Moyes has one chance left in the top flight

String of fail­ures have seen Scot’s rep­u­ta­tion take a real ham­mer­ing

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - SPORTS - Kevin Kilbane

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!

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