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How to keep Harry

Filed: Thursday, 3rd May 2001
By: Dan Borley

The calls for Harrys resignation are growing louder. A freefall down the league (faster than Steffen Iversen crashing to the floor) has seen the small minority of fans opposed to Harry Redknapp’s management skills grow to the vast majority, and given recent results, who can blame them?

It’s been well documented that the team have under-performed since we entered 2001. The performances have been so bad that they make Boris Becker's sexual exploits look good! Add to this the sale of Rio, and the over-used cliches so familiar with Redknapp's reign as boss and it is easy to understand why our normally loyal fans have turned.

One thing that doesn’t seem to have been touched on however is an adequate replacement. It’s all very well getting rid of Harry and (presumably) Lampard Snr as well, but who will take up the challenge? Don’t get me wrong, West Ham as a club have a fair bit to offer – loyal fans, a good turnover, a capacity at Upton Park that’s soon to rise by 14,000, and of course some cracking players, three of whom have recently graced the England squad, with a few more likely to do so in the next few years. However, with the good comes the bad – primarily a board that won’t offer up money, a disheartened team, and a history of under-achievement. There aren’t too many high-profile managers that would take up the challenge that West Ham offers. Can you imagine Vialli or Gullit (God forbid!), or someone of the calibre of Wenger coming to East London? No, neither can I, and that hurts!

If the board were to sack Harry (or 'move him upstairs' as in the case of Billy Bonds) you would still have half of the supporters up in arms at the treatment of a guy who, despite his shortcomings is West Ham through and through. Only a big name signing would pacify them.

One name that probably would take the challenge would be Stuart Pearce – a man who will walk away with this seasons Hammer Of The Year, and one who has often said he would relish the chance of management. By taking him on as player-manager, you’d also be keeping our best player - two birds, one stone.

Those who remember Pearce's last go at management however will remember him at Forest, winning Manager of the Month before seeing his team nosedive. Is he the man to save West Ham?

Personally, I would keep Redknapp on in a management role, but bring someone in alongside him as coach. With Redknapp’s personality and media-darling status, and a coach with some football sense and knowledge of tactics we could bring the Hammers back up the table.

Just close your eyes and imagine… (actually, keep your eyes open and imagine, otherwise you’ll not be able to read this…) West Ham are playing away. Being 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go, all seems lost. But no! What’s this?! West Ham’s new tactical coach is bringing on a substitute! Going against all West Ham tradition of not using a substitute unless it’s injury time, the sub comes on and – MY GOD! – He’s changing formation too?! What next? West Ham go on to win the game 2-1 thanks to such changes. The press conference comes up and there’s Harry, throwing out quotes and soundbites and keeping the press happy! No disappointingly familiar lines. No phrases using the words “injury” or “crisis” in the same sentence, and what’s more, 3
points to show for it too!

Am I asking too much for some tactical knowledge in the dugout? I don’t think so…

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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