It hasn't all been Hunky Dory since Christmas, what with the 5-0 hammering at Newcastle, the 3-0 thumping at home to Arsenal and the 0-1 reverse at the Boleyn against Birmingham, but the twelve Premiership games since Christmas have yielded a very healthy 19 points which, if averaged over a whole season, would see us finish on 60 points, enough last season to finish eighth!
I kept saying that Grant had inherited a mess and that he needed time. There was a faction sworn to Avram's overthrow and they were delirious with excitement when O'Neill appeared to be about to replace him, but they are strangely silent now, as week after week, the team performs admirably. Last week we lost at Stoke because of the absurd performance of referee Jones, but I still saw plenty of fight from the team. Yesterday, we put in the sort of performance that I haven't seen from West Ham since the early days of Zola's reign, before he presided over the dismantling of the team and the demoralisation of the playing staff.
According to his critics, Grant can't coach, can't organise a team and can't motivate. Oh yes? Well, that argument was always silly given he took over from Jose at Chelsea and actually improved on the Special One's results, and then took Pompey to Wembley as the club was hit by a financial tsunami. Ask Pompey fans what they think of Avram and you hear nothing but praise. Compare Avram's record to Scolari's and Ancelotti's at the end of this season - if Chelsea don't make it through to the Champions League final - and Grant will emerge as the better man. Odd that given Scolari won a World Cup, Ancelotti is one of the most successful managers in the history of the game and Grant can't coach, can't organise a team and can't motivate. Square that circle if you can!
The Zola apologists will point to the support and backing Grant has received. Support? When Brady undermines him almost weekly in her newspaper column and when O'Neill was lined up to replace him? That is a funny kind of support!
But look at the money he has spent, is the next argument, and, of course, he has spent very little. Ba could cost us £6million but only if he keeps playing and scoring - what a sensible deal! Keane could cost us £6 million; but only if we stay in the Prem. Barerra might cost us £4million, but only if he makes the grade, which seems very unlikely. Bridge is costing us his wages. Jacobsen was picked up for peanuts. Reid has been signed on a structured deal based on appearances. Piquionne was a bargain at £1million. O'Neill is doing a job and cost less than Zola paid for McCarthy and Hitz, incredibly, cost nothing. Given Reid is "one for the future", I think Grant's transfer dealings have been remarkably smart, much smarter than Nani, Zola's and Curbishley's!
But do I hear Grant being given any credit? Why aren't his critics offering apologies? Why aren't the Avram detractors praising him for his signings, his tactics, the motivation of the team and the results? Remember, we also made it through to the semifinal of the League Cup and were robbed of a semifinal place in the FA Cup by an incompetent referee.
Aston Villa spent £24million on Bent in January and stand one point above us! Mark Hughes inherited a Fulham team that reached a Europa League final last season and they are just 3 points above us. Had we beaten Newcastle, West Brom and Blackpool at home, we would now be on 39 points and relegation would not be an issue. Does anybody believe that with Hitz fit, we wouldn't have won those games?
This is not the time to be complacent and in this craziest of seasons, we could yet go down. But our form since Christmas has been very impressive and, for that, Grant deserves credit. So why is it not forthcoming?