Premier League

Once More Unto The Breach

Oh Avram, dear dear Avram; ‘once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more’.

Ah, f**k Shakespeare, Grant’s back in the big-time, baby!

Indeed, Avram Grant is taking to the West Ham hot seat, but it has been a treacherous trail to this point. From the Avram ‘who-the-hell-are-you’ Grant of a couple of years ago to the lovable ogre of now, Grant has largely become a respected, endearing and scrupulous figure; yet also a tragic one.

He has demonstrated great aptitude and nuance along the way, enjoying relative success.  Nevertheless, tangible trophy-shaped success has been ruthlessly snatched from him his grasp whilst annoying old ‘circumstance’ has been viciously thrown in his face.

Firstly, having been previously instilled as Director of Football at Chelsea, he emerged out of the shadows like some hunchback of Notre-Dame creature and was handed the utterly simple job of replacing Messiah Mourinho. He could quite easily have been a fall guy and was inevitably subject to many questioning his ability, merit and character; though anyone was going to seem dull and dour in comparison to the enigmatic Mourinho.

But he knuckled-down, rolled-up his sleeves, pulled his socks up and some other such clichés. Basically he duly got on with it, winning many people around along the way. Hence, by the time of his departure, he forced himself into Chelsea hearts, having taken them to the Champions League final, the League Cup final and finishing a close second to Man United in the league; a nearly, but not quite, season. Only a penalty shoot-out and a slippery stud cost him the grandeur of Champions League success. Following which he was obviously ousted to make way for Luiz Felipe Scolari (aka, call me big ‘Big Phil’, sugar honey).

Having previously served as Technical Director, Grant returned to Portsmouth as Director of Football in 2009. He again soon found himself called upon to take managerial control following Paul Hart’s departure. So, against a back-drop of financial fiasco and crippling point-deductions, he again knuckled-down, rolled-up his sleeves and pulled his socks up really really high.

As Rudyard Kipling famously said ‘if you can keep you wits about you while all others are losing theirs… you can take Pompey to the FA Cup final my son’ (pretty sure that’s the exact quote). Indeed, guiding Portsmouth to Wembley in such a turbulent season was no mean feat but, alas, a penalty again proper arsed up his chances of silverware. So, having been pretty much castrated (just picture it, go on, I dare you) by circumstance he was once more ill-fated when battling against the odds.

Just give him a breaaaakarrghhh-urrhg-waaaa-waaaa

Well, it looks like could have one. Avram is now off to West Ham, under the stewardship of Gold and Sullivan. The owners have courted some hullabaloo and limelight in the past – last season most notably being accused of ‘undermining’ Zola’s position through public criticism of performances and apparently wanting to orchestrate a signing behind his back – so it remains to be seen how much latitude and freedom Grant will be given. However they currently seem to be making all the right noises. Certainly, Grant has been promised time to re-build, some money to spend and autonomous decision-making. If this is all true and materialises, given some careful re-structuring West Ham and Grant could be looking at a fruitful future. He could be a steady guiding force. Yet, it seems too good to be true; and despite the words of reassurance, you do just get that funny little feeling when looking into the murky eyes of Gold and Sullivan that something may be amiss (but that could just be my cynicism). Anyway, hopefully Avram and the West Ham faithful will have something to smile about next season; it could be a good fit. More likely, however, the owners will do Grant right over – take him in the office and do him right over – Grant will stumble out onto the rain-sodden streets, stub his toes on a strategically placed bollard, trip over and land in a thick puddle of a drunkards vomit, someone will then shove him head-first into a ‘massage parlour’, where he’ll stay (to try and unwind, thank-you-very-much), and subsequently find himself accused of allsorts of misdemeanours. Who’d be Avram, eh? What do think of Grants chances for success at Upton Park? Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/jonathanellisTT Related Articles: Liverpool’s new manager Jon Ellis’ Top 3 World Cup gaffers

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