Lou Looks Back

Lou Macari says whoever becomes the ninth West Ham boss will have one of the best jobs in football.

Lou, the shortest serving Hammers chief - and only the sixth in the club's history - says the new man will get all the support he needs from both the fans and the board.

"I had a good time there and when I left I was very disappointed, and since then I have been even more disappointed because I realise what a fantastic club it is.

"It is a great club to be manager of and it is a great club to be part of and whoever gets the job is going to be a lucky fellow.

"But it is a typical club to turn things round at because I think in fairness to most of the managers that have been there they all went with good intentions but somehow or other just can't get the team to the heights that some people want."

As an 'outsider' coming in, a rare event for the Hammers, he said he was nonetheless made welcome.

"I was delighted to go there," he remembers, "and when I joined I was very comfortable.

"The staff made quite at home and I was sad when I had to leave.

"The supporters were fantastic as well, and I'm not just saying that for the sake of saying it.

"With what they have to go through, season after season where things don't happen for them compared to other clubs, they remain very loyal.

"And I think it is during tough times they become even more loyal and I would imagine at this moment in time they are willing to rally round whoever takes over at Upton Park."

"Everyone in the game wants to be managing at the top; sometimes you are fortunate to be given money to spend and it gives you a chance of achieving that goal.

"Other managers go to clubs and realise it is going to be an uphill struggle from day one.

"West Ham do deserve someone in there that will give them a decent run and get them in the top half of the league and I hope that happens for them."

Lou knows that his name is not once again in the frame, despite his efforts at Huddersfield whereby, but for a strange sequence of results on the last day which cost them their Division one status, he nearly achieved the impossible in joining the Terriers late in the season and hauling them out from a position deeply adrift at the bottom.

"Managers whose names come in the frame have to be successful, and when I took over at Huddersfield I was successful for a period but unfortunatelt we didn't manage to do it.

"Had we stayed up I would have looked upon my achievement as a tremendous one but when you get relegated, no matter how far behind you were, no matter how tough your job was,you don't look upon it as an achievement.

"I'll wait until I achieve one or two things before I can think about moving up the way."

Had Lou stayed longer than less than a season, who knows if he might still have been at Upton Park now? He resigned because of the publicity dogging the club regarding what had  happened when he was in charge at Swindon, and he admits: "I was getting a bit of pressure from a certain journalist in Fleet Street and that was on me week in week out in the back pages of the paper, and I didn't feel that was right for West Ham.

"But when I went to the board they were very supportive and didn't want me to go anywhere, unlike a lot of boards that can't wait to get rid of you.

"It was a decision I didn't have to make and I do regret it now; I made a silly decision but I wouldn't do it again, because I have missed out on what would have been wonderful years at the football club."

Lou thinks West Ham are right to keep an open mind about who takes over, insisting: "When I went there I was regarded as an outsider and that was crazy because for years they had picked from within and hadn't had a great deal of success.

"But one thing I am certain of is that whoever takes the job will get a great deal of support from the club, the directors, and the supporters.

"That is a wonderfful start to have as a football manager when you are going in on those terms; but who that person may be, I wouldn't have a clue."

Was he surprised that Harry left?

"Yes and no, at one part of the season things looked bright for them and probably Harry was getting a little bit excited about ending up in the top six.

"But then it all fell away and when that happens the same manager gets a little bit dejected and thinks he'd be better off elsewhere.

"But it was probably a typical West Ham season - it promised a lot, looked good - and then all fell apart."

He also feels there was overhype, concluding: "A lot of things were being said about Joe and Michael and Frank, but they certainly hadn't matured into a midfield that you could say had the rest of the Premiership quaking in their boots about playing against.

"They promised a lot but just didn't deliver in the end.

"The youngsters are good players for the future, but when things went a bit pear shaped there was more disappointment than normal.

"But if anyone rings me about the job I'll say get in there with no hesitation."