Football

Sullivan: We will get right man

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West Ham expect to have a new manager in place by the end of the month, but co-owner David Sullivan has vowed this time it will be the right man for the job of resurrecting the Upton Park club.

The Irons' finally wielded the axe on Avram Grant - only appointed during the summer - after relegation from the Barclays Premier League was confirmed on Sunday following their 3-2 defeat at Wigan.

Former England manager Steve McClaren has already ruled himself out of the running, with Martin O'Neill reported to be head of the wanted list again, the board having offered the Northern Irishman the job during January only to be turned down. "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 said.

Sullivan admitted the appointment of former Chelsea and Portsmouth manager Grant following the dismissal of Gianfranco Zola was a "bad selection" by the board - and it is not a mistake they intend to make again as the east London club face up to life back outside the elite clubs of English football.

He added: "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."

Sam Allardyce, sacked by Blackburn in December, has also been linked with the vacancy, along with Gus Poyet, who has just taken Brighton into the npower Championship. However, both he and fellow former Chelsea midfielder Roberto di Matteo, the ex-West Brom manager, would both appear to have been ruled out by Sullivan's comments over the need for a home-grown boss.

Chris Hughton - who guided Newcastle straight back up and to mid-table in the Barclays Premier League before his untimely axe at St James Park earlier this season - and Watford boss Malky Mackay are both former West Ham players, so are expected to be in the frame. Neil Warnock and Paul Lambert have also been mentioned.

Paulo di Canio 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. The Italian's appointment would certainly be a popular move with supporters.

However, Sullivan insists emotions cannot play any part in what is likely to be the club's most important managerial decision for a decade. "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 is a complete novice as a manager, with no experience, you just can't go with it."

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

Topics:
Portsmouth
West Bromwich Albion
Watford
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Championship
Chelsea
Premier League
Newcastle United
Malky Mackay
Paulo di Canio
Roberto Di Matteo
Wigan Athletic
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United
Brighton & Hove Albion
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