3997: West Ham United: The fans say
by : Colin Illingworth
If Alan Curbishley can transform the fortunes of West Ham as quickly as the board appointed him they will be challenging for the Europe in next to no time. On Monday afternoon, Alan Pardew was shown the door at Upton Park. 48 hours later and the former Charlton boss and bookies’ favourite for the vacant post was unveiled as the new manager, but his appointment has split opinion amongst the fans.
Matthew Beeby, an avid Hammers fan from High Wycombe, doesn’t believe Curbishley is the right man for the job and feels the board have made a brave decision.
“I’m not convinced it's the right decision, but he's West Ham so at least he understands the fans’ expectations and the way they expect football to be played. Is he really better than Pardew though? It just feels like the new owners have made the decision to change the direction of the club, but then gone with the same approach. Given that Curbishley’s teams have traditionally plummeted after Christmas, it's a brave move by the board. He will hopefully bring a fresh look at the team and maybe a few of the under performing 'stars' will have to start trying again.”
Johnny Amos, whose favourite Hammer of all time is Johnny Byrne, wasn’t impressed by the appointment initially, but then looking at the club’s predicament, and Curbishley’s credentials, he thinks he might be the man to steady the ship.
“My first reaction to Alan Curbishley's appointment was that he was the wrong man. I thought we needed to bring a big name that would take us to the next level, and attract big players for our coming seasons in Europe. What I was forgetting of course is that there is no guarantee of Europe and the most pressing order of business is survival. Maybe this is where Curbs scores, he has gone down with Charlton and brought them back up again so he has experience of the dogfight at the bottom of the Premiership. That will be invaluable to us in the weeks and months to come I'm sure.”
And Richard Dicken, 34, insists that Curbishley’s appointment was the only one to be made.
“At this moment I think Curbishley is the best appointment. His links with the club will endear him to the fans and his record at Charlton was very solid. I think the move by the board was quite astute as most fans are disappointed with how Pardew was treated. Curbishley is a move in line with the tradition of former players becoming managers at West Ham. Unfortunately this has probably been a factor in why the club has never progressed to the next level along with lack of investment.
“I think that Curbishley will be good for mid term stability and we will see if he has the skills to take us up a level or as Charlton did maintain a standard level over a period of time. We can then look at where we are in a couple of seasons. A bigger name is not needed at the moment and of all the realistic candidates I don't feel any would make sense at present. The priority right now is simply to stay in the Premiership which is no mean task given our current situation. Curbishley knows what it takes to do that and hopefully he can work his magic to keep us up.”
Curbishley worked wonders at The Valley, transforming the struggling old 2nd division side to a mid table Premiership outfit with limited resources. However some people have questioned his mindset at the Addicks. Every year his main objective was to avoid the drop and reach the magical 40 points figure. Once his side had reached that target the players tended to think their job was over and he failed to get them motivated for the last third of the season. Also a number of Charlton fans were critical of the negative style of football Curbishley set the team out to play. West Ham have a tradition of playing football on the deck and the fans may accept winning football in order to move away from the bottom three but will they tolerate negative football on a full time basis?
Johnny Amos, who was a huge fan of Joe Cole, is confident Curbishley can keep the Hammers up but he still thinks the new boss is an unknown quantity.