avraham grant 311.
(photo credit: AP)
It may have been only a formality, but Avraham Grant was officially announced as the West Ham United manager on Thursday, cementing his place once and for all as a legitimate Premier League boss.
Grant, who entered Premier League coaching from the back door after stunningly replacing Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager in September 2007, earned praise from all quarters last season after taking charge of Portsmouth in November 2009 and guiding it to the FA Cup final despite the club’s financial meltdown and eventual relegation.
The 55-year-old, who signed a four-year deal at West Ham, will also have his work cut out for him at the east London club, which only just avoided demotion last season, finishing in 17th position, only one place above the relegation zone.
“I am proud and honored to be the manager of West Ham,” said Grant, who is still waiting to be granted a work permit. “It will be an exciting challenge and I am ready to do my best.
“This is a fantastic club with great fans and a history that is respected around the world. I am already looking forward to getting to work with my players in July and preparing for the new season.”
Grant, who replaces Italian Gianfranco Zola, earned a lot of respect in the English game after getting so close to major triumphs at Chelsea in the 2007/08 season. The club lost a penalty shootout to Manchester United in the Champions League final in Moscow two years ago and finished runner-up to United in the Premier League. Chelsea was also a runner-up to Tottenham in the League Cup final.
However, Grant only truly won over his critics last season by leading Portsmouth with class and composure while it went through bankruptcy and – despite failing to guide it away from relegation – taking the south-coast club to the FA Cup final where it lost to Chelsea.
West Ham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan were delighted with Grant’s appointment and were full of praise for the man they hope will help guide the Hammers to success in the future.
“I am delighted to welcome Avraham to West Ham and am confident he will
prove a success,” said Sullivan. “We have taken our time over this
appointment and are certain we have got the right man.”
According to Sullivan, Grant can also expect to have the funds to build his own squad, something he wasn’t afforded at Pompey.
“We are all looking forward to next season with new players coming in
and Avraham’s arrival is just the latest reason for real optimism,”
David Gold said: “I have to say that having met Avraham and spent some
time with him that we have got our man. He is a perfect fit.
“We needed experience and stability. He is a footballing man and quite
frankly his reputation speaks for itself. He has a great sense of humor
and I am sure the players will relate to him and the fans will warm to