West Ham’s summer transfer window could not have gone any better. After securing the signings of Man City pair Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta, followed by Marko Arnautovic and star man Javier Hernandez, many believed this would be the season West Ham really made a dent into securing European football.
After a blistering campaign in 2015/16, manager Slaven Bilic had become a fan favourite, taking the Hammers up to 7th in the league in a season that saw the rise of Dimitri Payet. Since then, however, the Croatian struggled for form and the corresponding move to the Olympic Stadium only hampered West Ham’s next season as they failed to get accustomed to their new surroundings, slumping to an 11th placed finish when many expected an improvement.
It wasn’t until the start of the new campaign, in this season, that Bilic had finally fallen off the tightrope he was walking along. After three defeats from the opening three games, the Hammers managed to get their first win of the season. Since then they have won only once more in the 11 games of the season so far, sitting in 18th place.
Co-Chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan had seen enough. After what appeared to be a great transfer window, the results didn’t reflect the ability of the players and Bilic simply wasn’t getting the best out of the team. So out he went and in came, David Moyes, the former Everton and Manchester United manager. Now, as he prepares for his first game against high-flying Watford at Vicarage Road, he knows he’s got to get this team gelling in order to stop this rut. But is he the right man for the job?
Moyes’ success at Everton
During his 15-year spell at Everton, David Moyes gathered quite a reputation as the manager who could take a mid-table team and compete with the big boys. During his tenure, Moyes had a terrific spell between 2004 – 2012 where he continuously led the Toffees to an 8th placed finish or higher. There was a blip in the 2005/06 season where they finished 11th but disregarding that, Moyes was clearly thriving beyond his means.
It was no surprise, well a little one, that Moyes was then selected to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United; a choice made by Ferguson himself. We all know how that went. Moyes endured a very tough season at United, failing to get them into the Champions League and even after signing a six-year deal with the club, ended up staying for only one.
After all that had happened at Everton, suddenly Moyes’ career wasn’t quite going to plan. Even since then, Man Utd have struggled to get back to their glory days under Ferguson but have seen better odds with Louis Van Gaal, who at least took them into the Champions League, and now Jose Mourinho. This simply meant Moyes, who had the complete backing of Ferguson, was simply not good enough.
A spiralling career
Ever since his dismissal from Old Trafford, the Scotsman has had a catalyst of horror shows wherever he has gone on to manage. At Real Sociedad, aside from a 1-0 victory over Barcelona, Moyes really didn’t get going at all and was sacked after a poor start to the season, ending his Real Sociedad career with a 28.57% win record.
Things went from bad to worse when Moyes headed back to England and took charge of Sunderland. Having been in the Premier League for 456 matches, the then 52-year-old seemed like a good choice to keep the Black Cats up, but it was a terrible match as he only managed to win six games in total, losing 26. After finishing 20th, Moyes promptly resigned and has since been 6 months without a job. Now West Ham believe he’s the right man to stop them from continuing this dismal run.
What will he bring to the Hammers?
On the evidence we’ve seen, it doesn’t look like Moyes can make West Ham a better team than what they were at their pinnacle in recent seasons. He has to be able to motivate players to achieve better than what they have done right now. With 27 games left of the season, it will take something quite special to change fortunes around, having to not only find a formation that can instil confidence and rhythm to a lifeless side, but also get the best out of main man Chicarito, who has not looked impressive since signing.
Moyes has already claimed he wants to bring back the entertainment factor at the Olympic Stadium, but his main focus will just be bringing results and if he can barely do that, this will surely be a nail in his managerial coffin. It’s quite surprising to see him even getting the West Ham job but he has managed to do that so his next test will be keeping the job.
The next few games will be vital with matches against Watford, Leicester City and Everton, teams that will be floating around the relegation zone and will be key in beating to better the odds of finishing above them. Whether or not Moyes can actually change things around remains to be seen but it will be interesting to see whether the former United manager can reprise his Everton form or whether he will repeat his Sunderland form.
For West Ham fans however, anything will be better than what they are currently seeing.