THE JOB NO ONE WANTS

Poyet becomes latest manager to shun West Ham as search for new boss goes on

WEST HAM’S search for a new manager suffered another blow last night when Brighton boss Gus Poyet became the latest candidate to distance himself from taking charge at the crisis-hit Upton Park club.

Poyet, who has begun his managerial career by steering Brighton to this season’s League One title, follows former England head coach Steve McClaren and ex-Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill in shunning the Hammers.

Former Chelsea and Tottenham player Poyet, 43, said: “No chance. I can promise I will never apply for a job during my time at another club, especially at a club like Brighton where I’m so happy to be. It would be really silly on my part to apply for any other job. I promise you at the moment there is nothing, just rumours.”

McClaren insisted on Monday night that he was not interested in the West Ham job, despite being out of work and the bookmakers’ favourite, while O’Neill is thought to have rejected the chance to replace Avram Grant in January.

O’Neill, who remains unemployed, may yet be persuaded to reconsider, although the allure of the club has diminished considerably following Sunday’s confirmation of their drop into the second tier.

Former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton was installed as the new favourite last night. A former West Ham player, he has relevant experience, having dragged Newcastle back into the top flight at the first attempt.

The Stratford-born 52-year-old also meets the criteria spelled out yesterday by Hammers co-owner David Sullivan, who emphasised the importance of hiring someone with an understanding of the area.

“I think we will definitely get an English manager, or a British manager,” said Sullivan. “We do need someone who understands the culture and if you get someone with a knowledge of the East End that’s so much better.”

Sullivan’s comments appear to rule out foreigners who have been tipped as candidates, such as former West Brom manager Roberto di Matteo and ex-Hammer Paolo di Canio.

Sam Allardyce, out of work since being sacked by Blackburn’s new Indian owners in December,

QPR boss Neil Warnock and Birmingham chief Alex McLeish are also fancied.

Sullivan and fellow owner David Gold have pledged to allow ample time for applicants to register interest but expect to hire by the end of the month. He added: “We will wait to see who applies and wait to see what happens generally, but it will be resolved within two weeks, I should think.”

GUS POYET
Brighton manager says ‘no chance’ he’ll apply for job

STEVE MCCLAREN
Ex-England boss ruled himself out of running on Monday

MARTIN O’NEILL
Former Aston Villa chief snubbed West Ham in January