sack Grant and turn to O’Neill to rescue their flailing Premier League season, with the former Aston Villa boss believed to have been tempted with a large bonus should he save the bottom-placed Hammers from relegation.
But reports late on Monday suggested that O’Neill had cooled on taking over at Upton Park after his name was prematurely touted in the media, and with no other suitors on the horizon it appears Grant is safe for now.
English newspaper the Daily Mirror also reported that Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady had contacted players in an attempt to unsettle Grant, who has made it clear he will not resign.
West Ham released a statement on Tuesday backing Grant and lambasting the latest allegations levelled at the struggling top-flight club.
“West Ham United categorically deny the allegations made in today’s Daily Mirror with regard to Karren Brady, the club’s vice-chairman,” the statement read.
“Karren has worked tirelessly to improve all aspects of the club’s operation and is extremely disappointed by the nature of these unfounded allegations.”
“West Ham fully intend to identify the source of these unhelpful and untrue comments and remove them from the club. West Ham have placed the matter immediately in the hands of their lawyers.”
“The club are committed to retaining Avram Grant as manager and have identified potential transfer targets to give us the best possible chance of retaining Premier League status.”
O’Neill has been out of work since quitting Villa days before the start of the season, and was the frontrunner to replace Grant after the Israeli led the Hammers on their worst-ever start to a top-flight season.
Reports had suggested O’Neill would take over following West Ham’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday, which the Gunners won 3-0.
Grant apparently believed he was headed out the door at Upton Park and made a big show of saying goodbye to the Hammers faithful, throwing his scarf into the crowd, applauding fans and shaking hands with each of his players following West Ham’s loss.