West Ham Sack Avram Grantby Paul Smith / 16 May 2011, 09:38Tweet
West Ham United have sacked Avram Grant following the club's relegation to the Championship. The Hammers threw away a two goal lead as they were defeated 3-2 by relegation rivals Wigan Athletic in a must-win game at the DW Stadium, and the club wasted no time in announcing Grant's departure in a statement in the aftermath of the costly defeat. First-team coach Kevin Keen will take charge for the final game of the season at home to Sunderland, as the board begin their search for the man to lead West Ham back into the Premier League.
The manner of the defeat to Wigan epitomised what has been a miserable season for the club, who will now have to adjust to life in England's second tier for the first time since 2005. West Ham can have few complaints as they were stuck in the relegation zone throughout the duration of the season due to a string of lethargic and uninspiring performances. Grant took over from Gianfranco Zola back in June 2010 on a four-year contract, but began his reign in charge with four straight defeats. The club only really got going in February when they put together a decent run, only to then lose momentum and belief as they suffered a dismal five defeats in six games in the run up to their match with Wigan. Charles N'Zogbia's injury time winner against West Ham on Sunday meant the club have now lost 18 league games this season.
Grant admitted after the game that it was the worst day of his career in football and conceded that the result was the story of the club's season. The Israeli has now suffered the humiliation of back-to-back Premier League relegations, following Portsmouth's drop to the Championship last year. Grant was due to be releaved of his duties after West Ham's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in January only for the board to keep the faith and let him continue, which could ultimately have been a defining factor in the club's relegation. The Hammers will now have great difficulty in keeping their top players, including Scott Parker who won the 2011 FWA Footballer of the Year award.
The former England and Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren has been installed as the bookies favourite to become the next West Ham manager, with Victor Chandler offering odds of 4/7. The 50-year-old has been without a club since he was sacked from Wolfsburg in December 2010 and is reportedly very interested in the job. The former Newcastle manager and West Ham defender Chris Hughton has also been linked with the club and is 7/1 to take over. West Ham's first team coach Kevin Keen can be found at 8/1, whilst the QPR boss Neil Warnock and Martin O'Neill are both 16/1.