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Alan Pardew fired as West Ham manager

LONDON (AP) _ West Ham fired manager Alan Pardew on Monday, two days after a 4-0 loss at Bolton left the Hammers in the relegation zone.

The club, now owned by Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnusson, said it decided ``to make a change in the best interests of the club'' with West Ham 18th in the 20-club Premier League.

Pardew is the second Premier League manager fired so far this season. Charlton's Iain Dowie was dismissed on Nov. 13.

Pardew had been in charge since Oct. 2003 and guided the Hammers to promotion two seasons ago. But the club has lost 11 of its 17 Premier League games and was also knocked out of the UEFA Cup and League Cup.

West Ham has just 14 points from 18 games and is two points above Charlton and three above Watford.

West Ham said first-team coach Kevin Keen will take temporary charge until a new appointment is made. His first game in charge will be at home to Premier League leader Manchester United on Sunday.

``Alan has made an important contribution since joining as manager in September 2003 but this season's results have been disappointing and have left the club in a very difficult position,'' the Hammers statement said.

``The chairman, Mr. Eggert Magnusson, and the board have been concerned by the performances of recent weeks and feel that it is the right time to make a change in the best interests of the club.

``The search for a successor is now under way in order that a new manager can be in place ahead of the January transfer window.''

Pardew's departure quickly led to speculation that Alan Curbishley, a former West Ham player who had a successful 15-year spell in charge of Charlton, might be his successor. Curbishley has been out of a job since he quit as Charlton manager near the end of last season.

Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has also been linked with a possible move to West Ham.

Pardew said he was proud of his achievements at Upton Park, pointing out that he took the Hammers to the Football League Championship playoffs in two consecutive seasons and ultimately into the Premier League.

``I am also proud of our first season back in the top flight in which we finished ninth and came so close to winning the FA Cup,'' he said in a statement on the club's Web site. ``The supporters have stood by me and I will always cherish memories of their support and loyalty during the difficulties of this season.

``I am proud most of all of the players, many of whom have developed into top Premiership performers under the tutelage of myself and my backroom staff.''

The Hammers have struggled almost since the start of the season, despite the surprise arrivals of Argentina stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Brazilian club Corinthians.

Tevez, one of the most highly-rated strikers in world soccer, has failed to score in 11 games, and neither player has been able to find any consistent form in English soccer.

After upsetting Arsenal 1-0 on Nov. 5, the Hammers lost five of their next six games, failing to score in any of those losses and beating only fellow struggler Sheffield United 1-0.
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