West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady has launched a stern defence of the Hammers' hierarchy, pinning full blame on Avram Grant for the club's relegation from the Premier League.
Co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, in addition to Brady, have suffered plenty of criticism for West Ham's disastrous campaign, which yielded just seven league wins all season. The Hammers are comfortably in the Premier League's top 10 clubs when it comes to total salaries paid to players, yet they will finish at the foot of the table on points gained.
Relegation loomed large for West Ham at the turn of the year, yet the club's owners opted to stick with Grant after a failed pursuit of Martin O'Neill. That decision has proved a poor one, but Brady rejects claims that the board did not give their manager 100 per cent backing, insisting he was given everything he requested in a bid to beat the drop.
"Avram was given the best possible conditions to do the job," Brady said in The Sun. "There were no silly targets set, no talk of Europe. We just said: 'Keep us up'.
"He was given extra training-ground staff and his personal needs met - including a driver, a new office and an upgraded expensive football analysis system. When things got tough, we backed him again.
"Avram was given the best possible conditions to do the job. There were no silly targets set, no talk of Europe. We just said: 'Keep us up'."
Grant hinted at behind-the-scenes problems when, following the 3-2 defeat to Wigan, he commented: "I will not go into all the problems we've had this season."
Those theories were inflamed when the announcement of Grant's axing was put on the club's official website whilst he answered questions about his future in a post-match press conference. Brady insists Grant was already aware of the situation.
"Avram was given every chance but he could not deliver," she said. "When the to part came after the last game, it was done privately and amicably. He asked the club to delay the announcement or tell staff for 30 minutes until all post-match duties had been carried out. That wish was respected."