Moyes has one chance left in the top flight
String of failures have seen Scot’s reputation take a real hammering
DAVID MOYES’ appointment as the new manager of West Ham was not exactly warmly welcomed by Hammers fans.
His reputation has taken battering since he left Everton and took over at Manchester United and this could be his last chance in the Premier League.
My former Everton and Preston North End boss has been the first to admit that he has a reputation to rebuild after his miserable efforts at Sunderland ended in relegation from the Premier League last season.
After his failure at Old Trafford as Alex Ferguson’s lauded replacement, and then being unable to set the world on fire at Real Sociedad, it has been a difficult few years for him.
He will have a job on his hands convincing a set of supporters who are notoriously hard to please. Sam Allardyce and Slaven Bilic struggled to play the right brand of football to keep the Hammers faithful happy and now it is Moyes’ task to galvanise the team and bring some much-needed life and vitality back into the club.
Now, I have never really understood this fallacy about ‘playing the West Ham way’. I honestly do not know what it means and what style of football their supporters are talking about and therefore seeking. It certainly hasn’t brought them much success over the years.
Since taking a keen interest in teams, systems and styles of play, I don’t recall ever coming away from a West Ham game thinking ‘that’s how they play’.
The additional difficulty for Moyes is that West Ham are in a precarious position in the Premier League and the players do not look confident playing at the Olympic Stadium.
He has inherited a stronger group of players than he was given at Sunderland in the summer of last year when owner Ellis Short asked him to take over from Allardyce.
Of course Moyes has to take overall responsibility for what happened at Sunderland last season and for the failure to lift a dressing room which, on the whole, looked split, disinterested and unable to stop the slide.
He has received some criticism from Sunderland supporters for saying this week that he didn’t do ‘due diligence’ on the club before taking over, but I do have some sympathy for him here.
It is said that he spent more than £30 million on players such as Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji but these deals were done long before Moyes got to Wearside.
And in fact, towards the end of the first and second transfer windows, he was scrambling around trying to sign a striker and ended up with Victor Anichebe. And that was it.
So while it should be expected that the manager takes responsibility for the team and performances, I think there were promises made by Ellis Short which did not materialise. He doesn’t seem to be a chairman who is in harmony with the club and the supporters.
Sunderland are currently bottom of the Championship and whoever is going to take over from Simon Grayson – who was sacked after virtually no time in charge – in the next few weeks needs to make sure Short fulfils his promises. Or they will be a League One club next season.
At least the West Ham board have backed their managers. Bilic may have received a lot of criticism since the end of last season but he certainly can’t complain that he was not able to sign players he wanted, such as Marko Arnautovic, who was always going to be a major gamble.
When Moyes was my manager at Everton and Preston, I always enjoyed the day-to-day training and have always respected him for the part he played in my development and getting my career off the ground.
He has, unfairly I feel, earned a bit of a reputation or being a negative or dour manager, but when you look back at the Everton team he developed, with Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar on the right and Tim Cahill charging forward, they were a creative and exciting side to watch.
That was the style he liked to introduce and perhaps it will be to the West Ham fans’ liking. Although, let’s be honest, only if they are winning!