For Zola’s sake, West Ham need to end this ‘Italian Job’

naniFootball FanCast guest columnist Sid West feels it is time to remove this Sporting Director set-up at Upton Park.

After a shocking performance away at the Reebok there have been a lot of hands being held up from the managerial team taking the rap for the current spate of poor results. Steve Clarke and Gianfranco Zola have quite open and honest about their failings, it is a shame a certain Sporting Director hasn’t had the decency to do the same.

This whole Sporting Director, or Director of Football, whatever you want to call it has been an absolute joke and has done nothing for West Ham United. The whole purpose of this particular role and how it succeeds on the continent is that they use their contacts and networks of scouts and bring in young players from all corners of the globe who can come into the club on the cheap, hopefully succeed until we sell him on and we will have a replacement already on standby to step into their shoes. It is about building this chain which subsequently will alleviate the need to spend big on players while maintaining a steady cash flow that keeps the club healthy. Nani has brought no one in of that particular ilk with the exception perhaps of Frank Nouble; however you do sense that the Chelsea connections of Clarke and Zola went some way to securing that deal.

Nani has been a massive disappointment and with a club under the financial constraints it is currently is, should have seen the Italian working overtime to secure the right players in order to give Zola every chance. There was a lot of speculation in the August that Gianfranco was looking to walk out on West Ham due to a frustrating time in the market; you do wonder whether it was down to Zola losing faith with Nani in being able to deliver the wanted players. It is well documented the problems with this set-up at Tottenham where Damien Comolli wanted his own men, when the likes of Jol and Ramos wanted theirs and it is a role that never works in this country as managers are seen as the No.1 men at the football club, where abroad the Sporting Director is the top dog.

I guess the ball is in Scott Duxbury’s court and he has to ask himself whether there is honestly a need for him, or perhaps it will be far more beneficial to give Zola the freedom to pick and choose the players that he wants. Nani for me hasn’t added any value to the club and his wage is eating up valuable resources that could be of better use elsewhere. A manager should be allowed to manage and assemble his own squad of players; something I fear Zola hasn’t been able to do as yet.