Former West Ham United captain Alvin Martin believes the club is paying for dumping Gianfranco Zola last season.

Martin says Zola should never have been axed.

He told talkSPORT: "If there's one criticism of the decisions that have been made since they [Sullivan and Gold] arrived it's perhaps they got rid of Zola too early.

"I know there was a divided opinion about Zola, whether he was a little soft, etc. But what I would say is while I think they flirted with relegation last year it looked like the players were playing for him.

"And I just felt that when you actually make the decision to get rid of a manager like that you have to be 100 per cent certain.

"Now I have to ask myself would Zola have performed any less in terms of quality than the manager they've got in now. Would he have been bottom? We don't know.

"What I am saying is, coming up to Christmas, if Zola had been in the bottom three I think the owners then could have played that card and said 'right ,we're going to make a change'. And that would have put them in a much stronger position than they are now."

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