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Irish Hammer 1:45 Sun May 16
Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant

We could’ve signed Cristiano Ronaldo and we still would’ve gone down’ – the inside story of West Ham’s 2011 relegation

Roshane Thomas May 15, 2021


“The manager tried to say something, but Scott Parker cut him off and said, ‘What’s the fucking point? You can say whatever you want but there’s no fucking point. We do the same thing every week. We go out and we’re not organised. What are you going to say? We either look within ourselves and pull something out or don’t bother’.”

On February 12, 2011, West Ham were 3-0 down to West Bromwich Albion at half-time. They were bottom of the league with 24 points having lost 12 of their 25 league games, and were now being comfortably beaten by the team in 17th. It was a game West Ham really couldn’t afford to lose, with fears of a humiliating relegation already mounting.

Parker was West Ham captain and had seen and heard enough. It had become a regular theme during the season for senior players to do the team talk at the interval. Robert Green was in the dressing room during Parker’s speech and could relate to how his team-mate was feeling.

“Scott is a very passionate guy and imagine what would’ve happened if we didn’t have him,” Green tells The Athletic. “I could certainly understand Scott’s frustration. I had a newborn and I’d be at home just thinking about what was going on at the club. It was a lot and you couldn’t get away from it. There were nights where I was struggling to go to sleep because I was just looking at four walls thinking about the results.”

Parker’s speech at half-time at The Hawthorns had the desired effect, with West Ham coming back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3, but the damage had been done. Today is 10 years since West Ham were relegated to the Championship and The Athletic looks at how poor communication and a lack of discipline from players led to the club dropping out of the Premier League for the second time in eight years.

Thursday, July 14, 2010: Former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson is in town for West Ham’s pre-season game at Peterborough United. Tyson was doing a media tour of the UK and was set to host an “Evening With Mike Tyson” event after the fixture. It was Avram Grant’s first game in charge having succeeded Gianfranco Zola as manager the previous month.

Zola and his assistant Steve Clarke were sacked when the club finished 17th the previous season. The belief was that Grant had more of managerial pedigree having led Chelsea to the 2008 Champions League final and Portsmouth to the FA Cup final in 2010. Although Portsmouth were relegated with Grant at the helm, their perilous financial state was a big factor in their decline, and the hierarchy at West Ham felt the Israeli’s experience warranted a four-year contract.

“We have taken our time over this appointment and are certain we have got the right man,” co-chairman David Sullivan said at the time.

West Ham may have beaten Peterborough 2-1 with the likes of Julien Faubert, Carlton Cole, Danny Gabbidon, Freddie Sears and Thomas Hitzlsperger featuring in the game, but prior to the match, many of the group were completely distracted by Tyson.

“It almost seemed some players were more worried about getting photos with Mike Tyson rather than the game,” an ex-club source recalls.


Mike Tyson at Peterborough United vs West Ham in July 2011 (Photo: Getty)
Three days later, the club travelled to Germany for a friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach, which they won 2-0. The following week, they travelled to Austria to face Panathinaikos and won 1-0, with Hitzlsperger scoring the solitary goal. They then made it four wins in a row with a 2-0 win over MK Dons.

But despite the promising results, Green had already seen enough to be concerned about the season ahead.

“MK Dons in pre-season is when I knew we were in trouble,” he says. “That is when the alarm bells started ringing. I turned to someone and they asked me, ‘What do you think?’. I said, ‘Avram Grant is either a genius or we’re knackered’. That was my first game back because I’d come back late from the World Cup but I’d seen enough to be worried about our season.”

At the start of the campaign, it seemed as West Ham had enjoyed a decent pre-season, going unbeaten in their seven friendlies. Cole scored four of their nine goals and looked set to carry that form into the league campaign. The team kept five clean sheets and looked solid defensively.

But Green had good reason to be concerned: West Ham lost their first four league fixtures against Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester United and Chelsea. One of his former team-mates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, believes the problems stemmed from the contrast in styles between Zola and Grant.

“There was no structure and it was hard. Sometimes the manager would be late for training sessions,” says the anonymous former West Ham player. “He was really relaxed and laidback. For that group of players, that’s not what it needed. His managerial skill set didn’t fit with the playing squad.

“Zola was a bright bouncy personality who was always optimistic. Avram was the complete opposite. Sometimes the manager and his backroom staff would be in meetings and I would see them rush out onto the training ground. It’s as if they forgot we had a training session planned.

