West Ham stunned nobody by appointing Alan Curbishely, with Eggbert “Eggsy” Magnusson claiming that Curbs was always his first choice and, rather interestingly, revealed that
‘My only problem was that I could not approach him until the other thing was done.’
We assume he meant that he had to give Pardew his backing on December 4th as a last chance, and probably to prevent losing the support of the fans from day 1. Curbishley certainly did an amazing job at Charlton with limited resources, but that was where he had full control of virtually everything and ages to build the club from the ground up. But the question was always whether Curbs would be able to do the same at a bigger club, with bigger players, bigger egos, and bigger expectations.
Luckily, making the jump from Charlton to West Ham is not quite as daunting as Charlton to a club the size of Manchester United or Chelsea. The Hammers have a squad of solid Premiership players with a British core, the likes of which should be able to relate to Curbishley quickly. The fans are relatively happy and the ship should be turned around sooner rather than later.
But once the purse strings are opened in January and next summer, expectations will shift dramatically, and he will be required to take West Ham to a level far beyond whatever Charlton achieved. But it’s a good sign for the new Alan that his new chairman has given him such immense backing. The fact that Magnusson has publicly tied himself so closely to Curbishley’s appointment means if Curbishley fails, so has he – and that should mean more patience.
And the new boss and his achievements at Charlton have long been the model of the idea that a little patience goes a long way.