ONeill set to take over at West Ham

Last updated : 15 January 2011 By BBC Sport

Martin O'Neill is being lined up to replace Avram Grant as manager of West Ham after Saturday's match against Arsenal, BBC Sport understands.The Hammers are bottom of the Premier League, although Grant has lost only one of his last seven games in charge.

O'Neill, 58, quit Aston Villa out of the blue on the eve of this season.

"O'Neill and West Ham have been in talks over the last week and it seems he will be the new manager," said BBC sports news correspondent Dan Roan.

"My understanding is Avram Grant will be sacked following West Ham's match against Arsenal at Upton Park.

"We haven't had anything official yet from the club but this is what sources are indicating to us.

"There was a board meeting on Wednesday after which club owners David Sullivan and David Gold refused to publicly back their man and it seems a decision has been taken and this will be Grant's last match in charge."

O'Neill, well that would be a coup, but like some coups d'etat it could be very short lived


Israeli Grant, who succeeded Gianfranco Zola in June, led West Ham to their worst ever start in the Premier League, with his side winning only two games before the end of November.

However, recent positive results, including the 2-1 defeat of Birmingham in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final on Tuesday, suggested he might have won a reprieve.

And on Friday the 55-year-old declared himself unworried by speculation concerning his future at the club.

"It doesn't concern me. I have a job here and I have to focus on that. I love the vision of the club. It's a big, big challenge," he said.

"We have made progress on the football side. We are at the bottom but we are not worse than any of the seven teams down there.

"We are two points from 14th place. I think we are doing the right things. I do not think we will be bottom at the end of the season. If I thought that I would not be here."

Northern Irishman O'Neill made his name as a manager at Wycombe Wanderers, leading them into the Football League for the first time.

He had a short spell at Norwich before landing the top job at Leicester in 1995, where he won the League Cup twice.

O'Neill's next stop was Celtic, where he won the domestic treble in his first season, led them to the 2003 Uefa Cup final and won three League titles and three Scottish Cups in total.

After a brief period out of the sport to care for his sick wife, O'Neill joined Villa in 2006, leading the Midlands club to sixth in the Premiership for three seasons running.

However, he resigned in August 2010, five days before the start of the new season, reportedly because he was unhappy with the transfer funds available.

"The understanding from sources close to him is he's not finished with football and he still believes he has the desire and hunger it takes to manage at the top level," added Roan.

"I wouldn't be surprised if West Ham offered him some kind of short-term contract, perhaps a six-month contract, highly incentivised, trying to ensure that they do survive."

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport