A view from across the pond – The case for David Moyes
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 11 April 2018 at 11:21am
The Case for David Moyes
View from Across the Pond
I remember November 6, when Slaven Bilic was sacked, thinking “this is a great opportunity for the club to go forward.” Certainly, a mid-season hire restricts a number of possible candidates who are having good runs with their current clubs, but someone could take a good West Ham roster, throw in some fitness discipline, and fix what Slav couldn’t. And then, a day later, it was announced that David Moyes was the man. I wasn’t outraged, but I certainly wasn’t excited.
The memory of Moyes’s futility with a full year at the helm of Sunderland, and their subsequent relegation, didn’t instill me with much enthusiasm. Prior to that he had been handed the keys to the greatest kingdom in world sport, as gaffer at Old Trafford, and that didn’t end well either. But thinking about his past: no one was going to follow Sir Alex successfully. It was a fool’s errand , and I suspect Ferguson knew his first team was getting older and felt it was a good time to exit prior to having to rebuild most of his squad.
After seeing the management and board problems at Sunderland over the past two seasons, it’s curious whether anyone could have saved them from relegation. (I suppose Big Sam could walk in late in the season and pull some April/May magic, since that is his special power and he had done just that the year before.)
Which leaves me to wonder: Would West Ham be better off just to let Moyes have a few years to add some stability to this club? I think that might be the best course. Here are a few reasons:
- * As a Scot with a long career at Preston North End and coaching in England almost his entire career, he knows West Ham, he knows the league, and he knows the priorities of West Ham Supporters. He made an honest run at the FA cup even though it cost us dearly in injuries and one suspension. While an international manager wouldn’t risk his” bottom ten” squad on an FA cup run, Moyes knew a trip to the finals would mean a lot to West Ham’s fans.
- * Alex Ferguson handpicked him as his successor. Sir Alex felt that it was the best chance for Manchester United to succeed and possibly, if given a second or third season, things might have turned out better.
- * Sean Dyche proves that stability might be worth a look. Burnley should not be where they are. The club lacks strong funding, it isn’t a great destination that international stars want to bring their families to live, and they don’t have a great history of success, and yet, by sticking with a good coach, he has built the team he wants with the wages he can afford. He has structured the club academy the way he wants it, he has his own people handling scouting, his own people tending to the health and medical side of his club. Basically Sean Dyche has maximized his team’s output by getting the most out of everyone in the organization. Since the average tenure of a Premier League manager is 18-24 months, most clubs don’t get that alignment throughout the entire structure. Moyes had an entire decade at Everton. While not every season was great, at least there was stability and he had time to build a foundation for success, and develop players to his style of play.
- * Who else do you bring in? Given our board’s notoriety for not going all in on top transfers, I don’t know that many proven Champion’s League coaches would want to come to West Ham. I do think Rafa Benitez has been an excellent coach the past two seasons. If he were overly frustrated with Newcastle’s ownership and wanted to move to London, I think he might be a good candidate, but otherwise, I am not sure that anyone else would prove to have as good a CV as our current coach.
It was a bit surprising that the board only awarded Moyes a six month contract. One would think that would make it challenging to recruit possible January transfer targets. I think once it becomes clear that West Ham will stay up next season, the board ought to go ahead and let Moyes have a two year deal. It seems that the Hammers are only a couple of players away from pushing back into the top ten and possibly challenging for Europe. I think maintaining some consistent leadership might be a better path to success for this club. I say he’s earned another year.