Go for Sid? Plus the Managerial Search Continues . . .

One lesson learned is that you should follow the British press at your own risk.  Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between real transfer rumors and unfounded gossip drummed up by hack reporters.  Frankly I’ve gotten sick of reading headlines about Marouane Chamakh, Ruud van Nistelrooy, or Eidur Gudjohnsen coming to save the day at Upton Park.  Even in our manager search, you have heard the names of Jose Mourinho, Mark Hughes, or Slaven Bilic all thrown out there without any quotes or sources mentioned (other than the ever so popular ” Anonymous source” or “Someone close to the situation”).  Either way it can be a source of great hope and frustration to keep up with all the rumors, but every now and then, some realistic possibilities come up.

I feel like the idea of Sidney Govou being interested in coming to West Ham is well within the realm of possibilities.  The French winger/striker has been linked to a number of teams since his contract with Olympique Lyon comes to an end this season.  I should preface everything by admitting that I don’t follow the French leagues very much, and the only real exposure I get to Ligue 1 teams is through Champions League and Europa League matches.  So realistically, you only get to see the big teams like Lyon, Marseille, and Bordeaux.  I do have say, OL is a disgustingly good 4 1/2 star team in FIFA 10, and Govou is pretty dang good in the game too.  Not that a video game has any credence as a source, but I like to think that the folks at EA sports have a pretty good handle on the way they set up a game.  I have seen Govou play, and even at 30 years of age, he seems to still have the pace and ball skills that have made him effective over the years.  He has made the final cut for Raymond Domenech’s France squad for the World Cup, which shows that he can still be an asset to any team.  I was a little hesitant to believe the talk of him possibly playing for West Ham, especially considering that Sevilla, Birmingham, and Sunderland (among others) were in a race for his signature.  Realistically speaking, why would he come to West Ham, with an unsettled managerial situation and well known financial problems when he could play in the Champions League next year (with Sevilla), or two teams that finished above us in the league?  With Sevilla supposedly losing interest, I can see it being an even race between the mid-tier Premier League teams, if that’s what his options are.  As to what he can bring to West Ham, I am worried about giving out a contract to another older player.  We have been bit by signing 30 year old players such as Kieron Dyer and Freddie Ljungberg, and although Govou doesn’t have nearly the injury history of those two, you have wonder how much he can help, especially considering the glut of midfielders we have right now.  Of course, playing him out as a winger would definitely help West Ham play with some width, which is something that was desperately lacking last year.  Bringing in a name player is not a bad idea, but considering the holes in defense and lack of striking depth, you have to ask if there is better way to spend our transfer money.

The managerial rumors continue to make the rounds, with the latest news being that a shortlist of four managers has been decided upon.  Sky Sports reports that the final four consist of Portsmouth’s Avram Grant, Blackburn’s Sam Allardyce, Cardiff City’s Dave Jones, and Blackpool’s Ian Holloway.  Surely Davids Gold and Sullivan will be looking for a cheap replacement for Gianfranco Zola, and the manager would probably have to be amenable to the owners running the club transfers.  The reports of the Davids approaching West Brom for Graham Dorrans behind Zola’s back, and the current search for players without a manager in place, show that the new boss may not have much of a say in the comings and goings of the squad.  That being said, I am horrified at the thought of Sam Allardyce bringing his bully style, anti-football to West Ham.  West Ham has always prided itself on playing football the “right way,”  passing the ball on the ground, and relying on player movement to create a flowing offense.  Watching games which would revolve on airing the ball forward and bombarding the opposing box with long throw ins and crosses is the antithesis of what West Ham football has been about.  There is no denying Big Sam’s managerial record, and it should be stated that West Ham’s dedication to beautiful football has at times been a detriment to positive results.  However, West Ham fans will, for the most part, sacrifice points for the game being played the right way, and I have a feeling that Allardyce would not be welcome with open arms at Upton Park.

I’m going to skip talking about the two League Championship managers, because other than the performances of their teams this season, I have no knowledge on their strengths and weaknesses as managers.  All I can say is that they have done an admiral job of taking their teams to the top of the league table, and that is a solid enough accomplishment in itself.

This brings us to Avram Grant.  Of the 4 managers on the supposed shortlist, I would feel like he would be the best option for West Ham.  He has done a wonderful job with Portsmouth this season, especially considering the less than ideal circumstances that he has had to deal with.  He has recovered some of his reputation after his time at Chelsea, with the FA cup run and heart his players showed despite knowing of their unavoidable relegation.  On the downside, Portsmouth still had a dismal record in the league, and his qualifications as a manager can be questioned.  The rumor coming out of Chelsea at the time of his dismissal was that his managerial methods were years behind modern times, and that most of his accolades were the result more of luck than of skill.  Whether these accusations are true or not is still up in the air, but it makes you wonder if he is such a man to lead West Ham onwards and upwards.  Maybe his coaching would resonate better with a mid table Premier League club rather than a high pressure, win at all cost situation like that at Chelsea.  Either way, the upcoming summer months are sure to keep us dizzy with anticipation of what our club will do next.

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~ by ar_sage on May 18, 2010.

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