Michael Farrow's sports blog

A collection of new and old writings

…on the disappointing departure of Alan Pardew

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Alan Pardew

It ended how it begun, in a bit of a mess.

It’s a shame. It’s a real shame. Whether rumours of taking the foot off the pedal or outside indiscretions are to be believed or not, it still seems dreadfully short-sighted to wave goodbye to the manager who took West Ham to two playoff finals in difficult circumstances and then to a mid-table Premier League finish and the FA Cup final when nobody said it was possible.

Just as Pardew looked to be turning it around, he lost Danny Gabbidon and Anton Ferdinand, his two main centre backs. Come christmas, he should have Gabbidon, Ferdinand and Ashton available for selection and it’ll be the first choice XI. It seems as though this sacking is due to the worst of both the new board and the old board. There’s no squad depth in certain positions because Pardew was forced to buy everybody on the cheap in the summer whilst selling youngsters and squad players and the new board are clearly desperately short-termist with no understanding of the traditions of the club.

The last three results have been bad but that’s because the depth isn’t there and for two of those games, West Ham faced teams who played very defensively at home. Any Premier League team would miss two of their top three centre backs. In West Ham’s case, it leads to Christian Dailly or Jonathan Spector starting at centre back, neither of whom are convincing Premier League performers in the heart of defence. The likes of Carl Fletcher or Elliott Ward would have been perfect, yet both were sold on the cheap in the summer, stripping out the depth in defensive midfield and at centre back.

Unfortunately, last season was about momentum and players staying fit and in good form. This year, West Ham have no momentum because players can’t stay fit, aren’t in good form and Pardew hasn’t been able to create either from the transfer market. The motivation seems there, as West Ham showed by outplaying Everton for 45 minutes, but something’s not right at the club and hasn’t been all season. Given how little experience chairman Eggert Magnusson has, I think he’d have been better served by sticking by his manager.

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Written by Michael Farrow

December 11, 2006 at 11:44 pm

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