A Bad Week for Curbishley
It has certainly been a bad week for West Ham manager Alan Curbishley. It was not just the defeat against Man City but the nature of the defeat that seems to have reopened the debate about his management skills.
Matthew O'Greel on KUMB was one of the first to lay the blame for this poor performance squarely at Curbishley's door. In his article How Curb's Got it All Wrong O'Greel questioned Curbishley's tactics of moving Etherington to left back and playing so narrowly, with Ljungberg not so much on the wing but in the hole behind the back two.
A week may be a long time in politics but it is a life time in football. Sven Goran Eriksson received many plaudits from West Ham fans after Saturday's game and he is commonly seen to have out-thought Curbishley. Of course when Sven was linked with the West Ham job he was roundly castigated as a useless failure and after one loss Alan Curbishley is facing the same treatment.
Curbishley's reputation hasn't been helped by Paul Konchesky's attack on him this week. However Konchesky's claim that a lot of the players at West Ham don't like Curbishley and that he is seen as too serious are not that damaging. After Pardew's reign at the club many fans will feel that a manger who puts a little distance between himself and the players is in itself not a bad thing.
What is vital however is that the manager has a good relationship with the chairman, that they agree on the direction of the club and on the players to bring in. Well, according to Iain Dale on West Ham Till I Die, all may not be well between Eggy and Curbs. Iain reports on rumours that Eggy wants to sign Nickey Shorey but Curbishley is not keen and that Eggert Magnusson was far from happy with his manager stating that a finish of 11th or 12th would equate to a successful season for the club.
Obviously we all want West Ham to be challenging for Europe but we are not immediately going to transform into a top four side. After last season 11th or 12th would be an improvement for West Ham. Betting Zone predicted West Ham would be relegated in 18th place this season and at 12/1 think that Alan Curbishley is top value as the first Premier League manager to be sacked.
They say that West Ham's easy start to the season could be their downfall. If we do poorly initially we then have to face the big teams from the bottom of the league. They also feel that in Eggert Magnusson we have an ambitious chairman who will not be afraid to wield the axe.
Conversely if West Ham do well early on it could act as springboard for the rest of the season. Hopefully Parker and Neill will be back for the game against Birmingham and a win away from home will be in the bag. Then, for a week at least, Curbishley will be seen as the new Ron Greenwood.