“I would get out there 15 or 20 minutes early and there wouldn’t be one cone laid out. Training would then be flat because mentally people weren’t in the right zone. It drove me mad. It was the hardest year of my career by a mile.”

West Ham belatedly got their first point of the season thanks to a 1-1 draw at Stoke City in mid-September. By this point, flops such as Ilan and Guillermo Franco left on free transfers and fan favourite Alessandro Diamanti joined Brescia in a move that he would later admit to The Athletic he still regrets.

Pablo Barrera, Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna augmented the club’s attacking options. Tal Ben Haim, Winston Reid and Lars Jacobsen bolstered the defence. Hitzlsperger was arguably the most exciting signing having been capped 50 times by Germany.

Before their sixth league game of the season — a derby against Tottenham — West Ham were rooted to the bottom of the league. Despite it still being early days, the players were aware of how important it was to win and kick-start their season. Green needed help due to the strain of what had been going on, on and off the pitch.

“I went to see my sports physiologist the day before the game,” he says. “I hadn’t seen him for years. I just unloaded my frustration and anger at how the season was going. My sports physiologist said, ‘Just focus on having a really good game tomorrow’. I woke up the following morning and my wife asked, ‘Who do you have today?’. I said, ‘We have Spurs’. Then she went, ‘Oh shit, how do you reckon it will go?’.

“No word of a lie, I told her, ‘We’re going to win and I’m going to get man of the match’. That was probably the best I’ve felt in a game during 90 minutes. Spurs had Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe — all these fantastic players — but I felt unstoppable that day.

“We won 1-0 and after the game, they told us about our stats. In one half without the ball, Piquionne only moved 50 yards. That was just accepted and the accumulation of stuff like that led to Parker’s half-time speech at West Brom. I lost count of the team meetings we held that season.”

West Ham would draw their next two league games against Fulham and Wolves before losing 2-1 at home to Newcastle United. On Sunday, October 30, Grant’s side made a short trip to the Emirates to face title challengers Arsenal.

Grant’s starting XI was: Green, Lars Jacobsen, Manuel Da Costa, Daniel Gabbidon, Herita Ilunga, Valon Behrami, Mark Noble, Obinna, Parker, Luis Boa Morte and Piquionne. The players stood in the tunnel and instead of discussing how they could beat Arsenal, there was one small detail they were unsure about.

“Me, Scott, Matt Upson and Carlton Cole were stood in the tunnel and I went, ‘Are we playing the formation I think we’re playing?’,” says Green. “Then the others said, ‘You know what, I’m not sure. What did you think it is?’. This discussion went on in the tunnel for ages because we weren’t sure what formation we were supposed to be playing.

“In the end, the manager said he wanted to play a 4-2-4 formation and then when we got on the pitch it changed to a 4-5-1 formation. Just pure madness. We actually lost in pretty much the last minute. The manager was about to bring on Julien Faubert and most of us went, ‘No! We’re OK, we’ll see the game out. Don’t bring him on’. Arsenal broke down the left and scored and Julien was playing on the right. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Bloody hell. The gaffer just had one job. All Julien had to do was stay on the bench’.”

Alex Song scored the winning goal in the 88th minute, just a minute after Faubert had been brought on for Obinna. Having been so close to earning a credible point, the players were incredibly frustrated. There were winnable fixtures against Birmingham City, West Brom and Blackpool coming up but morale was by now at an all-time low.

“After the Arsenal game, me and Scott went into the shower and we just couldn’t speak,” Green recalls. “Scott had run his nuts off and I was diving around like an idiot. We almost pulled off a miracle draw. The manager came in to say well done. Scott just looked at him and I don’t think he said it but it was one of those, ‘Just fuck off’ kind of looks. So remember we’re losing. Players being late for training and all of this just became a regular occurrence. You can’t run a club like that.”

Despite the club’s poor form in the league, they were on a promising run in the League Cup. Victories over Oxford United, Sunderland and Stoke City set up a quarter-final tie against Manchester United on November 30.

Somewhat ominously for West Ham, Manchester United had just subjected Blackburn Rovers to the ignominy of a 7-1 thrashing in the Premier League three days earlier, with Dimitar Berbatov scoring five goals, but Sir Alex Ferguson rotated his team for the cup tie at Upton Park. The likes of Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic made way for fringe players like Bebe, Gabriel Obertan and John O’Shea.

