Will West Ham be playing Championship football next season?

Avram Grant can still keep West Ham afloat but it will be tough with only a few games remainingWith just under a month of season-defining fixtures left for those teams in the Premier League, one club in particular has found it harder to grasp survival chances than Fernando Torres has of finding the back of the net (1 goal in 14 fixtures, very majestic El Nino). West Ham United sit at the foot of the table with just 4 games remaining, 3 of which are certain 6 pointers. The glimmer of hope comes from the fact that they are only 2 points off safety, but time isn’t on their side.

In Scott Parker, the Hammers boast the Football Writers Association’s Player of the Year, and yet the club still find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table. Sorry, am I missing something here? You have the best player in the whole of English football in your squad and yet you’re still bottom of the league? Blimey, are the rest of the squad a bunch of monkeys? Well to be honest, they do have Rob Green in goal (England vs. USA, anyone?). OK, so maybe his calamitous error in the World Cup wasn’t purely the reason why England failed in South Africa, but it’s someone to pin the blame on aside from ‘Clueless Capello’ and definitely one of the main things we’ll remember butterfingers by.

Banter aside, West Ham are too good for the Championship, but are they strong enough to play Premiership football? Perhaps they should make their own league with the likes of Wolves, Birmingham and Wigan, which sits in-between the two divisions, titled “We’re-better-than-the-Championship-but-not-good-enough-for-the–Premiership-League” (the entwinement of both leagues and syllables does wonders for its individuality).

One of the reasons why the Hammers have looked inferior to the fellow Premiership teams, and have taken one step forward and two steps back, is partly due to the man in charge. Avram Grant has failed to release the ugly side of his players, the side which is up for a fight and will throw themselves in front of anything, and much has been left to spearhead Parker. I mean, Robbie Keane, Matthew Upson, Wayne Bridge and Carlton Cole are all players who have been around English football long enough to know that playing like a fairy week in, week out doesn’t result in survival, especially when each point is like a scrap of meat to a pack of wolves. They have failed to get down and dirty and haven’t produced any of the gritty results like Sunderland, West Brom and Stoke have, and ultimately have failed to attain the chance of avoiding the drop.

Aside from the, shall we say, near-impossible fixture the Hammers face on May 1st, away to Manchester City is followed by an away fixture to Wigan, sandwiched between home games against Blackburn and Sunderland respectively. These final 3 fixtures are all 6 pointers and will determine the outcome of West Ham’s season. If they can pick up at least 7 points from the final 4 fixtures the Hammers will surely stay afloat. The home fixtures will be pivotal and the fans will have to turn the Boleyn Ground into a fortress for just 180 of the slowest minutes ever experienced by all involved with the club. That said, West Ham, Wigan, Sunderland and Blackburn have mustered just 18 points out of a possible 72 points, so expect about as much attacking flair as that offered by Audley Harrison.

Whether or not Grant does manage to rescue West Ham from relegation, I can’t see him remaining at the helm headed into next year based on the fact that West Ham haven’t met the form which once saw them reside in a comfortable mid-table finish for back to back seasons just a couple of years ago. If they do go down, Parker, Cole, Mark Noble and co. will all look to exit before the ship really does plummet. I personally think that they will steer clear of the precipice and I think hearts will be worn on sleeves for the fixtures against Blackburn, Wigan and Sunderland. I guess I could be asking a lot – we are talking about a one man team with the second worse goal difference in the division, but who better than to be at the forefront your charge then Scott Parker?

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