West Ham United are expected to appoint a new manager within the next three weeks after sacking Avram Grant yesterday. The Israeli, who also oversaw Portsmouth’s relegation to the Championship in 2009/10, was dismissed within hours of the Hammers’ 3-2 defeat at Wigan Athletic, a result which ended the side’s six-season stay in the Premier League.
The following managers have all been linked with the vacant Upton Park post, but which one is the right man to replace Grant?
The former England manager is currently the bookies’ favourite to take over the reins at Upton Park. After a dismal spell with the national side, the 50-year-old managed to rebuild his reputation on the continent after leading Dutch outfit FC Twente to the Eredivisie title for the first time in their history in 2010. He soon moved on to German side Wolfsburg, but was sacked in February after just nine months at the Bundesliga club.
After rising to prominence as Sir Alex Ferguson’s number two at Manchester United, McClaren performed minor miracles with Middlesbrough and led the Teesside club to a League Cup triumph (the club’s first major honour) in 2004 and a UEFA Cup final in 2006. These successes were largely forgotten after his tenure with England, and West Ham United could provide him with the perfect opportunity to restore his domestic reputation.
Harshly sacked by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley earlier this season, Chris Hughton was hotly-tipped to take the vacant West Bromwich Albion job after Roberto di Matteo’s dismissal, but his desire to bring his own backroom staff with him meant that he eventually lost out to Roy Hodgson.
He admirably guided Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, leading the Magpies to the Championship title despite the departures of high-profile players such as Michael Owen, Damien Duff and Obafemi Martins. West Ham United owner David Gold has already admitted that he expects the club’s England internationals to leave this summer, and Stratford-born Hughton, a lifelong West Ham fan (he also spent two years at Upton Park as a player in the early 1990s), could be the man to rebuild a depleted squad.
The 59-year-old has been out of work since leaving Aston Villa in August over disagreements with club owner Randy Lerner. O’Neill enjoyed a successful spell at Villa Park, as he presided over three successive sixth-place finishes. He has won silverware with both Leicester City and Celtic, including two League Cups, three Scottish league titles and three Scottish Cups.
O’Neill was heavily linked with the club earlier this year, but is alleged to have changed his mind about replacing Grant in January after club insiders leaked reports of his impending arrival. Whilst his earlier interest in the post would suggest that he is ready for a return to club management, it is unclear whether or not he would be willing to manage in the Championship.
Despite leading QPR to the Premier League in emphatic style, speculation suggests that Neil Warnock may find himself out of a job as the club’s owners seek a more glamorous name to take them forward in the top tier. Despite his chequered past with West Ham United, he has expressed his admiration for the club and its traditions and would relish the prospect of reviving the Hammers’ ailing fortunes.
Warnock has demonstrated tangible success at lower-league level, having achieved seven promotions with six different clubs.The controversial Yorkshireman has also shown that he can work well under high-profile owners at Loftus Road, and would be more than capable of dealing with messrs Brady, Gold and Sullivan should he decide to make the switch from west to east London this summer.
Like Martin O’Neill, Sam Allardyce has already seen himself linked with the Upton Park post this season. However, unlike O’Neill, Allardyce has failed to garner support amongst the club’s supporters. West Ham fans are fiercely proud of the club’s tradition for playing free-flowing, attacking football, and this style may be at odds with Allardyce’s more direct style of football.
Despite this, Allardyce has shown himself to be as an effective manager at Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers. Whilst he may not ensure entertainment, he almost certainly guarantees results, and a move for Allardyce could be a wise one if the club’s owners are intent on securing a swift return to Premier League football.
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