It’s high time to open the door to oth­ers...

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

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.

Failed

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.

Priv­i­lege

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.

Chris Dunlavy

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