Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Curb Your Enthusiasm (for now)

We probably shouldn't be surprised, but it seems certain that Alan Curbishley will be named as West Ham's manager within hours. It'll be an unusual feeling for us Addicks watching him step out in a claret and blue tie; it'll be a bit like attending your ex-wife's second wedding (not that I'd know, not yet at least).

Elsewhere, our more recent ex-boss is interviewing for the Hull job (recently held by Phil Parkinson, an oft-mentioned candidate for us in the summer). And of course there is pretty strong support (particularly in this part of Manhattan) for Alan Pardew returning to the Valley as our fourth boss in seven months. It's like one great big managerial swingers party.

Ordinarily I'd be wishing Curbs all the very best; not only did he give us fifteen years of fine service, but he's joined West Ham, the local rival that's never really felt like one. However this season is different because West Ham are increasingly looking like a candidate for that select group of clubs that we might (just might) conceivably finish above. So it's a case of good luck Curbs, but I hope you lose every game this season I'm afraid.

In a way I feel a bit sorry for Curbs because he became a victim of his own success at Charlton. Until the last couple of seasons, we had progressed every year implying that the number of clubs which would have been a genuine 'step up' for him was reduced commensurately. And of course, as has become patently obvious, the select group of English mega-clubs would never even have contemplated him. So once it became clear to him (and Charlton's board) that the end of the road had been reached, it was either England or more of the same eg. West Ham.

Although he rightly built a reputation for managerial excellence, for six years (1991-1997) he was really just 'putting out fires' and trying to retain mere stability (which at the time represented success). This initial period permitted him to build out the club in his image (particularly when Steve Gritt left), and gave him time to fully learn his trade (so long as our second-tier status was maintained in the meantime).

Moving to West Ham whilst in 18th place, and with new owners fully aware that the very assumptions upon which they have bought the club will be irrelevant in the case of relegation, is a very different challenge and not one that he will have much time to assess. I'm sure in the long-term he will be a fine manager for them; unfortunately as John Maynard Keynes reminded us, by then we'll be dead.

Finally, let's spare a thought for poor Paul Konchesky who must be dreading Curbs' first teamsheet at the weekend. And if Curbs doesn't make an early phone call to Richard Murray to enquire about the availability of the likes of Hughes, Bent M, etc. (Note to Murray: they're available), then do we potentially have grounds to sue? Just a thought.


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