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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Avram Grant to stay as West Ham manager

Avram Grant
Grant's side are bottom of the Premier League on 20 points

West Ham are "committed to retaining Avram Grant as manager" after reports had linked Martin O'Neill with his job.

BBC Sport understands that O'Neill, who left Aston Villa in August, decided over the weekend against taking up any offer to succeed the 55-year-old.

West Ham are bottom of the Premier League but have won three of their last six games under Grant.

The club said in a statement that "potential transfer targets" had been identified in a bid to beat the drop.

Allegations in Tuesday's Daily Mirror newspaper that vice-chairman Karren Brady had asked some of the players to "rise up against Avram Grant" were also categorically denied.

The Hammers said they intended to find the source of what they called "unhelpful and untrue" comments and would remove whoever was responsible from the club. They added that their lawyers were now dealing with the matter.

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The backing given to Grant by the board has been reinforced by co-chairman David Sullivan.

"The entire board is 100% behind Avram," he told ESPNsoccernet.

"He is a really decent person who deserves our support. West Ham United is a club that does the right thing and the right thing at this time is to support the manager.

"We will do all we can to bring in players over the next 12 days and once we have achieved that we hope it will keep us up. I urge all supporters to rally behind the club at this difficult time."

A loan deal for Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge has been West Ham's only move in the transfer window so far, with much speculation focusing instead on Grant's possible departure.

Reports had claimed that former Celtic and Leicester boss O'Neill was likely to take up the reins after Saturday's match against Arsenal.

West Ham made no statement about their managerial position immediately after the Gunners' 3-0 win, although they have now stepped in to make their position clearer on Grant.

Despite Brady's claim in November that the Israeli would "almost definitely" be in charge of the club at the end of the season, Grant's position has seldom seemed secure.

In mid-December, it was widely believed that Grant's job was dependent on him securing a win in his next three games.

After a draw away to Blackburn, his team met that apparent ultimatum with victory over Fulham before also picking up a point against Everton.

Earlier this month, owners David Gold and David Sullivan refused to comment on Grant's position following a board meeting but reports suggested if he was to keep his job the club would have to avoid relegation.

Brady speaking on Grant in November

Grant, who has previously held the manager's position at Portsmouth and Chelsea, is a little over seven months into a four-year deal at West Ham.

Predecessor Gianfranco Zola was sacked in July after West Ham avoided relegation by five points with a 17th-place finish in the Premier League.

Whilst the Italian kept the east London outfit out of the Championship, Grant was unable to prevent a financially stricken Portsmouth side dropping into the second tier last season.

However, Grant managed to galvanise Pompey for an FA Cup run that went all the way to the final.

During his eight-month spell in charge at Chelsea between September 2007 and May 2008, Grant came within a penalty shoot-out of delivering the Blues' first Champions League trophy and his West Ham side have also excelled in knockout football.

They will take a 2-1 advantage to St Andrew's for the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final against Birmingham and made the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Championship side Barnsley.

Although money may be made available to Grant, his purchases while at Upton Park have only been of limited success.

Striker Frederic Piquionne has scored seven goals since his arrival from Lyon, but Mexico winger Pablo Barerra and New Zealand defender Winston Reid have struggled to make an impact.



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see also
West Ham to miss out on O'Neill
18 Jan 11 |  West Ham
Grant left in limbo after defeat
15 Jan 11 |  West Ham
Grant has three games to save job
15 Dec 10 |  West Ham
Hammers board back manager Grant
16 Nov 10 |  West Ham
Grant confirmed as West Ham boss
03 Jun 10 |  West Ham
Zola sacked as West Ham manager
11 May 10 |  West Ham


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