David Moyes is apparently being lined up to take over from Slaven Bilic at West Ham following the Croatian’s sacking on Monday in a move that has divided opinion.
Several pundits have come out in support of the Scot saying that he is the right man for the job, but the reaction from fans has been mostly negative.
So who is right?
Out with the old?
During his 11 years at Goodison, Moyes helped Everton to achieve great consistency, earning top-ten finishes in 10 of the 12 seasons he was at the helm. While they did not win any trophies, Moyes was generally viewed as doing well as he led an unfashionable club with a modest transfer budget to overachieve during a period dominated by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
In fact, Moyes did such a great job that the United board saw fit to name him as Sir Alex’s successor. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well as thought during Moyes’ first season and he was sacked after just 10 months with United in seventh place, although club legends including Denis Law and David Beckham suggested he should have been given more time. Not unreasonable when you consider it took Sir Alex six seasons to win his first league title with the club.
The biggest problem for Moyes at Old Trafford, it would seem was having to try and fill his predecessor’s admittedly huge shoes.
An unremarkable, yet not disastrous spell at Real Sociedad was followed by the job that really damaged Moyes in the eyes of most football fans. Appointed manager of Sunderland ahead of last season, Moyes dismayed the Stadium of Light faithful by saying that the club were involved in a relegation battle just two games into the season.
And while his honesty was eventually proved correct, admitting your team is going to struggle before the season has really started is not what supporters want to hear.
This is also probably why most Hammers fans, and fans of other clubs, are unwilling to even give the dour Scot a chance.
The other problem is that fans of the east London club are notoriously hard to please. They have delusions of grandeur. The club’s history means the Claret and Blue faithful want their team to play fantasy football, which is not always easy for the Premier League’s lesser clubs and the reason why Sam Allardyce was never taken to heart despite respectable finishes of 10th, 13th and 12th.
Big Sam was never loved.
The gritty, well-organised style of a Moyes team is just too similar to that of ‘Big Sam’ for the London Stadium faithful, which makes him a less-than-attractive prospect.
But disgruntled Hammers fans should at least give Moyes a chance. After all, it’s not like there is a huge line of talent lining up to take the job, and were he to repeat his Everton success, they should surely be happy.
Unlike at Sunderland, Moyes has a talented squad to work with, plus he has more than enough time and experience to turn things around. While it goes without saying that he will be desperate to succeed if given the job.
And unlike at United, the only expectation Moyes will have is to ensure survival this season, and build from there. Something he has proven experience with at Everton.
He will also instill discipline, which was noticeably absent under Bilic. The Croat gave players license to play and that obviously hasn’t worked so it’s time for a change. The fans have to accept that.
A bit of stability, grit and determination, and less fantasy football is what West Ham need right now and Moyes is the ideal man to provide it.