Joe Strange - Ten reasons Zola has to go
Published: 29 Mar 2010 - 07:14:05
Football.co.uk's Monday blogger Joe Strange finds overwhelming evidence for West Ham to sack under-fire manager Gianfranco Zola.
1. Six Defeats in a row
After consecutive wins over Birmingham and fellow strugglers Hull, Zola's men have since slumped to six successive defeats.
Although three of those came against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, losses at home to Bolton, Wolves and Stoke are simply unacceptable for a team trying to climb away from the relegation zone.
2. Considering his position
Following Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Stoke, Gianfranco admitted he was considering his position as manager of West Ham. He said: "I need to find out what is the problem - and if the problem is me. I will have to think about that overnight." When a manager starts to doubt his own abilities and whether he's the right man for the job, he loses the one thing a manager should always have - control.
3. Not the owners' choice
Since the two Davids, Gold and Sullivan, took charge of West Ham, there have always been rumblings of discontent in the Upton Park boardroom. By all accounts they don't want him as their manager, and when the chairmen don't have faith in the most important man at their club, it can be a recipe for disaster.
4. Fan rebellion
The Upton Park faithful could be heard chanting 'You're getting sacked in the morning' after Matthew Jarvis' third goal for Wolves last Tuesday night. Fan opinion matters these days, and if they want him out then it's likely the owners will act sooner rather than later.
5. Bad signings
After over a year of financial strife, the investment of Gold and Sullivan finally secured West Ham's long-term future, as well as providing Zola with some much-needed transfer funds. He chose to bring in three strikers – Mido, Ilan and Benni McCarthy. With just one goal between them since January, Gianfranco's signings have been nothing short of abysmal thus far.
6. Lack of experience
Prior to his appointment at the east London club, Zola's only coaching experience came during a brief stint as Italy under-21 assistant manager. With such little experience to draw upon during a relegation battle, the former Chelsea forward doesn't have the knowledge or understanding to lead his team out of their current predicament.
7. Good team - bad results
If West Ham had been promoted last season and failed to invest in new playing staff then their current position might be understandable. But for a squad that finished in the top half of the table last season and which contains the likes of Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole, their results and league standing just simply aren't good enough.
8. Matthew Upson comments
After the demoralising defeat to relegation rivals Wolves on Tuesday, club captain Matthew Upson revealed that the squad were "near rock bottom". When your skipper is coming out with revelations like that, rather than rallying the troops, you know something isn't quite right with the players' mentality.
9. West Ham 0-1 Stoke City
For a team without a point in five games, Saturday's lacklustre display against Tony Pulis' Stoke was the complete opposite of what West Ham should've delivered. What they needed was a positive reaction and a battling display, instead they looked nervous and devoid of confidence - a worrying sign with just six games left to play.
10. Nice guys finish last
When you're battling to motivate underperforming players down near the bottom of the league, niceness is not a quality that managers particularly need. Unfortunately for Zola, he has a reputation for being a bit too kind and polite for his own good. Whether this is true behind the scenes, we might never know. But as the old saying goes - 'Nice guys finish last'.
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- A product of Brighton University's prolific youth system, Joe Strange has boundless energy and the enviable ability to cover every blade of grass in his Monday blog. Joe has written for a variety of football websites and fanzines and is also a regular contributor to golf.co.uk. Despite being born and raised in Kent, 'Stranger' is a diehard Everton fan and counts his team's penalty shoot-out victory against Manchester United last season as his most memorable football moment. Follow Joe on Twitter @joe_strange.
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