Hammers search for British manager

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West Ham expect to appoint a British manager to replace Avram Grant, co-owner David Sullivan has claimed, ruling out a potential return to Upton Park for fans favourite Paolo di Canio.

On Monday, former England manager Steve McClaren ruled himself out of the running, while the likes of Martin O'Neill, whom the board tried to appoint in January, Sam Allardyce, Chris Hughton, Malky Mackay and Roberto di Matteo have all been linked with the vacancy. Sullivan, however, suggested a move for another foreign coach was unlikely.

He told Sky Sports News: "I think we will definitely get an English manager, or a British manager. We do need someone who understands the culture and if you get someone with a knowledge of the East End that's so much better. We will wait to see who applies and wait to see what happens generally, but it will be resolved within two weeks, I should think."


Sullivan admitted the appointment of former Chelsea and Portsmouth manager Grant last summer following the dismissal of Gianfranco Zola was a "bad selection" by the board.

While di Canio, who achieved cult status during a four year spell with the Irons from 1999 to 2003 and has a lounge named after him at Upton Park, would certainly be a popular move with supporters, Sullivan believes the 42-year-old Italian's lack of coaching experience would make it difficult to justify ahead of life back in the npower Championship.

"The problem with Paolo is, although the fans would love it, I am being realistic and he has no experience whatsoever being a manager," Sullivan added.

"If you look at first-season managers the failure rate is enormous.

"If he had done a season anywhere and was, say, top of Serie B in Italy with a team, I would take the chance.

"My heart would say Paolo and the fans would say Paolo - but with someone who's a complete novice as a manager, with no experience, you just can't go with it."

Relegation is set to hit West Ham hard financially, but Sullivan maintains he and co-owner David Gold, both life-long fans, would inject more cash to keep the club afloat.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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