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TOXIC HAMMERS; SUNDAY MIRROR 09.02.2020 64 SMUULS MANCHESTER CITY v WEST HAMNothing's changed on and off the pitch since we went down in 2011 I fear for them now, and owners must take blame.

Byline: DANNY GABBIDON EXCLUSIVE BY GRAHAM THOMAS

DANNY GABBIDON has warned West Ham they face a disastrous repeat of history if they don't change their flawed "half-measures" strategy - and quick.

The former Hammers defender - now a TV pundit - holds deep fears for the relegationthreatened club because of how it is still being run by co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan.

Gabbidon was part of the West Ham squad that were relegated from the Premier League in 2011 and sees alarming similarities between then and now - both on and off the field.

The former Wales star (right) insists that David Moyes and his team have got to start scrapping for every point in even the most unlikely places - such as today's visit to the Etihad.

"I do fear for We s t Ham n o w, if I'm honest," said Gabbidon. "I think most of us were reasonably optimistic at the start of the season, given the players they had brought in.

"But those players didn't really perform. There is a toxic atmosphere down there at the moment.

"The players are not doing enough to relieve that with their own performances and they're in a difficult moment.

"When you are in the relegation zone, the quicker you can get out of it the better.

et "You can't target games and say, "These are the ones we need to win".

"You have to try and win every game, no matter how unrealistic that might look - but the next four fixtures look extremely difficult, when every game is a pressure game."

Moyes' appointment after the sacking of Manuel Pellegrini in December brought a thumping victory over Bournemouth, but the "new manager bounce" hardly got off the ground and United are without a win in six matches.

Gabbidon is reluctant to pin too much on the boss - and firmly believes that owners Sullivan and Gold have presided over a botched reboot.

He added: "I wouldn't say it is the manager's fault. He's come into a difficult situation and he's trying to rectify it.

rec h "The owners have to take the brunt of the blame.

no "For a long time now, they have promised a lot and haven't delivered.

"That's where the frustration of the fans lies - not with the manager.

"For me, it always seems to be half-measures. You can only do that for so long and then it catches up with you.

"It looks, on the surface, as though they have spent money. But when you look at those players who have gone out, then the net spend is not as big as some people may think.

"Then, you look at the training ground.

"It was an old training ground when I was first there back in 2005 and they really need to start moving with the times.

"They need a new training ground - but they've been using the one for their academy.

"The stadium itself isn't their own and it's multi-purpose, not especially suitable for football.

"So there are lot of things that have been done by half-measures.

"Every club is now spending, trying to develop and I just think the West Ham outlook has been more from a business perspective.

"But you have to get the football side right first, and the business success only follows on the back of that."

Gabbidon says new January signings Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek offer West Ham some hope of escape, but he can't escape the parallels with the 2010-11 season when he and the Hammers were relegated under the uninspiring Avram Grant.

Their fate was sealed by a catastrophic 3-2 defeat at Wigan, where they had been 2-0 ahead.

Gabbidon said: "Back in 2011, we didn't sign enough players pre-season.

"We brought guys in on loan in the January, like Robbie Keane and Wayne Bridge, but by then it was too late.

"The club were cutting corners, even back then.

"The fans got on the players' backs and, by the end of the season, it became difficult to play at home, there was so much pressure.

"By the end, I can remember there were at least a couple of players who just didn't want to be out there.

"It is now up to Moyes to galvanise the players. He has brought in a couple of new faces.

"Bowen's been scoring in the Championship, should feel confident and I'm hopeful he can brighten things up. Soucek might add some steel to the midfield.

"It would be disastrous to get relegated, so damaging to the club - but it's going to happen if they don't start getting results."

