Is David Moyes the right man for West Ham?
Sitting 18th in the Premier League the club showed its manager the exit last week. Slaven Bilic’s time had elapsed. Just a day later, David Moyes took up the West Ham United hot seat, signing a six-month contract.
Expecting an encouraging start to this season, the Hammers have offered disappointment and regrets instead of victories, eye-catching football and success. The situation needed to change, but is David Moyes the best option to improve West Ham’s fortunes?
Here are the pros and cons.
Strange as it now seems, Moyes’ work was once appreciated. In his first managerial role at Preston North End, he dragged the side from Division Two relegation candidates to Division One play-off hopefuls. The Scot was then rewarded with the opportunity to further his career with Everton.
The Toffees had experienced six difficult Premier League campaigns prior to their new manager’s arrival. Moyes rose to the challenge. During his 11 full seasons in charge, Everton only twice failed to achieve a top-half finish despite a limited budget. The Glaswegian guided the club to its highest position in 17 years, finishing fourth in 2004/05. He also took the Merseysiders to the FA Cup Final in 2009, which they lost 2-1 against Chelsea.
Moyes left Goodison Park with a 42% win rate. He had earned his shot at Manchester United. Although what he did with the opportunity doesn’t belong in any pro-Moyes section.
Player confidence boost
Antonio Conte is renowned for his ability to immediately inspire confidence in players. Other coaches who share that trait include Mauricio Pochettino, Marco Silva, David Wagner, and Sam Allardyce.
Paul Clement also deserves a mention. Swansea City looked set for relegation last season. The former Bayern Munich assistant produced a reaction, though, winning 8 of 18 matches to steer the Swans into 15th place. Moyes will aim to emulate.
West Ham United shouldn’t be anywhere near the danger zone considering the squad’s strength. A starting eleven including Joe Hart, Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna/Jose Fonte, Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate, Michail Antonio, Marko Arnautovic, Andre Ayew, and Javier Hernandez is a mid-table team, at worst.
Moyes must instil his new charges with a quality they’re currently lacking: belief. If he can tap into their true potential, the Hammers will climb the table sooner than later.
Eager to impress
Some people give up completely when they fail. Others persevere. Moyes’ recent words suggest he’s among the latter.
I’m hungry to make sure I get things right now. I hope it (going through negative periods) gives me strength and understanding of what is required. The first thing is to win the next game and build from there. I’m sure we will be in a much stronger position before long.
West Ham could benefit from a manager desperate to prove a point. After tasting disappointment in his last three roles, Moyes is determined to reignite, possibly even save, his career.
Since ditching the Toffees, Moyes’ CV is atrocious. Upon taking over Manchester United’s title-winning side, he promptly knocked down Sir Alex Ferguson’s solid foundations. It led to unattractive football, unacceptable losses, including domestic cup defeats to Swansea and Sunderland, and United outside the Premier League’s top four for the first time in 23 years. Unsurprisingly, Moyes was dismissed less than ten months into his tenure. Ironically, his last game was a 2-0 defeat to Everton.
Moyes then ventured to Spain, hoping to restore his diminished reputation. He signed with Real Sociedad in November 2014. It didn’t work out. Despite drawing plaudits for masterminding victory over Barcelona, the Scot was again left jobless just one day before his year anniversary with the Basque club. Only 2 wins from 11 games and sitting 16th in La Liga proved his undoing. The Spanish climate had failed to re-energise the beleaguered manager.
Eight months later, he returned to England. There was no third time lucky, however, as Sunderland ended the campaign rock bottom with only 24 points. A massive 16 points from safety, Moyes had once again lasted less than 12 months in a role. Although he faced financial restrictions, Sunderland’s dire performance was unacceptable.
Fans immediately expressed displeasure when Moyes was linked to the vacant West Ham position. It continued after his appointment was officially confirmed.
Supporters, rightly in most cases, have some power to influence clubs, particularly regarding managerial decisions. Ask former Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean.
Ignoring fans rarely leads to team success. Their dissatisfaction can negatively affect performances. Yet, West Ham’s board wasn’t to be deterred. Consequently, Moyes faces an even tougher battle to improve results.
Football pundit Tony Cascarino made his thoughts on the situation blatantly clear.
I’m all for giving someone a second chance, even a third chance, but a fourth chance? Is that really the best you can do? If you look at his past three jobs it is hard to see how he deserves a go at West Ham United. The fans were unimpressed by the idea. Usually when there is no excitement among the fans, it doesn’t end well.
Signing a contract until season’s end is a no-win situation for both manager and club.
Should Moyes suffer a second consecutive relegation, his Premier League career is almost certainly over. Helping the Hammers avoid the drop, however, will provide little credit. It won’t be deemed a real accomplishment. For West Ham, losing top-flight status will prove the wrong man was hired. If they manage to stay up, significant problems still remain.
Crystal Palace discarded Frank de Boer only four games into this campaign. Although 70-year-old Roy Hodgson may secure the team’s survival, the Eagles’ long-term vision, identity, and aspirations are up in the air.
The east London club is now in a similar position. Appointing Moyes was extremely short-sighted.
There were alternatives. Another former Everton boss, Ronald Koeman would have provided stability, along with the means to compete higher in the future. As would others. The London Stadium project may have tempted Burnley’s Sean Dyche and Watford’s Marco Silva. Both offer more than Moyes.
West Ham’s new leader wasn’t an inspiring choice, but he will ensure that the club climbs the table. A good start will ease tension, beginning when David Moyes takes charge of his 500th Premier League game at Watford on Sunday.