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He has taken over a team who had been allowed to spiral out of control by his predecessor, Alan Pardew. He has tried to rectify it by instilling some discipline but found the players unresponsive.
I suggested in an article at the beginning of the season that Pardew had created a 'yob culture' at West Ham. As I saw first-hand at Wimbledon, the year they were relegated, this behaviour is dressed up as 'team spirit' when you are winning but on losing and under pressure, that so-called team spirit turns to anarchy.
Once ill-discipline has set in, it is hard to redress until you can get rid of the offending players. Unfortunately for Curbishley he was probably a little too honest when he made his initial assessment of the players and they have been resistant to his ideas.
Many will point to the arrival of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano as the starting point of West Ham's decline - but it was not. The route to the problem started with the open-top parade on losing the FA Cup final and Pardew's refusal to accept that the two Argentines could have been the necessary ingredients to take West Ham forward.