“It snowed like hell in that game,” says Green. “Obertan smashed one into the bottom corner and I touched it onto the post. I thought, ‘I just kept the manager in the job’. That was at 0-0 and we went on to win 4-0.”


Spector scored twice in West Ham’s League Cup win over Manchester United in 2010 (Photo: Getty Images)
Reaching a League Cup semi-final was a huge positive, but long before they could think about progressing to the final, what remained uppermost on the minds of senior players was the lack of discipline.

“General standards of discipline like good timekeeping, wearing the right tracksuit, not travelling to places when you only have one day off… they were pretty much non-existent that season,” says one anonymous former West Ham player. “Some players were going on the plane on their day off and travelling back the following day when we all needed to show up for training.

“Sometimes we would say, ‘What is going on? We’re a Premier League side and we’re battling relegation. We need to do better’. At most clubs, players are fined if they turn up late for training but it reached a point where we had to stop doing fines because players were taking the piss. Eventually, we had to hold team meetings and Scott Parker was working overtime. The general chat was, ‘Respect your team-mates and stop taking liberties. Don’t mug us all off by being late. Is your time more important than mine? No, it’s not so stop taking the piss’.

“But that sort of message also needs to come from the manager, not just the players. That was the nature of the whole season. It was a real struggle.”

Green agrees the lack of leaders in the side and a lack of communication from the manager had a negative impact on the team.

“In football, if you have a player an inch, they’ll take a mile,” says Green. “We went from having Steve Clarke who was Zola’s assistant and one of the most diligent coaches you’ll come across. He worked under Jose Mourinho and Clarke’s style is everything is done on the stop clock and that’s to the second. You don’t want to get on Clarke’s bad side, especially if you’re late for a session. But it’s important to have discipline like that at a football club.

“But players could just take the piss if they wanted to (under Grant). Then as senior professionals, you’re trying to steer a ship that’s in troubled waters. The authority comes from above. As a senior pro, I can tell someone off, but if they don’t want to do something, they won’t do it. If no one above me is going to implement any discipline then you just end up giving up.

“I remember before a game where I was the captain and we had to do the whole shake hands and hand over the teamsheet thing. But (first-team coach) Kevin Keen came up to me saying, ‘Rob, I don’t know who the subs are’. You had good people and good coaches like Kevin and their ability to coach was taken away from them.”

In mid-December, West Ham travelled to Blackburn following back-to-back losses against Sunderland and Manchester City. Green was a serious doubt for the match due to an infection in his leg, which meant reserve goalkeeper Ruud Boffin was set to make his debut for the club — although if Grant had it his way, Green would have played.

“Before I signed for West Ham, my groin snapped and I had to have it reattached,” says Green. “But five years later I was really struggling with what I thought was a hernia problem. Everyone kept telling me it was a hernia. So I had my operation and where I had my groin reattached I had dissolvable stitching that hadn’t dissolved. They removed six inches of infection from the groin but it never really healed. So I went to see the club doctor and he said, ‘Rob this isn’t right, I think something is wrong’.

“When they cut me open again they found another six-inch of infection in my groin. They just hadn’t dug deep enough. That was on the Monday and on Friday, there was heavy snow and they wanted me to have a fitness test. I’d been under general anaesthetic and I couldn’t lift my arm above my head because of the stitches in my groin. I walked in and the goalkeeping coach David Coles says, ‘This is a joke, Rob. I don’t know why you’re here.’ I went in to see the physio and basically told him I’m in no good condition to play. Then he said, ‘Well, you can go and tell the manager’.

“So I walked in and told the manager, ‘Boss, I can’t lift my arms above my head. I’m no good’. And he looked at me, pointed towards his chest and said, ‘Rob, remember your heart is stronger than your head’. I said, ‘All right, boss, but I’m still not travelling’.”

West Ham played five league games in December, losing and drawing twice, with a lone victory on Boxing Day at Fulham. After the game, Fulham supporters serenaded their own manager, Mark Hughes, with a chorus of “You don’t know what you’re doing”, but the hierarchy at West Ham were also starting to question their own manager, pondering in secret whether a change was needed if the club were to avoid relegation.

