Grant confirmed as West Ham manager

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The Independent Football

West Ham today appointed Avram Grant as their new manager on a four-year contract.

Grant led Portsmouth to last month's FA Cup final before leaving Fratton Park two weeks ago and also steered Chelsea into the 2008 Champions League final.

"I'm proud and honoured to be the manager of West Ham. It's an exciting challenge and I'm ready to do my best," Grant told the club's official website, www.whufc.com.

Grant, whose new appointment is subject to a successful work permit application, was sacked by Chelsea shortly after the European final defeat by Manchester United two years ago.

The 55-year-old Israeli returned to the Barclays Premier League with Portsmouth last October, first as director of football and then as manager following the removal of Paul Hart.

His success in leading Portsmouth, who were subsequently placed into administration, to the FA Cup final amid horrendous financial constraints won universal approval.

"West Ham is a fantastic club with great fans and a history that is respected around the world," continued Grant.

"I'm already looking forward to getting to work with my players in July and preparing for the new season."

Co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold jointly acclaimed Grant's arrival as the "beginning of a new era at West Ham United".

His predecessor Gianfranco Zola steered West Ham to safety last season with 35 points, enough to keep them one place above the relegation zone, but was sacked soon after.

The Hammers were saved more by the shortcomings of the teams below them than their own efforts, forcing Gold and Sullivan to act.

"I have to say that having met Avram and spent some time with him that we have got our man. He is a perfect fit," said Gold.

"We needed experience and stability. He's a footballing man and quite frankly his reputation speaks for itself.

"He has a great sense of humour and I'm sure the players will relate to him and the fans will warm to him."

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, Blackpool boss Ian Holloway, Cardiff manager Dave Jones and Sam Allardyce of Blackburn had also been linked with the job.

"I'm delighted to welcome Avram to West Ham and am confident he will prove a success," said Sullivan.

"We have taken our time over this appointment and are certain we have got the right man.

"We are all looking forward to next season with new players coming in and Avram's arrival is just the latest reason for real optimism."

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