Pardew 'did his best, gave West Ham great FA Cup final memories'

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The former West Ham striker Tony Cottee had no doubts about who should replace Alan Pardew after the manager's sacking yesterday.

"There is only one man and that's Alan Curbishley," he said. "It cannot be anyone else. I don't see anyone else in the picture. The fans always want a West Ham man and Curbishley is West Ham through and through. I would be staggered if it was given to anyone else."

Cottee also speculated that Pardew's dismissal would not necessarily be welcomed by the notoriously unforgiving Hammers fans.

"The fans will be disappointed," he said. "Alan had to work very hard to win them over - the first couple of seasons at the club weren't very good - but eventually he got promotion via the play-offs and had an excellent season as we all know last year.

"During all the takeover talk that was going on the fans were very firmly behind Alan and made their feelings clear. I think there will be quite a few disappointed Hammers."

The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, expressed his sadness over the sacking of his West Ham counterpart.

"Football is unfortunate in that it is a kind of industry where failure is quickly decided upon," Sir Alex said. "I'm sorry to hear it, I don't like anyone losing their job. At least he can be satisfied he did his best, gave West Ham great memories of the FA Cup final and came within a minute of winning it. I'm sad for him - it is not an easy situation for the lad."

Another former West Ham favourite, Tony Gale, blamed the players. "A lot of the players have signed new, bigger contracts and all of a sudden they think they are big players," Gale said. "It's the players really who are to blame - they haven't got the results."

He added: "I feel sorry for Alan that it has all turned around so quickly. The takeover at the club didn't help and the signing of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez was forced upon him. Saying that, if you have got the chance of having those two players in your squad anybody would have said 'yes' to that. Everybody was delighted when they came on board.

"The fact that there were two or three people involved - different consortiums involved - things did get a little bit muddled, results went the other way and now it seems that they have made the change."

John Madejski, the Reading owner and former employer of Pardew, was also sympathetic. "I suppose it is a bit brutal," he said. "I think there's a lot more to come out than we know at the moment. Alan Pardew learnt most of his managerial skills here at Reading and did very well for us, and did very well for West Ham."