Threat of relegation stirs an Icelandic squall for Pardew

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The Independent Football

Alan Pardew was not the only one shocked by West Ham United's appalling performance in losing at home to Wigan in the Premiership on Wednesday evening. The club's new chairman, Eggert Magnusson, and Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the millionaire who bankrolled the £85m Icelandic takeover, were too.

It will not help the manager's cause that it was Gudmundsson's first match at Upton Park and that he was joined by many of his associates, who expected much more. Afterwards the talk was of the lack of fight and spirit shown by the team.

For now Pardew will continue planning for the January transfer window and is in discussions with Magnusson as to which players the club will target - with a move for Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips already under way. But the fact that West Ham have dropped into the relegation places may make it harder to attract the players they want.

The club are certainly paying the price for the lack of ambition shown in the transfer market last summer, when funds were held back and Pardew had to look at bargain basement signings.

No deadline has been set - Pardew has not been given a certain number of games - but Magnusson will not want to be in a relegation battle for long, given the scale of his consortium's investment. With fixtures against Bolton, away, and a home game against Manchester United to come, Pardew knows he has to turn things around quickly.

"I'm tempted to change when you get a performance like that," he said after the Wigan defeat. "But I have been pretty loyal to the tried and trusted. Whether I stay loyal will be decided between now and Saturday. I need to see a reaction from the players." Those players were in training yesterday and the mood was said to be buoyant.

Gudmundsson, the club honorary life president, made clear relegation would be intolerable. He said he had invested because he is a football fan but also because it was a "good business opportunity". That would change if it becomes a Championship club.

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