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Page last updated at 07:16 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

West Ham to miss out on Martin O'Neill as next manager

Martin O'Neill
West Ham's attempts to land O'Neill appear to have failed

Martin O'Neill has ruled himself out of the running to become West Ham's new manager, BBC Sport understands.

The former Aston Villa and Celtic boss looked set to replace Avram Grant at Upton Park this week.

But BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Murphy said: "The way I read it is that it has all been too hurried for him.

"Martin O'Neill has never been the sort of manager to rush into decisions. He's always had a measured attitude towards his next move. He's very rational."

It has also been suggested that the Northern Irishman, 58, was angered by the way in which news of his likely arrival at the club was leaked to the media on Saturday ahead of West Ham's match against Arsenal.

Reports stated that the home game against the Gunners would be Grant's last fixture in charge, and he seemed to be saying his goodbyes on the pitch after the 3-0 defeat.

The 55-year-old Israeli applauded fans and threw his claret and blue scarf into the crowd before heading down the tunnel.

But Murphy said: "Martin O'Neill has always micro managed the various stages of his long managerial career and it seems West Ham's key executives were premature in assuming they had landed him.

"O'Neill may be available and very keen to return to management, and as a traditionalist he respects West Ham and their supporters, but any new manager would struggle to revive a West Ham team that has won just four league matches with the January transfer window due to close in just a fortnight.

"The West Ham board have appeared too desperate to appoint a marquee name like O'Neill with a decision imminent on whether they can move to the Olympic Stadium.

O'Neill has always concentrated on the football aspects of the club rather than the local politics and he has never been one to be rushed."

West Ham are battling with Tottenham to take over the stadium at Stratford after the 2012 Olympics, with a preferred bidder expected to be named by the Olympic Park Legacy Company by 28 January.

The Hammers are bottom of the Premier League, with only four wins from 23 matches so far this season.

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Grant, who succeeded Gianfranco Zola in June on a four-year contract, led the Hammers to their worst start in the Premier League, with his side winning two games before the end of November.

However, a run of more positive results in recent weeks, including a 2-1 victory against Birmingham in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final last Tuesday, suggested he might have won a reprieve.

O'Neill's reluctance to replace him may yet earn Grant a stay of execution, but other high-profile names have also been linked with the job.

Among those available are former Tottenham manager Martin Jol, who quit Dutch side Ajax in December, and ex-Bolton and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce, who was sacked by Blackburn Rovers last month.

Stratford-born Chris Hughton is also out of work after he was replaced at Newcastle by former West Ham manager Alan Pardew.

O'Neill has been out of work since quitting Villa just before the start of the season after a dispute with owner Randy Lerner about the resources needed to challenge for a Champions League place.

As manager of Leicester City from 1995-2000, he won the League Cup twice. At Celtic, he won the domestic treble in his first season, led them to the 2003 Uefa Cup final and claimed three League titles and three Scottish Cups in total.

After a brief period out of the sport to care for his sick wife, he joined Villa in 2006, guiding the Midlands club to sixth in the top flight for three consecutive seasons.



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see also
Grant left in limbo after defeat
15 Jan 11 |  West Ham
West Ham 0-3 Arsenal
15 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Grant faces up to media grilling
15 Jan 11 |  West Ham
Grant sets squad survival target
14 Jan 11 |  West Ham
West Ham 2-1 Birmingham
11 Jan 11 |  League Cup
Hammers boss Grant given reprieve
12 Jan 11 |  West Ham


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