WEST HAM were expected to secure the services of Alan Curbishley as manager today following talks with the former Charlton boss.
New chairman Eggert Magnusson spent several hours with Curbishley, a former Hammers player, yesterday.
Magnusson appears to have acted quickly following the sacking of Alan Pardew, who led the club to promotion, on Monday due to a run of poor results.
Curbishley, 49, has been a free agent since stepping down as Charlton boss last season but his track record made him Magnusson's first choice.
The Icelandic businessman is keen to appoint someone with years of experience of English top-flight football.
Curbishley has made little secret of his feelings, describing the Hammers' interest as "a massive honour".
He said: "Of course I'm interested. Perhaps having the chance to manage them, five years after they were allegedly seeking me to replace Harry Redknapp, is a massive honour.
"Once you are brought up in a background like West Ham the affection you have for the club never goes away."
League Managers' Association chief executive John Barnwell said he would be pleased to see a high-profile British manager return to the Premiership.
"We want British managers to be at the top level," he said.
* Chelsea aim to close the gap on Premiership leaders Manchester United when they host Newcastle tonight while Blackburn face French outfit AS Nancy at Ewood Park in the UEFA Cup.