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Jan 21, 2011

Cottee slams Hammers over O'Neill

West Ham legend Tony Cottee has launched a scathing attack on the club's owners over their handling of the pursuit of Martin O'Neill.

• Tony Cottee interview in full
• Weekend team news
• Bendtner not interested in Hammers
• Behrami set to leave
• Blog: 'Things remain same' shocker

It was revealed across the English media last week that the Hammers were sounding out former Villa boss O'Neill about whether he would be willing to replace under-fire boss Avram Grant.

But despite O'Neill initially expressing an interest in private, the public nature of the club's approach for him reportedly led to the Northern Irishman rejecting West Ham's overtures.

And Cottee, who scored 145 goals in 335 games for the Hammers, feels that the club's co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan may have put the future of the club in jeopardy by failing to land O'Neill.

"While I think Gold and Sullivan deserve credit for taking over the club when lot of people were talking a good game but didn't put their money on the table, but I do feel they've made quite a few mistakes," Cottee told ESPNsoccernet.

"They didn't really help Gianfranco Zola, I think they could've given him a bit more time and a bit more support and once they did get rid of him they appointed the wrong man in Avram Grant.

"That was a mistake as well and more recently, the way they have gone about trying to get Martin O'Neill while Grant is still in a job is wrong as well. The owners are coming out and backing him now but you wonder if the damage has been done and if the club are now on the slippery slope to relegation."

Cottee is of the opinion that Grant has never been the right man for West Ham and says he now fears for the club's chances of survival.

"I don't know what Grant is like in the dressing room as all I see is his interviews and his mannerisms at the side of the pitch, but I look at him and he wouldn't motivate me," Cottee said.

"You need to get the best out of the players and he doesn't seem to be doing that ... Martin was my manager at Leicester for three years so I know exactly how good it is. I think if he had got the job then West Ham would have stayed up this year.

"I think now that they've kept Grant in charge there is a good chance they will go down because I just don't think he's the right man for the job."

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