Taunted Avram Grant is safe for the time being at West Ham

22 November 2010 01:32
Empathy: Liverpool's manager Roy Hodgson consoles Avram Grant

It was an attempt, at least, to sound supportive, but West Ham co-owner David Gold could do no better than offer backing for Avram Grant 'as we speak', moments after his side's capitulation at Anfield.

Grim-faced after a performance that had relegation stamped all over it, Gold chose his words with care, as he considered how much longer the Barclays Premier League's bottom side might stick by their tormented manager.

Those West Ham fans who made the journey north might have hoped he had chosen differently, and there was a case for wondering whether the same may even have applied to Grant himself.

Pride has so far prevented him walking away, but the limits to his endurance cannot be too far off, after a public humiliation by the side of the pitch.

His motive for lingering at the edge of the technical area may have been to pass on instructions, but its effect was to make him a sitting duck for the away section at the Anfield Road end.

They opened fire with 'You're getting sacked in the morning' and, as Liverpool cruised into a 3-0 lead inside 38 minutes, followed up with 'It's just like watching Brazil' and 'Ole' at any semblance of a passing move.

Finally, when Victor Obinna ballooned a shot yards over, just before half-time, a refrain of 'That's why we're going down' filled the air.

Gold interpreted a solitary chant of 'Avram, Avram give us a wave' as a flicker of hope for Grant but misread what was, without doubt, more mischief-making.

It came within seconds of another taunt about facing the sack and was delivered in mocking tones.

Routed: Liverpool's Glen Johnson scores their first goal against West Ham

Had he responded, it would have met with howls of derision, and he knew it. His hand stayed in his pocket.

In a brief press conference afterwards, before being ushered off to the waiting team coach, he looked downbeat and despondent but did his best to sound defiant.

'We were very poor in the first half and did not come to the game,' he said.

'The fans? They are always right. They have come a long way and wanted to see a good peformance, but, instead, we deserved to lose. It was not their fault we did not perform.

'Will the owners let me see the job through? You can only ask me about things I can control. I am concentrating on my job.

'The minute I think I cannot do it, I will not be here, but I know I can take this team forward.'

How long can this go on? West Ham co-owners David Gold, left, and David Sullivan

Asked about the way Grant was ridiculed throughout, Gold said: 'It was sardonic singing - it is what fans do.

'They are disappointed and there is no question that we have to do better. We have got to do more. The situation is worrying.

'As we speak, we are standing by the manager. We all have to stick together now. It is not a time to run scared. But, by the same token, we know we have to do a lot better.'

Glen Johnson opened the scoring in the 18th minute, then revealed how he had cleared the air with Roy Hodgson after the Liverpool manager claimed he had not been playing like an England right-back.

'Today felt good and was more like it,' he said.

'I'm an honest man, and I don't need to hear it from the manager that I haven't been playing well. I know when I'm playing well and when I'm not.

'Believe me, no one wants me to find my best form more than me, and I was aware of what I had to do.

'It was a little reminder from the boss, and he told me that was what he meant by it.

'We spoke, and he explained he wanted it to help me, to push me, and I said to him then, I don't need people to tell me. I know where I'm at in terms of form, and I knew it all already.

'The gaffer told me he has faith in my ability, so we spoke about it and cleared things up.

'Sometimes comments like that can be made to look more negative than they are meant.

'The boss explained that he didn't mean it in a negative way, just that he knew I had more to offer than I was showing.' Liverpool 3 West Ham 0: Grant down in the dumps as Reds sink HammersUnder-pressure Grant praying West Ham can break 47-year Anfield hoodoo WEST HAM UNITED FC

Source: Daily_Mail