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Alan 3:35 Tue Jan 7
West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
It is March 2018 and the scene is the London Stadium. West Ham United have been beaten 3-0 at home by Burnley. Long before supporters would consider the idea of hiring Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager, let alone sacking him, the crisis has grown greater even than the one that grips the club today.

On that day, Fans invaded the pitch, David Gold and David Sullivan left their seats in the directors’ box early to avoid abuse and West Ham were only three points clear of the relegation zone with eight games to play under manager David Moyes. Relegation was a real possibility. It couldn’t go on. So Gold and Sullivan, taking advice from Moyes, brought in some experts to look at how the club was being run from top to bottom. What they found astounded them.

The findings showed that there were not enough full-time staff in key positions, that there were no real processes or structure and that there needed to be a massive overhaul behind the scenes.

The expert auditors were stunned that the analysis department was so small and surprised that only a few scouts were employed across Europe considering the vast amounts of money that were being spent on signing players for a Premier League club. Some of the scouting information was not even kept electronically. It looked like West Ham were a long way off having the infrastructure in place to succeed.

And so changes were made. More and better people were hired and West Ham looked to the future, ambitious and determined to break into the top six, or at least back into the tier underneath that. Karren Brady even threw a party for staff as the season started, determined to improve their happiness and make them feel part of the club before an important season.

But some lessons were not learnt.

When Pellegrini, a Premier League title-winner with Manchester City, arrived on a three-year deal he was lauded as the man to turn West Ham into winners and was allowed to walk in and create a structure with no football hierarchy to answer to. Like many managers, he brought coaches with him and scouts. But the sheer number of them surprised many people at the club.

In came assistant manager Ruben Cousillas, coach Enzo Maresca, goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero, fitness coach Felix Cao and several others in more junior roles.

And crucially, Pellegrini also had a big say in who his direct boss would be — the director of football Mario Husillos, who also brought his son Mario Jnr with him to be the club’s senior scout. More on how badly that turned out later.

Husillos and Pellegrini knew each other well from their time at Malaga but their closeness meant extra complications when it came to sacking the Chilean after the defeat by Leicester on Saturday. Not only did it cost considerably more money to get rid of Husillos and Pellegrini’s coaches on top of the manager himself, it has also left the club with several key positions unfilled.

At a key time of the season, there are gaping holes in the club’s scouting, recruitment and coaching departments. Football clubs are not supposed to be run like this.

“The decision to get rid of Pellegrini was the right decision,” one source tells The Athletic. “But the big issue is what happens next. There needs to be a vision and strategy. They need to hire the right management team starting with a director of football, then manager and head of recruitment.”

With David Moyes in place first — “It feels great to be home,” he said in the announcement he had returned on an 18-month contract — it seems the same mistakes are being made again.

Moyes needs only to look to his former club Everton for inspiration. Marcel Brands was brought in by Everton as director of football after the sacking of Sam Allardyce. His job was to select the next manager. And although the decision to hire Marco Silva backfired, when he left, the club’s structures remained largely in place even with a high turnover of coaching staff. There was still a direction of travel, a brand of football being played from youth teams to first team and a long-term list of transfer targets that were not just the fancy of the manager.

It means that if things go wrong in football — and they frequently do — the damage is limited.

Instead, West Ham have spent the past 24 hours starting over. Almost from scratch, starting with Brady telling Pellegrini the job was no longer his after the defeat at home by Leicester City. The players were then brought together at the ground and told the news. Most saw it coming, but none were jubilant. They liked Pellegrini.

But when they host Bournemouth on New Year’s Day, it will be almost four months since they last won at home. They sit one point outside the bottom three.

You only have to look at West Ham’s full-backs to see a lack of joined up thinking. If you take Ryan Fredericks, 27 and pacey, and Pablo Zabaleta, at 34 a lot less mobile, you would struggle to say what kind of right-back West Ham want to play in their system. The same on the opposite flank, where Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell have completely different strengths and styles. They are not interchangeable but recently signed new contracts until 2024 and 2023 respectively.

One thing the majority of the players did had in common was a high regard for Pellegrini. Right up until the end of his reign he remained popular. He is a likeable man who the players warmed to straight away and wanted to do well.

He was personable, happy to take a player aside in training for an arm round the shoulder or a bit of a gee-up and rarely lost his temper.

There was a feeling, however, that his attention to detail could have been better. Although Pellegrini ran video analysis sessions before and after matches, he did not work with individual players to improve them using video, which caused frustration. Indeed, after one game earlier in the season, Pellegrini was offered a statistical breakdown of what went wrong by the analytics department but said “Statistics?! It’s about how you feel after a result like that.”

While the Chilean’s laid-back attitude meant players were not the usual mix of bitter and mutinous that so often arises before a manager is sacked, some believe that it had an opposite, negative effect, particularly in the final weeks of his tenure.

Players clearly weren’t performing to their best in games, not going the extra mile to chase down balls, track runners or press their opponents. Often it seemed that it was down to the captain Mark Noble to set the tone but few were matching his commitment.

There was no underlying fear that they would get in trouble with Pellegrini for not giving their all. The incident where Michail Antonio crashed his Lamborghini into a stranger’s front garden on Christmas Day dressed as a snowman did little to give the impression that all was well.

There was also a lack of togetherness at times, with players rarely eating together, as is often the way at most Premier League clubs.

