Well on the plus side, at least it was only one season. On paper, David Gold and David Sullivan’s decision to make Avram Grant their first managerial choice, succeeding the ineffective Gianfranco Zola, looked a shrewd move.
After all, this was the man who had taken Chelsea to a League Cup and Champions League final, and had also guided Portsmouth to an FA Cup final.
But what was more telling with regard to his West Ham career was that all three of those finals ended in defeat, and that was what Irons fans had to get used to during the Israeli’s one campaign in charge.
A run of four defeats in the opening four league games – conceding three goals in each – only came to an end with a draw at Stoke, a game which Grant missed, which seemed to sum up his impact on the team. They were better off without him.
Whilst managerial success is about more than just screaming and shouting on the touchline, Grant’s low-key personality and laboured body language seemed positively strained, and with the team being so ineffective on the pitch, it did not take fans long to see the message that was being projected from the bench and draw their own conclusions.
On the plus side, Grant’s tenure saw West Ham quickest to react when Winston Reid impressed on the 2010 World Cup stage with New Zealand, and the Kiwi defender remains a key part of the team to the current day.
But the loan signing of players like Robbie Keane and Wayne Bridge gave off an air of patching up a sinking ship the whole way through the campaign.
A 4-0 League Cup win over Manchester United on a snowy night at the Boleyn was a rare highlight of a miserable season, and despite a flurry of improved form in the New Year, a run of nine league games without a win at the end of the campaign saw the team slide towards a rock-bottom relegation, secured in the most humiliating fashion possible at Wigan, with one game remaining.
Having been 2-0 up, an injury time goal saw the Irons lose 3-2, as gleeful Millwall fans flew a plane over the ground with a banner saying ‘Avram Grant – Millwall legend’. Within an hour of the final whistle, the club confirmed Grant was on his way. The nightmare was over.
A second relegation in eight years, but whereas the one under Glenn Roeder at least had drama, this one was soul destroying to endure.
Grant had decent players at his disposal – Thomas Hitzlsperger and Scott Parker to name just two of the best – but utterly failed to inspire the team, or the fans.
And everyone paid the price. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Who next would be able to turn it around?