Grant's rise and fall
Tim Allman, Capital Canaries Peter Grant, a proud, honest and principled man, walked away from Carrow Road with his head held high, but he could see the writing on the wall. Grant left Norwich City at the right time, with his dignity intact.
Tim Allman, Capital Canaries
Peter Grant, a proud, honest and principled man, walked away from Carrow Road with his head held high, but he could see the writing on the wall. Grant left Norwich City at the right time, with his dignity intact.
His predecessor should take note here; or perhaps Grant saw how a long drawn out and bitter saga could damage the reputation of a man new to football management, and realised it was time to go.
Prior to his time at Norwich City, Peter Grant was Alan Pardew's number two at West Ham, appointed in January 2004. I understand that he was very much “bad cop” to Alan Pardew's “good cop”, and a real disciplinarian, a role in which he earned respect, but did not make him any friends with the players
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After their ninth place finish and cup final appearance, West Ham started the following season poorly. Stories were circulating that Alan Pardew had taken his eye of the ball during the early part of the campaign, and some of the players in the squad, immersed in the “Baby Bentley Culture”; were more concerned with their off-field activities and image than Saturday afternoons.
Was the previous season a case of “too much too young” for West Ham?
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Stewart Robson, wrote a revealing article in the Sunday Telegraph during October 2006. He wrote, of West Ham, that “His (Pardew's) insistence that he had rebuilt the club with a clear philosophy and great professionalism has proved unfounded and I believe he has nurtured a yob culture among the players”.
That article was written soon after Grant had joined Norwich, and West Ham, at that time were at the foot of the Premier League, and the rot at Upton Park was clearly well set in.
So why did Grant leave West Ham? Were the players getting too big for their boots and no longer responding to him? Had he had enough of the culture there?
I don't know the answers, but these questions may indicate that the management style required, as number two at West Ham, compared to being in charge Norwich, was completely different given the club and the players in the squad.
Grant started like a whirlwind at Norwich. But he also fell out with players, most notably Youssef Safri. Grant claimed that Safri wanted out from day one, in direct contradiction to Safri who claimed he loved the club and did not want to leave.
From a personal point of view, I am more inclined to believe that it was Safri's entourage of agents, who had been proving problematic to the directors of the club for some time, which ultimately led to his exit from Carrow Road.
No one was immune from criticism. Five goals against Barnet drew a barbed response about his new star striker, Jamie Cureton.
Even Darren Huckerby, whose brilliance won him the player of the season award, was rebuked.
Nor were the fans safe from his comments; after a dreadful performance against Hull, we took a verbal swipe for the lack of support in the final minutes of a very poor game.
He wasn't helping himself on the pitch either, although injuries and some needless suspensions to key players did not aid his cause.
The tide really started turning against him after the Charlton game where a negative approach and some mystifying tactics saw Norwich succumb to two late Andy Reid penalties.
The players eventually sealed Grant's fate, with an x-rated TV performance at QPR so bereft of anything remotely resembling football, that Grant amazingly issued himself with his own ultimatum, broadcast on Radio Norfolk, and the following evening, he was gone, having spent only a year in the Carrow Road hot seat.
Having listened to interviews with Jason Shackell and Daryl Russell the following day, the conclusion that I have drawn is that some of the players were not at sorry to see him go.
Perhaps it was his overbearing presence on the sideline, or public criticism of them, or just his management style, which was a more appropriate approach as a number two to Alan Pardew at West Ham, but was never going to work at Carrow Road.
Those of the Capital Canaries who have met Peter Grant found him to be an approachable, decent man with a passion for football and for Norwich City, and with time for everyone.
For whatever reasons, it just didn't work out for Grant at Norwich City. I wish him success in his next role in football, wherever that may be.