18 May ~ At some point in the not too distant future, Avram Grant looks set to be named as the new manager of West Ham United. The press still enjoy making fun of his perceived dourness – he was described as often looking like "gorilla on tranquilisers" in the Sunday Telegraph's FA Cup final report – but Grant is greatly underrated for what he has achieved in the English game. He has had to work under shambolic circumstances at Portsmouth and a highly demanding owner at Chelsea, and looks tailor-made for the job at Upton Park.
Despite the fact that Pompey would have been relegated regardless of their points deduction, the damage at the Fratton Park club was effectively done under Paul Hart, with the side unable to pick up a single point in their first seven league fixtures. Grant came into the club and restored a bit of belief among the players, displayed in their march to the FA Cup final.
At Chelsea, Grant had the unenviable task of filling the shoes of "the Special One" just weeks into the season, and after guiding them to second place in the league, he was just the width of a post away from bringing the European Cup to the club for the first time. Closer than what José Mourinho, Phil Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti have been able to bring the Blues in the competition.
With the current West Ham owners appearing to take every opportunity to make their feelings known to the press, which often undermined the position of Gianfranco Zola, the club are never going to be an attractive proposition to a manager like Mark Hughes – who can expect offers from more stable clubs. What Grant does have is the experience to work through difficult situations, which are more than likely to occur with the publicity-seeking porn barons at the helm. Ryan Forrester