Image Source: West Ham via Facebook
The last 18 months have been easy for West Ham fans. After saying goodbye to the Boleyn Ground, their home of 112 years, they were then relocated three-and-a-half miles away to a stadium in which they have struggled to settle. Since then, they have witnessed a decline in performance on the pitch, which resulted in their once popular manager Slaven Bilic being sacked. And now, some may argue, the appointment of David Moyes as the Croatian’s successor has just rubbed further salt into the wounds of the Hammers faithful.
Of course, the new Irons’ boss has not always had such a poor reputation. After impressing at Preston North End around the turn of the millennium, the Scotsman landed a coveted Premier League role at Everton, and although any significant success eluded him on Merseyside, he did build a reputation for being a top-level coach during his 11 years at the helm. So much so, that Alex Ferguson handpicked him to take over the reins at Manchester United. But in a world where fans can now bet with bitcoins, and with popular social and blog content now covering everything in forensic detail, David Moyes seems like a man lost in time.
So where did it all go wrong for the coach whose name now attracts groans of disbelief from fans of clubs to which he is linked? And what qualities did the West Ham owners identify that led them to believe that Moyes was the right man to haul the club out of their current slump?
Sunderland and Real Sociedad supporters noticed how the 54-year-old boss was always quick to get his excuses in early, often passing the buck when things were not going well. And his new column in the Evening Standard has done little to suggest that much has changed.
Quotes such as “It can be easy for the players to point fingers at the management,” “Don’t start moaning that the training is too hard,” “They are the ones who have to put that effort in,” “I do think they are willing to take responsibility,“ and “I will find out what these players can and cannot do,” all seem to suggest that the former Man United boss is making it clear that the players are the ones who will be shouldering the responsibility for any failure under his tenure.
In stark contrast, he used the same article to give himself a glowing appraisal: “I don’t think there are many who have (managed) more (Premier League games) than that (500), just Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex Ferguson.” And: “Apart from last season at Sunderland — I believe my record stands up to most in terms of wins.”
The constant harking back to his years’ of experience, especially at Everton, suggests that while football has moved on, David Moyes hasn’t. And that is where the problem lies. He has not adapted his methods or approach to the game in nearly 20 years and in that time, modern football has evolved dramatically.
Of course, an old-school approach might be just the Hammers are looking for. After all, survival has now become their priority. But after flopping at United, being sacked whilst in the relegation zone with a decent Real Sociedad squad and then taking Sunderland down last year, Moyes’ recent record leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe that is why the club’s hierarchy only saw fit to hand him an eight-month contract.