BATTLE TO BEAT THE DROP FINAL RUN-IN FOR BOTTOM SIX BRIGHTON Matches against bottom 6 rivals (2) Yest: Home to Watford 1-1 Feb 22: Sheff Utd A Feb 29: C Palace H Mar 7: Wolves A Mar 14: Arsenal H Mar 22: Leicester A Apr 4: Man Utd H Apr 11: Norwich A Apr 18: Liverpool H Apr 25: Man City H May 2: Southampton A May 9: Newcastle H May 17: Burnley A BOURNEMOUTH matches against bottom 6 rivals (0) Today: Sheff Utd A Feb 22: Burnley A Feb 29: Chelsea H Mar 7: Liverpool A Mar 14: C Palace H Mar 21: Wolves A Apr 4: Newcastle H Apr 11: Man Utd A Apr 18: Spurs H Apr 25: Leicester H May 2: Man City A May 9: Southampton H May 17: Everton ASTON VILLA matches against bottom 6 rivals Feb 16: Spurs Feb 22: Southampton Mar 9: Leicester Mar 14: Chelsea Mar 21: Newcastle Apr 4: Wolves Apr 11: Liverpool Apr 18: Man Utd Apr 25: C Palace May 2: Everton May 9: Arsenal May 17: WEST HAM TBC: Sheff Utd (1) WEST HAM matches against bottom 6 rivals (Today: Man City A Feb 24: Liverpool A Feb 29: Southampton H Mar 7: Arsenal A Mar 15: Wolves H Mar 20: Spurs A Apr 4: Chelsea H Apr 11: Newcastle A Apr 18: Burnley H Apr 25: Norwich A May 2: Watford H May 9: Man Utd A May 17: A Villa H WATFORD matches against bottom 6 rivals (3) Yest: Away to Brighton 1-1 Feb 23: Man Utd A Feb 29: Liverpool H Mar 7: C Palace A Mar 14: Leicester H Mar 21: Burnley A Apr 4: Southampton H Apr 11: Chelsea A Apr 18: Norwich H Apr 25: Newcastle H May 2: WestHam A May 9: Man City H May 17: Arsenal A NORWICH matches against bottom 6 rivals (3) Feb 15: Liverpool H Feb 23: Wolves A Feb 28: Leicester H Mar 7: Sheff Utd A Mar 14: Southampton H Mar 21: Everton H Apr 4: Arsenal A Apr 11: Brighton H Apr 18: Watford A Apr 25: WestHam H May 2: Chelsea A May 9: Burnley H May 17: Man City A MAY 15, 2011 WIGAN 3 WEST HAM 2 Relegated: Blackpool, Wigan, WestHam Premier League N'Zogbia 57, 90+4 Ba 12, 26 7/1 Manchester City to win 4-0 MATC| |Manchester City have won each of their last seven Premier League meetings with West Ham, scoring 23 goals and conceding three. | |West Ham have taken four points from a FACTS possible 39 in PL games at the Etihad Stadium (W1 D1 L11), drawing 1-1 in January 2008 and winning 2-1 in September 2015. | |West Ham have lost 20 of their 23 PL away games against reigning champions (W1 D2). | |City have already lost six PL games this season - as many as they had in their previous two campaigns combined. TODAY, KICK-OFF 4.30PM LIKELY TEAMS MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Mendy, Rodri, Gundogan De Bruyne, Mahrez, B Silva, Aguero WEST HAM UNITED: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Soucek, Snodgrass, Antonio, Bowen

BOTTOM SIX P W D L F A Gd Pts Brighton 25 6 8 11 30 37 -7 26 Bournemouth 25 7 5 13 25 38 -13 26 Aston Villa 25 7 4 14 32 47 -15 25 WestHam 25 6 6133043-1324 Watford 25 5 8 12 23 39 -16 23 Norwich 25 4 6 15 24 47 -23 18

CAPTION(S):

BOTCHED JOB Gold and Sullivan failed West Ham

JACKING IT IN Collinson as Wigan put drop on Irons

DISGRUNTLED Hammers fans

HOPELESS Irons were relegated under Avram Grant

LOOK AWAY NOW: West Ham boss David Moyes gets sinking feeling
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:DANNY GABBIDON EXCLUSIVE BY GRAHAM THOMAS
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 9, 2020
Words:1387
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