Former captain Julian Dicks labels West Ham a 'laughing stock'

Former West Ham captain Julian Dicks has accused David Gold and David Sullivan of turning the club into a "laughing stock" over their failure to end the growing speculation over Avram Grant's future.

Grant's position looked increasingly precarious after Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal was preceded by intense speculation that Martin O'Neill had been sounded out about the possibility of replacing the Israeli.

Grant insisted that he was still in charge following the loss, which kept West Ham rooted to the foot of the league, but fans groups have strongly condemned the owners for their failure to either back or sack the former Chelsea boss.

The club have been silent on rumours that Grant was being lined up for the sack today.

Now Dicks, who became a West Ham legend after playing over 250 times in his 10 years at the club, has called on the pair to end the rumours about Grant's future.

He said: "All I know is what I have seen in the newspapers and on the television - I heard one minute that Avram was leaving, then the next I hear it's Martin O'Neill who's coming in, and then he isn't. We're becoming a laughing stock really.

"They (Gold and Sullivan) have the best interests of the club and the supporters at heart, I'm sure, but they need to come out and end all this speculation and say 'we support you' or they should sack him.

"They need to get this sorted out so everyone can start concentrating on the football again."

Despite leading the Hammers to the Carling Cup semi-final, Grant has so far only been able to register four league wins and his team are two points adrift of safety having played at least one more game than their relegation rivals.

Should the Londoners replace Grant with O'Neill, Dicks thinks the former Leicester boss would be a good appointment.

"I would like to think Martin O'Neill would do a good job for the club," said Dicks, who now manages non-league Grays Athletic.

"He is an experienced and very passionate manager and has had a lot of success at all the clubs he has been at.

"There are a lot of managers out there that are out of work and apart from Roy Hodgson maybe, he is the highest-profile one of the lot."

With West Ham around £90million in debt, Dicks knows that money is tight at the club but insists that any new manager must be given transfer funds to improve the current squad.

"They need to bring in four players quickly," said the 42-year-old.

"They need a central midfielder to play alongside Scott Parker and they need a striker that is going to score goals and work hard for the team.

"They could do with a right-back and a centre-half too."

Gold and Sullivan admitted that the club would face "Armageddon" if they were relegated when they took over last January.

The former Birmingham owners have cut the West Ham's debt and reduced costs but Dicks admits being relegated could have a devastating effect on the club.

"Nobody wants to get relegated from any division, let alone the Premier League. It would be unthinkable if West Ham got relegated," Dicks added.

"It would be financially catastrophic for the club if they went down. There are debts at the club and the players' wages are huge.

"I couldn't imagine paying £75,000 to Championship player."

Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, has refused to comment on speculation linking him with the post.

"Avram has not been released from his position so it's not for me to speculate on that," the former Blackburn manager told Sky Sports News.