Was yesterdays win enough?
Avram Grant knows more than most how a Cup run can revive a struggling manager’s profile – even an ailing League campaign – but even he must know that victory over Stoke City might only mean a stay of execution.
Grant miraculously steered a doomed Portsmouth to the FA Cup final last season, but West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold may let the axe fall despite last night’s Carling Cup rollercoaster against Stoke.
Sportsmail understands the club are close to running out of patience with the Israeli because of their disastrous start to the Barclays Premier League campaign, which sees them at the foot of the table.
Sullivan and Gold were left distraught by their team’s capitulation to Newcastle on Saturday and despite their relief at last night’s win, may be ready to terminate the four-year deal – worth £1.3million annually – which Grant signed in June.
Grant may survive a further defeat at The Emirates on Saturday because of Arsenal’s calibre, although another uncommitted display would probably seal his fate.
Next up are Birmingham – the club Sullivan and Gold used to own – and defeat then would surely see him sacked. Grant’s departure could even signal an emotional return to West Ham for former manager Alan Pardew, sacked by Southampton at the end of August.
Pardew, who led West Ham to the FA Cup final in 2006, would be a popular choice with fans, and is available and relatively cheap.
Sullivan and Gold are also reportedly considering Glenn Hoddle, Graeme Souness and even former Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, even though they would command high wages.
Grant is in such a precarious position because of West Ham’s worst League start in their 115-year history. Having lost their first four games and conceded 12 goals, it seemed Grant had stopped the rot with a four-match unbeaten run.
But the upturn included three draws and the Newcastle rang alarm bells. Sullivan and Gold have invested £80m into the club since buying a 50 per cent stake in January, and have increased their holding by a further 10 per cent.
The pair paid off £20m to banks of the club’s £100m-plus debts and slashed running costs by £6m. Whatever the cost of sacking Grant, relegation would undermine their reign and raise questions over the plan to move West Ham to the Olympic Stadium.