Adorning our demise, September 2010

We hear quite often the shrill lamentations from Avram Grant's corner, bitterly complaining about the lack of resources at his disposal. The eight new players and the recovery of our almost chronically injured stars don't seem to mollify our manager's hunger for success and trophies.

As usual, he is always cunning and his PR aptitudes are perfect. Somehow he succeeds in conveying the impression that the owners of our club don't treat him properly without criticising them directly. But in his massive arrogance he tends to underestimates them.

I think they have internalised his message and his customary treachery might cost him dearly. His philosophy is almost insultingly simplistic: my players have no idea (and yes, I am totally dedicated to them) so I have been doing my best to survive despite these faceless individuals who claim to be footballers. "Doing my best" means using boring, defensive tactics in order to salvage something from the ruins. For Grant, efficiency is a codename for replacing skill and flair with rigidity and tactical formations.

In this shallow equation, beauty versus results, Grant's basic instincts have always been tilted towards securing points at all costs. But at West-Ham he fails in both counts: we have played very ugly football, lost all of our games and our reputation for pleasing, attacking football has been irrevocably tarnished. This is simply not good enough.

A victory against Chelsea could bring about a temporary relief and reduce the pressure on the manager, but its lasting value is far from being clear. Watching Grant's performances for more than three decades I am very sceptical about his ability to reform and change his way.

His legendary sly handling of people is by definition useful only in the short run. At the end of the day, his tactical cowardice is invariably emerging and deters the supporters from backing him. A clean break at the early stage of the season might prove to be the only effective solution.

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