The 2010/2011 campaign was one to forget for any Hammers fan, but who was the terrible manager that made it? And where is he now?
Avram Grant (manager)
Avram Grant was famed for his miserable demeanour and his poor tactics during the shambolic 2010/2011 season. But where is he now?
The 62-year-old has enjoyed a long career in managing which started with a five-year spell at Hapoel Petah Tikva in his native Israel. After a 16-year spell managing various teams within the country, Grant was given his big break in being appointed as the Israel manager mid-way through 2002.The appointment was praised by fans considering his successful time at Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa, two spells in which he won four Israeli Championships.
The former Hapoel Petah Tikva youth player’s time in charge of his national side would prove unsuccessful. After narrowly missing out on qualification for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, Grant was dismissed after a four-year stint at the helm. In June 2006, he was appointed the Technical Director of Harry Redknapp’s Pompey and helped guide them to a ninth-placed Premier League finish in the 2006/2007 season.
As a personal friend of Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich, Grant soon found himself in a similar role with The Blues and in September 2007 was appointed as manager. The Stamford Bridge regulars did not warm to the Israeli and even more interestingly he did not even possess the correct coaching badges for the job. Nevertheless, his time at Chelsea would turn out to be somewhat of a success, as he led the West London club to a 2nd place League finish and a Champions League Final. Following his defeat to Manchester United on penalties in the final, Grant had his contract terminated on May 24th, 2008.
A few months later and the former Tel Aviv manager was back at Fratton Park assuming a new role as Director of Football and just a month after that he was the first-team manager. A calamitous spell would follow, a period that saw Grant guide the 2008 FA Cup winners to another Cup final, but a 20th placed Premier League finish amid a points deduction. After his resignation, following the FA Cup final defeat to former club Chelsea, Gold and Sullivan made their first new manager appointment as Owners of West Ham United and it would be Avram Grant.
To sum up Grant’s first few months at Upton Park, our first point of the campaign would come mid-September away to Stoke City, a game in which he was not present due to Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith. As New Year approached we had only won three Premier League games and rumours of Martin O’Neill taking over were circling. However, a New Year’s Day victory over relegation rivals Wolves would buy Grant some time. Only three further wins would follow and the 62-year-old took his Hammers side into the penultimate game of the season against Wigan needing a win for a chance of staying up on the final day. A banner flew over as we were defeated 3-2 by Roberto Martinez’s men, it read “Avram Grant Millwall Legend”. Following the blowing of the full-time whistle at The DW, we were relegated to The Championship and Grant was sacked less than an hour after the conclusion of the game. Ironically, the Israeli managed to further install his tag of “Cup Manager”, after we ended the season with more Cup wins than League wins.
After ruining his reputation in a damaging two years in English Football, Grant would take up a role with Serbian side Partizan Belgrade. As the former Portsmouth manger was preparing his team for his first game in charge, a friendly against Iranian side Sepahan Isfahan, the match was suddenly cancelled. It was revealed later that the Iranian outfit pulled out of the tie due to the fact that their government did not consider Israel (Grant’s place of birth) as a country. Despite this strange start to life in charge of Partizan, Grant would guide the club to a fifth consecutive Serbian Championship and resign in May 2012.
Following a two-year spell away from the game, Avram Grant was appointed the manager of Ghana in November 2014. His fourth successive major cup final defeat would occur at the 2015 African Cup of Nations, where the Ghanaians were beaten on penalties by The Ivory Coast. On February 2, 2017, Grant resigned as Ghana head coach after being knocked out of this year’s AFCON by Cameroon at the Semi-Final stage. Five months on and the 62-year-old remains on the hunt for his next footballing venture.
All in all, Avram Grant remains one of the worst managers in Premier League history and one of the most hated figures in West Ham United folklore.