Everyone’s favourite massage parlour visiting grumpy Israeli is a glutton for punishment (I’m not talking about happy endings). Last season he was captain of the biggest sinking ship since Kate and Leo, and he promptly jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, taking over at West Ham, who finished one place above the drop four months ago.
But crisis or no crisis, Avram’s current form makes for grim reading. He has three wins from his last 25 games as a manager. That’s 15 points from 25 games, and five of those were when Portsmouth were already relegated.
West Ham face Spurs this weekend, and the team, and manager, probably needs a win to appease the doubters. They have started off dreadfully this season, conceding three goals in four out of their five games. It really has been Scotty Parker stick, and if Avram cannot invigorate his players for grudge derby match, then his ability will surely be questioned again.
Yesterday I discussed why Woy Hodgson is a worried man. It therefore seems unnecessary to include him in this list. Instead let us focus on his captain. Yesterday Stevie G came out and told the Liverpool fans to trust the players that things well get better.
Gerrard knows as well as anyone that players are never blamed in these situations, and that the buck stops with the manager. Gerrard (and Torres) it seems, are Roy’s ticket to the promised land of stability at Anfield. Both need to start tomorrow. Sunderland are a side that should be disposed of, but they are also a side that will be buoyed after the point taken off Arsenal last week.
The question of whether or not the players should be trusted, when we have been a trusting a squad containing Gerrard for a period three World Cups and three European Championships can be left at the door, but trust is gained through action. That action needs to be three points on Saturday.
Everton always start badly. This has been brought up all week. But the facts remain. Everton have not started this badly for fifteen years. On Tuesday they lost to Brentford. They have scored four goals in five games (and three of these in one crazy game against United). David Moyes has come in for stick for refusing to budge from his one up front formation, even when Tim Cahill is unavailable. The strikers at the club (Beckford, Yakubu, Saha) are unproven, unfit, and injury-prone.
Moyes will not be sacked from Everton. But he could walk. And for a manager talked up as Fergie’s successor that would be a bitter pill to swallow. A tricky trip to unbeaten Fulham provides the next test.
Last season, Cotterill was treated as the Messiah at Meadow Lane for gaining promotion with Notts County, despite being at on a financial rollercoaster. Cotterill left the club in the summer, announcing that he wanted to be at a club with greater stability.
Instead, he chose one of a handful of clubs with less.
Portsmouth were not widely expected to jump straight back into the Premier League. They were hoping for mediocrity. So far they have disaster. Two points have been gained from 21, and tonight Pompey host Leicester City on TV.
Their squad is threadbare, but still contains seven internationals (DISCLAIMER: one of these is David Nugent). Pompey must improve, and improve soon, or the feeling will be that Cotterill, an impressive lower league manager, has bitten off more than he can chew.
It has not been a good season for footballers. If it’s not Rooney it’s Crouch. If it’s not Vela it’s Ribery (and he comes out of this the best in my eyes…seen her?).
And now it is Bramble’s turn. Co-accused of rape with his footballer brother, Bramble has been bailed pending enquiries. It may well turn out to be a storm in a tea cup. One thing is for certain: travelling to Anfield, Steve Bruce will Titus to a) be playing and b) be playing as he has in the last year as oppose to Tit-up Titus.
The spotlight will be on Bramble, analysing his every move. Not exactly something he has been comfortable with over the years.