Grant’s side climbed off the foot of the table following the win at Craven Cottage, then a 2-0 win over Wolves on New Year’s Day took them up to 15th. They were suddenly on a four-game unbeaten run. Progress at least — or so they thought, as a 5-0 loss against Newcastle United only added credence to the belief that it was only a matter of days before Grant would be jettisoned.

“During that game, I remember just screaming at people,” says Green. “I was trying to get everyone into position. They scored a goal where the ball went through the middle of the pitch, it was such a bad goal to concede. They were attacking the Gallowgate End and it was so loud no one could hear me. We got torn apart and that’s when the club were looking at trying to change manager.”

Reports linking Martin O’Neill, who had left Aston Villa the previous summer, with West Ham grew stronger following a 3-0 loss at home to Arsenal. The board were so concerned at the club’s form that they were prepared to offer O’Neill a £3 million bonus if he kept them in the league. They had approached O’Neill before appointing Grant and were determined not to miss out again.

Grant, who still had three and a half years to run on his deal, made it clear he would not be resigning. In the end, O’Neill was disappointed that his potential arrival had been made public.

“The club tried to get Martin O’Neill in and messed that up,” says the anonymous former West Ham player. “They made it public and the whole thing looked bad because Avram hadn’t been sacked. Martin probably thought, ‘Hold on a minute. I can’t take this job now. Avram is still your manager and you’re trying to offer me the job’. The whole thing was a mess.”

With Grant tasked with trying to salvage West Ham’s season, they had that League Cup semi-final against Birmingham City. It was, in theory, the right kind of distraction. They won the first leg 2-1 thanks to goals from Mark Noble and Cole. Sullivan and David Gold decided not to attend the second leg at St Andrew’s due to fears of tension with the home supporters.

West Ham made a fine start, going 3-1 up on aggregate thanks to a goal from Cole before the break. Grant’s side were 59 minutes away from a rare appearance at Wembley… what could go wrong?

“The 5-0 loss at Newcastle was horrific but the worst part of the season was losing at Birmingham City in the semi-final of the League Cup,” says the anonymous former West Ham player. “That was horrendous and probably one of the worst losses I’ve ever experienced. In the second leg, we just had to see it through to get to the final.

“But we had no discipline and the whole thing just capitulated. We had no answer for Birmingham. Supporters were pissed off so that made it even more difficult.”

Goals from Lee Bowyer, Roger Johnson and, in extra time, Craig Gardner saw Birmingham advance to the final where they beat Arsenal thanks to a dramatic late goal from Obafemi Martins. Green can’t help but feel that should have been him and his team-mates.

“In the second half, we got battered,” he says. “I was making save after save but we had no answer for them. Zavon Hines played and he really struggled. We sleepwalked to that defeat. We had to change something in that game and we didn’t. It could’ve been to change formation for five minutes. Just something to change it quick. From where I was stood, we were going to get hurt very quickly. It was like watching a policeman in New York trying to conduct traffic.

“I reckon we would’ve won the cup if we had beaten Birmingham. We were so close to playing at Wembley. Birmingham went on to win it and ironically, they also got relegated. I never played in a cup final. Hundreds of games in my career… I’ve played in internationals but never in a cup final.”


Scott Parker trudges off after West Ham’s League Cup exit at Birmingham (Photo: Getty)
Grant had to raise the morale of his shattered players following another devastating setback. They beat Blackpool 3-1 in their next fixture but shortly afterwards, they lost to Birmingham again, this time in the league. A lack of consistency was also a huge issue so when West Ham were 3-0 down at half-time to West Brom on February 12, leading to Parker’s half-time speech.

It was followed by back-t0-back wins over Liverpool and Stoke City, but those would be their last victories of the season. On March 13, they locked horns with Stoke once more in an important quarter-final FA Cup tie.

Grant’s side had knocked out Barnsley, Nottingham Forest and Burnley to reach this stage of the competition. They knew they had a great opportunity to atone for their second-half collapse against Birmingham… what could go wrong?

“We turned up at Stoke with half the kit missing,” Green says. “We had no socks and no shin pads. Looking back now, the most annoying thing about it is that’s the furthest I had ever been in the FA Cup. I wore the same shin pads from the age of 16 for every game of my career, other than that game at Stoke. There are mistakes but it starts to become very concerning when it creeps in from every angle.”

