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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
There's never a dull moment in the EPL. Just 24 hours after the farcical scenes at St James Park, Alan Curbishley nipped in ahead of Kevin Keegan to become the first manager of the season to leave his club, resigning after an unhappy spell at West Ham.


The history books will hint at a short, yet successful tenure for the former Charlton boss, but you won't find many Upton Park regulars who would agree with that assessment. Ordinarily any manager responsible for dramatic survival on the last day of the season and a subsequent return to the safety of mid-table, would be universally lauded, but life is never that simple at West Ham. Curbishley's cautious, understated style won him few friends on the terraces and his habit of reverting to 4-5-1 in the face of anyone remotely threatening infuriated a notoriously unforgiving fanbase.


Catastrophic injuries derailed his final full campagin, but the board refused to let him use it as an excuse. "I'm not allowed to mention injuries anymore," he noted acidly in one recent press conference. More critically though, Curbishley was again undermined by the club's hierachy when Italian Gianluca Nani was appointed in March with a mandate to control transfer policy, a decision that eroded the manager's credibility with the fans, the media and the players. The sale, against Curbishley's wishes, of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney, the latter for family reasons, to Sunderland was the final straw.


I continue to be mystified by English football's current obsession with diluted power. The two most consistently successful managers in the country, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, rule their domain from a single-seated throne, with full control of the club, yet teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle and West Ham appear convinced of the need for a Director of Football. Can you imagine someone selling Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra behind Ferguson's back? They'd have to go into hiding as soon as the cheques cleared.


Curbishley was a good man with a proven track record, but it seems that he could only take so much interference before his patience snapped. It's a lonely existence, carrying the can for an entire football club, but it must be impossible to cope when you're not even allowed to decide who plays for you. If West Ham had lost their next game, the fans wouldn't be shouting, "Nani out!" they'd be baying for Curbishley's blood instead. In the end, he must have decided that he didn't really need it in his life and few would argue.


The future now looks unclear for the Hammers. There aren't very many good managers looking for employment and those that are may not fancy working in such a restricted environment. Scott Duxbury, West Ham's young CEO, will have a lot to think about this morning.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
Funny how this all came about whilst you were at the Talksport Radio studios following your stint on air.

Yeah, I wondered why Paul Hawksbee kept looking over my head at the Sky Sports News monitor while I was talking!

Had to dash straight back from the studios to my flat to knock this one out right on the cusp of deadline, but as has been said, I could have written it weeks ago! Daft Hammers.

Cheers for the message by the way, Ken. I thought I must have sounded terrfied!
 
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