It’s high time to open the door to others...
THE appointment of David Moyes at West Ham is an embarrassment to the club and an embarrassment to football. Just as famous players unjustly walk into big jobs, so established managers with a track record of failure scandalously find re-employment.
It is the old boys’ club in action – an industry where name and reputation count for more than talent or potential. Where mediocrity, not meritocracy, holds sway.
Does Moyes have his merits? Of course. His work at Everton – on a limited budget – is beyond reproach.
But this is a man who failed at Man United. Who struggled in Spain. Whose relentlessly miserable mien at Sunderland annihilated already downtrodden morale. Relegation was by no means the Scot’s sole responsibility, but he hardly aided the cause. What happened to three strikes and you’re out?
All managers deserve the chance to learn from their mistakes and experiences, Moyes included. But not in the Premier League. The former Preston boss has used up all his lives at the highest level – or should have.
It is a division that should reward excellence, innovation and novel ideas, not hark back to former glories.
Promote from within. Better still, look to the Champi- onship. Chris Wilder has won 75 per cent of Sheffield United’s home games since taking over at Bramall Lane in 2016, a record that ranks alongside Pep Guardiola at Man City. And Pep, you may have noticed, had a few extra quid to spend.
Lee Johnson saved Oldham from relegation, set Barnsley on course for promotion and is now challenging for the Premier League with Bristol City.
Last season, Slavisa Jokanovic had Fulham playing with the kind of pace and panache supporters crave. Whether Wilder, in particular, would want the job is a different issue, but it is surely remiss of West Ham’s owners not to ask the question. Such an appointment would undoubtedly be labelled ‘a gamble’ but ask yourself this: is it any more reckless to plump for a Premier League rookie with bristling confidence and a proven record of success than a veteran scarred by failure? Especially when that veteran’s most recent blow-out came at a club in almost identically dire circumstances. Ask Hartlepool, who in January swooned at the sight of “no risk” Dave Jones only to see their dressing room decimated by the scouser’s arrogance and abrasiveness. They’d been warned the former Sheff Wed boss was washed up, but, hey, he’d managed in the Premier League, right? Now, following relegation to the National League for the first time in their history, that appointment is widely regarded as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
That’s not to say Moyes is finished. In an industry all too keen to cast good coaches on the scrapheap, nobody wants another rusting hulk. But this is not the Masons. Entry to the Premier League should not be a one-time deal ensuring a lifetime of favour and privilege. If Moyes wants another crack at the Premier League he should have to earn it. Because there are men below him in the pyramid – not to mention the likes of Chris Coleman and Michael O’Neill – who have.