Our Greatest Managers – Part 3 (2001-2015)
Part three of my search to find the greatest ever West Ham manager continues with the period between 2001 and 2015, covering six more managers.
If you haven’t read parts one and two yet then it is probably best that you do so first. Part one explains how each manager’s performance will be judged and the formula.
GLEN ROEDER 2001-2003
Caretaker manager for the last game of the 2001 season, he was given the job full-time, possibly because our 1st choice Steve McLaren took the Middlesborough job, turning us down. Maybe an un-inspiring choice in contrast to his predecessor, only the third West Ham manager to have never played for the club, though he was a Hammers fan as a child.
His two seasons could not have been more poles apart than if he tried. The second-highest P.L. finishes the club had had in his first; the second though, heralded a dark period for the club that, for some, it never recovered from.
The team that was too good to go down went down, with the highest points tally in a 38-game season. Four of the golden generation of academy stars, Carrick Cole Johnson and Defoe, would leave in the following season. So much for the Academy of Football tagline the club had bestowed on itself.
74 games, 23 wins, 19 draws, and 32 defeats. We scored 87 goals, a 1.18 average and conceded 116 at a 1.57 average per game. The average finishing position was 13th.
I have excluded the three Brooking games from his record for the pedantic fans.
ALAN PARDEW 2005-2006
He may have wanted to be called King, but his record does not match. After one and three-quarter seasons in the Championship and two attempts in the play-off finals, Pards took the hammers back into the P.L. Much like his predecessor, it would be a tale of two seasons, though he didn’t get a 2nd full season.
His first is best remembered for the Lasagne Gate last game vs Spurs, followed by the F.A. Cup final against Liverpool. His 2nd will be forever be mired in the Tevez scandal. The ownership change in that 2nd season wouldn’t have helped him as he wasn’t their man, so he became the first West Ham manager to lose his job halfway through a season in nearly 70 years.
They played 55 games, winning only 20, drawing 9 and losing 26. We scored 62, conceding 79 with an average finishing place of 13th, which takes into consideration where we were on the day he was sacked.
ALAN CURBISHLEY 2006-2008
The club reverted back to hiring an ex-player, with Curbishley taking over a demoralised team at the foot of the table; it didn’t start too well for him. He beats Man United in his first game but then has to wait another 11 games for his second. By then, we were sitting rock bottom of the EPL, with only nine games to play.
In those nine games, he then led us to seven wins, while the club off the field avoided a points penalty in regards to the Tevez Mascherano signings.
The following season saw West Ham back in the top 10 in a rather unremarkable season, but one that, while appearing to stabilise the club, the financial problems in Iceland were starting to rear their head, and that may have a bearing on his leaving.
Early into the 2008/09 season, two players are sold behind his back; written into his contract, Curbs has the right to decide who comes and goes, and he quits, citing breach of contract. He won a million-pound payout at a tribunal, but for whatever reason, he does not get another job in full-time management.
Played 62, Won 23, drew 13 Lost 26. They scored 73, a 1.13 average and conceded 90, 1.45 average per game. The average finishing position of 10th, but that is only one season.
FRANCO ZOLA 2008-2010
The first Non-British manager to be appointed, his tenure will be dominated by off-field financial problems leading to ownership changes.
Zola’s stats could be better reading, but that is where stats and viewing differ. Zola’s time was a struggle at times, but the football was decent to watch. If he had been afforded the time to build a team of his own instead of having players come and go as dictated by the financial restrictions of the club, then who knows what could have been achieved.
72 games, only 20 wins, 20 draws and 32 defeats. Scored 81 goals at average of 1.13 and conceding 103, 1.43 average per game. His Average finishing position was 13th. One footnote: he kept us up with 35 points, 7 less than Roeder was relegated with.
AVRAM GRANT 2010-2011
Came with a great cup pedigree in taking Chelsea to two finals and then Portsmouth to one. Maybe we should have looked at the Pompey relegation and how much was on him directly before appointing him. The ownership didn’t, and the worst manager in my time, possibly in the club’s history, was hired.
The debacle in January, when it looked as if the club were replacing him with Matin Oneil, only for Oneil to pull out after it was leaked before Grant had been sacked. Leaving Avram in charge to take us down in what I consider the worst league campaign I have witnessed.
His sacking was handled in the worst way ever, dismissed in the tunnel at Wigan after a 3-2 defeat where Millwall fans managed to fly a banner over the stadium, proclaiming Avram a West Ham legend. Avram’s cup record is up there with the best, but that masks how poor we were under him.
Played 37 winning just 7, drew 12 lost 18. Scored 43 at 1.16 PG conceding 67 1.81 per game. His average league finishing position is 20th.
Only a club at its lowest point generally hires him as a manager, and the fact that he follows the worst in our history reinforces that for me.
Three seasons in the top-flight. Played 114 winning 35, drawing 28 losing 51. Scored 123, conceding 138. His average league finishing position is 12th.
Part four will look at our managers between 2015 and 2019.