West Ham went on to lose 2-1, which meant their entire season rested on staying in the league. It reached the point of the campaign where they desperately needed new personnel. Wayne Bridge, Robbie Keane, Gary O’Neil and Demba Ba had been brought in to improve the side in January. Ba arguably had the biggest impact, scoring seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances.

“It was a risk and it’s a miracle he’s still going strong,” says Green. “He had one bad knee but he gave us hope because we had a goal scorer. But you need 10 others to also pull their weight. We’ve seen loads of teams get relegated who have a goalscorer. We needed a team full of Scott Parker’s. We could’ve signed Cristiano Ronaldo and we still would’ve gone down.”

West Ham’s poor form in April all but confirmed the inevitable. They lost five consecutive games against Manchester United, Bolton, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester City. By May 7, Grant’s side were bottom of the league with 32 points, three points adrift with three games to play.

“We played at Stamford Bridge in April and we said the plan was to sit back,” Green recalls. “Mikel John Obi was their sitting midfielder and we all said, ‘Look we need to stop this guy. If he dictates the play, we’re finished. He will sit in front of the centre-halves and just boss it.’ So Scott went to the manager and asked, ‘When do you want us to close him down?’. The manager said, ‘Well you can decide that on the pitch’. Scott went, ‘No, because I might decide one thing and another player might decide another thing. We all need to be in agreement’. Things like that happened all the time.”

Before the 2-1 loss at Manchester City, Sullivan questioned the commitment of some of his players — and in the same fixture, Grant’s notes scattered on the pitch. It was a bleak time for the club that led to the most memorable game of the season — but for all the wrong reasons.

West Ham travelled to Wigan on May 15 knowing they had to win. There were encouraging signs when Ba scored twice before the half-hour mark. But once again, the team capitulated in the second half and Wigan fought back to win 3-2, with Charles N’Zogbia scoring a winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Shortly after the final whistle, Grant had been informed he was sacked, something the players were only aware of once he got on the coach.


West Ham’s collapse at Wigan left Grant scratching his head (Photo: Getty Images)
“We were on the coach waiting to go and then we just found out,” says the anonymous former West Ham player. On the journey back, we’re all just thinking, ‘What on earth is going on at this club?’. The atmosphere was so flat and everyone that was there would all say it was probably the toughest season of their careers.

“If you were to sit down and ask my wife, ‘What was the lowest moment of your husband’s career?’, she would definitely say that season at West Ham. I would go home and the run of defeats would affect my mood. That year was harder than when I had to retire.”

First-team coach Keen was appointed as caretaker manager but West Ham lost 3-0 to Sunderland on the final day of the season. They only achieved 33 points, which remains their worst points tally in the Premier League era. In 38 league games, they won seven, drew 12 and lost 19.

“That guy (Grant) was so antisocial,” Julien Faubert told The Athletic in an interview last year. “He never spoke to us, he barely took charge of the training sessions because he was always in his office, his motivation was shit and I didn’t learn anything from him.

“With us, it was his assistant (Zeljko Petrovic) who would do the training sessions and he tried to make it fun. He really tried his best but if Avram Grant can be a manager, then I can too. I didn’t have a good relationship with him and we got relegated because of him. That season, he made so many poor decisions.”

There was more misery for the players the day after the decisive defeat at Wigan. The club hosted the end of season awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London, but it was disrupted after a brawl erupted midway through the evening. Police were called and it later emerged Ba allegedly refused to sign an autograph.

“It was just madness,” says Green. “I saw my mate after the Wigan game and his wife was born around the corner from Upton Park. She was a lifelong West Ham fan and he said, ‘I’m sorry but that was hilarious. What the hell just happened for an hour and a half?’. I told him, ‘Mate it’s been like this all season, what you talking about? We did this in the League Cup when we were 3-1 up with half an hour to go and managed to get knocked out. We couldn’t manage games. We couldn’t do anything. It was the most bonkers season’.

“We had to run the dressing room as senior players and by the end of the season, we were exhausted. Scott was on his knees and at half-time, he would be pleading with players, almost in tears, telling them they need to do better. It reached a point where we would all look at each other and go, ‘Who is doing the team-talk this time?’.

“The first we knew about the manager being sacked was when he got on the coach to pick up his things because he was about to get a taxi. Eventually, he joined us on the journey back but, I mean, who cared by that point? We’d been relegated. He wasn’t going to stay with us in the Championship and bring us back up.

