Grant looks for West Ham unity

AVRAM Grant wants to see the day when West Ham can be united.

The Hammers boss has presided over a season of turbulence which has seen his side fighting for Premier League survival while he has been fighting for his job.

The club's owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, backed him last month but only after reports that Martin O'Neill had been offered the job at Upton Park.

Now Grant wants to consign all the in-fighting to history and take West Ham to top-flight respectability, starting with today's home encounter against Birmingham.

Victory would take West Ham out of the relegation zone and dump Birmingham, who last month denied the Hammers a place in the Carling Cup final, into real trouble.

Yet Grant believes West Ham must unite, in the boardroom and the dressing room, if they are to survive.

He said: "I wish one day it will be more stable. I want all the people in the club to be happy. We are going together to the same target.

"I say to the owners, the players, the kit men, everybody, we have the same target and we need to be always together.

"As a manager I am doing everything so that this club will be in this direction."

West Ham have won six, drawn three and lost only three of their last 12 matches as Grant's message has begun to hit home with the players.

The signings of Gary O'Neil, Demba Ba, Wayne Bridge and Robbie Keane in the January transfer window have raised expectations around Upton Park and renewed faith in a manager who has had a tormented time so far in English football.

Grant's first season saw him try to stop the ship rocking following Jose Mourinho's departure at Chelsea.

His next job found him amid the financial conflagration at Portsmouth. If anything the last six months have been even more challenging.

Grant is happy for his record to be analysed.

He said: "In every club the difficulties have come from different angles and I am very proud of what I did. I am very proud of this season.

"There are two kinds of people. When there is a fire some people come with oil to make the fire bigger and some come with the water. I come with water."

Not that Grant seeks recognition for his side's improvement.

He is much happier praising players such as midfielder Scott Parker and Victor Obinna who has scored five goals in his last two matches.

Grant, whose side beat Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road on Wednesday, said: "I say to the players it does not matter about people's opinions, it matters what we are doing.

"You need to respect the players. They were in a very difficult situation, six points behind, a lot of injuries, a lot of problems, referee decisions against us in almost every game.

"They did not give up. I believe when you have a big moment you have to be stronger.

"When everything is going well you don't need the character, you need character in a difficult situation.

"I never in my life gave up. I try to transmit that to the players and you saw from the players in the last match a very, very good reaction to a very difficult situation."

He is looking for something similar today.

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