Sacked In The Morning – Part Two

1 Mar, 2024
written by Nigel Kahn


Sacked In The Morning – Part Two


Part two of my look at how the club has dispensed with it’s managers, and what position the club was in for them to be replaced. If you haven’t already done so, I would suggest reading part one first.

Alan Curbishley resigned August 2008 – 4th in P.L. The prodigal son returned. Born and raised in West Ham, he was a Youth player and then a teenage first-team star; with his success with Charlton still fresh in the memory, there was only one man to replace Pardew then.

He pulled off the greatest of escapes by winning seven of our last nine games of the 2006/07 season. he got the best out of Tevez after allowing Mascherano to move on in January. The following season was a case of steadying the ship while the club dealt with the Tevz scandal that was rumbling in the background.

The Icelandic owners threw around silly money in recruiting the likes of Craig Bellamy, Lucas Neil and Freddie Ljungberg  and a 10th spot was secured. In 2008, unbeknownst to us, Iceland banks were struggling, and we had an Icelandic banker as an owner.

Behind Curbs’ back, George McCartney and Anton Ferdinand were sold to Sunderland. In Curb’s contract, it was written that he had complete control over transfers, so he resigned, unable to work with the ownership that had gone behind his back, selling two of our better defenders.

Franco Zola sacked May 2010 – finished 17th avoided relegation by 5 points but only had 35 points that season.  Zola’s first season was another top 10 finish, 9th. He got the best out of Carlton Cole, but lost Dean Ashton, who retired with his ankle injury, and lost Bellamy, who was sacrificed to ease the growing financial storm engulfing not just West Ham but, by now, the world, as the Financial crash that followed the Icelandic banks, including the one owned by our chairman.

His second season was one of struggle, turmoil, and change of ownership. In January 2010, Gold & Sullivan won the bidding war to take over the club. The club were 16th at the time, out of the bottom three by goal difference. Zola was assured of his job by the new owners, and they then set about recruiting him as the player to keep us up.

Relegation was avoided by five points, but that was with the club’s lowest-ever Premier League tally of 35 points. As with the Icelandics with Pardew, Zola wasn’t Dave’s man, so he was sacked.

Who then followed him surely could not do any worse; hold that thought.

Avram Grant was Sacked May 2011 – 20th & relegated. Absolutely a car crash of an appointment. Lost our opening game of the season away at Aston Villa, 3-0, which left us in 14th position. That was the highest position of that season.

The cup runs to the semis in the league cup and quarters of the F.A Cup masked the league form, which left us rock bottom on 33 points & relegated one game from the end away at Wigan.

We were two goals up in a game, but then we lost 3-2 while the Millwall fans laughed at our expense by flying a banner over the ground from an Aeroplane. The owners were left with no choice but to sack him, but that, in a way, sums up their ownership.

He was allowed to stay far too long, and when the axe came, done in the tunnel at the JJB stadium, it showed their lack of class. They tried to stop him from travelling back to London on the team coach; only player intervention rescued that undignified treatment.

So, with the club still hamstrung with debt left over from the Icelandic time and the move to the Olympic Stadium possibly in danger, a quick return to the Premier League was imperative.

I thought the club couldn’t sink any lower with the managerial appointments; The Dave’s were about to trump that thought.

Big Sham Contract not renewed May 2015 – finished 12th in P.L. Stability is the best description I can give to the reign of Sham Allardyce. If you thought Moyes was bad, imagine watching something even worse but not as successful.

He outstayed his welcome, and his contract was not renewed at the end of his 4th season.

Billic Sacked November 2017 – 18th. It is claimed he was 4th choice to replace Allardyce, but I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have managed us for the last season at Upton Park. Bringing In Julian Dicks as well, it was the dream team to bid farewell to the old lady.

Defeats at home to Bournemouth and Leicester were entertaining, and they were sandwiched between two excellent away wins, one at Arsenal and the other away at Anfield, our only win there in 60 years and counting.

Propelled by the magical talents of Dimitri Payet, we achieved a record amount of points for a Premier League season and the 1st ever top-flight positive goal difference since the 1985/86 season. The greatest antidote, if ever one, was needed to wash away the Sham seasons.

In true West Ham style, when on the cusp of champions league qualification, we lose two of our last three games to miss out by just 4 points. That win in our last three was the last night of Upton Park; I wouldn’t swap that win or change that finale for anything.

His following season, our first in the O.S., was a struggle from start to finish. Maybe the new surroundings affected the players, with claims the expansive green gap between the stands at the pitch affected their eye lines when passing. Maybe the number of new signings, 12 across the season, unbalanced the squad. The disruption caused by Dimitri Payet’s fallout with the club didn’t help, and the 11th spot was achieved with only 45 points.

The following season started even worse, only one win in the opening five games, the team failed to recover and after a 4-1 defeat at the O.S. to Liverpool, the axe fell on Super Slav with West Ham sitting in 17th spot, with only 9 points.

Moyes contract not renewed May 2018- finished 13th. Appointed during the November International break on a short-term contract till the end of the season, out of work since resigning from relegated Sunderland in May, Moyes came in like Red Adair hired to put out a raging fire.

He did a reasonable job in getting us to 13th spot and possibly did enough to warrant a new contract to remain. Little did he know that West Ham had courted former Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini to be our new manager from August 2018 behind his back.

Little did we know that wouldn’t be the last we would see of him.

Pellegrini Sacked December 2019 – 17th position. The most decorated manager West Ham had ever hired, PL champion and League Cup winner during his time at Man City, He was supposed to bring in the dawn of a new era for West Ham at the OS.

He broke the record transfer fee paid by the club in signing Anderson from Lazio but lost his first four league games in true West Ham fashion. Results improved, and in December won 5 out of 7 games in the league to rise us into the top 10. Mid-table mediocrity beckoned as the season progressed, but we still managed a respectable 10th-place finish.

If one player was ever responsible for a manager losing his job, then it was his signing of goalkeeper Roberto. The 2nd choice keeper came on for the injured Fabianski away to Bournemouth, with West Ham sitting 3rd in the table. Six games later, with only one point taken, we were now 16th in the table; with his performance deemed so poor, Pellegrini decided to play 3rd choice David Martin in goal for the visit to Chelsea.

A famous victory ensued, but the damage to the season had been done: four defeats in the next five games, and Pellegrini was sacked.

In true Lazurus fashion, after being unemployed for the 18 months since West Ham had dispensed with his services, David Moyes would answer the call to return and help keep the Hammers up for the second time. This time, he was rewarded with a new contract.

With the debate surrounding Moyes’s future raging in the media, and the fan base in particular, it does seem mad that with us currently sitting in 8th position, many of the support base would happily sack him now. Especially when you consider the highest league place any West Ham manager has been sitting in when sacked is 13th.

Many of those fans are tired of the way Moyes West Ham plays and would instead make the change for a more attack-minded manager than Moyes. On paper, Moyes is the best we had in the PL era, the problem for him is that football is not played on paper.

If you didn’t catch part one, then you can find it HERE.


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  1. Everton had a poor third season then challenged for the CL the following year, was the refrain this time last year.



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