The question facing Aston Villa and West Ham that can’t be ignored

West Ham United and Aston Villa have both struggled for form this season – so it stands to reason that both managers are under severe pressure to get results. The question is would a change of management be in the clubs’ best interest regardless of their fate this season?

Well it’s natural to blame the manager when things aren’t going so well, but there could be a number of factors involved. They need to be sure the club is going in the right direction under the manager’s guidance.

West Ham have gone through a fair amount of turmoil in recent times and the spell that Zola had in charge prior to Avram Grant was also unsuccessful and there has also been a change of ownership to throw into the mix. Therefore, with multiple factors to consider a change of manager is no guarantee of a change in fortune. But Avram Grant’s position as manager has been somewhat undermined by the well reported pursuit of Martin O’Neill. One suspects that Avram Grant is really only keeping the seat warm and a change will occur in the summer.

Personally I have never been impressed with Grant even though he had a relatively successful spell in charge of Chelsea. Relegation to the Championship is not a prospect West Ham fans will want to think about – but if it does happen Grant is not the right man to get them back promoted. West Ham would need a manager who understands the Championship and know what is needed to get out of it. If West Ham survive this season then who is to say Grant would fare any better next season? West Ham have an exciting future ahead with the movement into the Olympic Stadium and will need a manager that inspires more confidence than Avram Grant. A new manager in the summer is in the best interests of West Ham United.

The problems that Aston Villa has had this season are harder to diagnose than that of West Ham. The club seems to be settled in many ways and the playing squad is impressive. Furthermore, Randy Lerner is considered by most to be one of the best foreign owners. At the start of the season spirits were running high, after the club finished sixth the previous year. But just a few days before the start of the season Martin O’Neill resigned and Gerard Houllier was appointed. This is really the only thing that can be pointed to in terms of turmoil.

Houllier has proved himself to be a good manger while in charge of Liverpool and I have confidence he will come good again. In this case Aston Villa need to trust their man and although players may leave in the summer the squad looks in excellent shape. At the start of next season Aston Villa could make a storming start with a player like Darren Bent leading the attack. Sometimes clubs just go through difficult periods and that is all this is. Gerard Houllier is the right man to move Villa forward.

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