“It hurt more than anything in football. That season was the most painful thing I’d ever experienced. I can say — and I’ve thought about this a lot — that season was the reason I left West Ham. I just couldn’t forgive things that had happened. During the season, it was so patently clear that the club was heading into trouble. Us players were pleading, screaming, trying everything we could to fix the situation. In the end, it wasn’t enough, and it was so painful having to deal with that. We knew relegation was coming and we couldn’t do anything about it.”

The Athletic tried repeatedly to contact Grant for comment but were unable to do so.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Nagel 3:29 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Yeah, I thought it was Collison at first but he was out injured for all but the end of the season so it wouldn't make sense.

Has to be someone who played in the Birmingham cup defeat anyway. The quotes read like an English person, can't be Green or Parker, Tomkins and Noble not retired. Could be Upson but my money's on Cole.

Huffers 2:46 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Mind you, he barely played that season. He only played twice under Grant!

Pee Wee 2:38 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Good shout

Huffers 2:37 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Jack Collison is quite close to The Athletic. I have seen a couple of anonymous articles re: WHU from them and a couple of times I have seen the odd line that I've seen him repeat elsewhere.

He also had to retire in difficult circumstances.

Pee Wee 2:28 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Rio Anton Les


That’s it. Thanks

Come On You Irons 2:06 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Great read that. Thanks to the OP for the C&P.

That season was just one prolonged car crash, despite the decent cup runs. Avram Grant is easily the worst manager in our history. The epitome of a fraud.

Razzle 12:22 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
You have to ask what qualifies these people to be managers other than they have done a football management course. In all seriousness, i could do better or conversely could not do any worse.
You need structure, leadership, discipline, and above all trust.

Pub Bigot 11:37 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
It shows how vital Scott Parker was to us. I'll never have anything but respect for him, and now, having more details only increases my admiration.

Rio or Anton or Les 10:11 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Pee Wee

Barry Silkman

WHU(Exeter) 12:36 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
That was a really good read, thanks Irish.

You've got to take whatever you can out of somethings, Grant's interviews were fucking even more shambolic than some of the worst performances and there was an element of dark humour in there (somewhere!)....

Pee Wee 12:30 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Trundle


Yeah that was me. Although wasn’t it the heads up that he was signing?

Bloke I used to work with was mates with the agent West Ham were using... minds gone blank to his name. Was it Silverman?

Sven Roeder 12:29 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
SD
That Wolves goal was Piquionne bringing the ball down on his chest and scoring.
He had his back to referee Clattenberg who was also looking through a group of players.
Clattenberg penalised him for handball. And booked him

swindon hammer 12:27 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Pretty sure we would have stayed up if we had got Martin O’Neil In January of that season.

From all the stories I have read on this article and previously it’s amazing that Avram Grant ever got any type of managerial role in football.

SDKFZ 222 12:20 Mon May 17
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
I was at that Newcastle away match. Only one coach left from the club and there were probably about only 200 of our supporters up there. It was also a freezing midweek match in January.

Apart from the horrendous performance and result, the thing that got me the most was the amount of abuse their supporters were giving us after the match, especially as they had just won 5-0.

I was at all of the away matches that were mentioned in the above article. The West Brom match, Wigan, Newcastle, Blackpool, Birmingham and Stoke in the cups and so on. We were an utter shambles in most of them. Even at Wolves we were robbed of a last minute winner due to a wrong offside decision that went against us.

Rio or Anton or Les 10:17 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
What a great summary of that season which I remember well. I never imagined a Premier League club could be run quite like this.

Where were the owners? Why didn't they see the signs?

I wish Parker had confronted the owners. What a shambles.

wd40 7:07 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Jesus that was heavy reading

What a mess.

ATBOG 7:04 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
The anonymous player has to be Upson. Biggest chicken shit player I've ever seen at West ham.

North Bank 6:48 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Irish cheers for this

It's a shame Netflix weren't around that season, filming us would make Sunderland look a well run outfit in their Sunderland Till I die series

On The Ball 6:23 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Whoever it is is retired, but probably still associated with the Club - hence the anonimity.

arsene york-hunt 5:54 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Wasn't he caught going to a massage parlour for "extras".

Irish Hammer 5:47 Sun May 16
Re: Memory Lane :- 2011 & Avram Grant
Glad you enjoyed chaps

Have some cracking ones lined up that I dug out of their archives. Will post one every two days or so.

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