Some players who would have been desperate to show that desire and help turn things around were the talented young players in the squad. But the likes of Nathan Holland, Ben Johnson and Anthony Scully barely got a look-in and were frustrated that Pellegrini seemed so reluctant to integrate youth.

Then there were the signings. Pellegrini cannot take full responsibility for this, of course, with Husillos very much part of the decision-making process but £170 million over two seasons does not look like money well spent at the moment.

Although Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals have had impressive moments and could yet prove to be key players for the club, they each cost more than £20 million and have generally flattered to deceive. Anderson has yet to score this season in the league despite netting nine times in the last campaign. Then there was the endlessly disappointing Carlos Sanchez, the rarely seen Albian Ajeti and the often injured Jack Wilshere.

One thing Pellegrini was determined to do — and succeeded in — this season was ridding the squad of egos and difficult personalities. Marko Arnautovic finally got the move to China he so long had agitated for, Samir Nasri — six games, no goals — was not kept on, and Lucas Perez, hugely unpopular in the dressing room, was sold to Alaves for a reported £1.5 million loss.

The emphasis was put on bringing in good characters, especially after one player told a member of Pellegrini’s close circle on arriving, “I’m a cunt so you’d better get used to it”.

And then there was the goalkeeper Roberto, a disastrous signing and very much one Pellegrini and Husillos must take responsibility for. Not only were there two direct errors leading to goals but a general uncertainty and nervousness that permeated into the defence and had West Ham always looking vulnerable.

Things got so bad that the club phoned Neil Harris, the former Millwall manager, to ask for advice as to whether David Martin, the club’s No 3, was up to the job of playing in the Premier League. He did and impressed on his debut in a win at Chelsea.

In the end though, the results and position in the table were the most damning. A record of only two home wins this season and nine defeats in their past 13 games is impossible to defend. The message to the fans after each one was depressingly similar too: we’ll try to rectify what went wrong, we’ll try to improve. It never convinced or inspired.

Pellegrini will say he would have turned things around with time. He can point to the fact that only once in the past decade have West Ham finished higher or won more points than under him last season (Slaven Bilic in 2015-16). He can also claim victories over Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton.

But they were not enough and that’s why the West Ham hierarchy had been on the lookout for a replacement — if needed — for a while.

The real question is whether they can now put in place a structure to stop it happening all again.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

RBshorty 8:50 Wed Jan 8
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
The cunt comment sounds like Carroll.

RBshorty 8:47 Wed Jan 8
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
No one is shocked by this article. Unfortunately fuck all will change while the SPIVS call the shots.

Mex Martillo 7:52 Wed Jan 8
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
We are a mess.
The self confessed cunt has to be someone that came in under Pellegrini. That counts out Arnautovic and Snodgrass. Also I’d say has to be a UK player or foreigner that had been in the UK a long time. That does not leave many?
I’d say Perez.

gank 1:03 Wed Jan 8
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Arnautovic is prime suspect but I suppose it could be anyone. Snodgrass has form for this sort of remark with that drug test bloke.

Mr Anon 12:32 Wed Jan 8
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
So who was the self proclaimed cunt we reckon?

WHUDeano 11:32 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)

WHUDeano 11:32 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
In reality how would anyone know that what they hard astounded them? There are no mentions of sources so needs to be taken with a bit of a pinch of salt...despite how incredibly believable it all is.

Bishopsfinger 9:09 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
“What they found astounded them”

They should fucking know what’s going on in the club. What does Brady actually do???

COOL HAND LUKE 8:47 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Confirms what we all suspected - Moyse told the board some harsh home truths last time around, and Sullivan's spiteful stubbornness got ahead of his common sense at season's end.
Sullivan will NEVER LEARN. He cannot take advice or accept an alternative view, and will rinse/repeat his failings until his last breath.

Vexed 8:22 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
That article.is a bit fishy, like a compilation of news and some tall tales from on here interspersed with a bit of creative licence. It's all quite believable stuff but something ain't right about it.

Ha ha Perez hugely unpopular in the dressing room. Intriguing I'll give you that.

Lato 8:02 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
"This clubs not run like a circus anymore"..........now where have I heard that before?

Lily Hammer 7:41 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
JOHNNY V 6:02 Tue Jan 7

That's what span my head out. That, and the DoF's son being one of our main scouts, which really raised my eyebrows.

Stinks rotten.

The old c wing 6:22 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Cheers scouse kid!

JOHNNY V 6:02 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
So Moyes walks into a shambles and tells the owners if you don’t believe me when I say that this club is a sh1t show bring some experts in. The experts agree with Moyes and so changes start to be made to the infrastructure and then the owners replace Moyes with Pellegrini who brings in all his own people, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

New Jersey 5:47 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Interesting read, cheers Scouse kid/Alan!

Far Cough 5:37 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Sounds like Arnautovic?

goose 5:36 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Arnie would be my guess.

scouse kid 5:36 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
I am guessing Marko.. But a little bit of me hoped it was noble.

gank 5:35 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Scouse Kid, any idea which player allegedly said that?

scouse kid 5:34 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
C wing yeah I'll c and p over to Alan

The bit that interested me was the player telling the coaching stuff he was a complete cunt and that they better get use to it.

The old c wing 5:05 Tue Jan 7
Re: West Ham article from the Athletic (care of Scouse Kid)
Any odds of us getting this one??


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