The King in Leo Tolstoy’s 1885 “Three Questions” was intent on learning three things; the right time to begin everything; who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do. If he had the answers to this questions, he would never fail in anything he might undertake. If these three questions had been posted to West Ham’s Chairpersons, Board Members, Fans and David Moyes, the answers would have been varying and very confusing. Thankfully it is not the 19th century, David Moyes and the West Ham hierarchy did not have to answer the three questions and a result, Moyes takes over the London Club. Should the questions have been asked though?
On Moyes’s part, this is clearly the last roll of the dice. A chance to drag his name from the realms of mediocrity. In all fairness, he must count himself lucky to get a job in the top tier. You do not fail in three consecutive clubs and still get handed another one . The big question is whether he is ready for another big job. After 11 solid months at Everton during a period in which he transforms a relegation-threatened team into big four contenders. He moved to Man United and despite a six year contract and an ageing squad, he left 10 months into his contract with the club languishing in 7th place.
He moved over to Real Sociedad looking for a fresh start but a culture shock, language impediment and poor tactics left the club fighting for relegation and after a year he was sacked. Against better judgment, he moved over to Tyneside to manage the Black Cats. He drummed them up as being a big club and that they were in the same league as Everton. By the end of the first month, he was already conceding the fact that Sunderland were in a relegation scrap. Sunderland finished the season with 6 premier league wins, bottom of the table and a goal difference of -40. He went out on a whirlwind regretting the switch to Sunderland, blaming everyone else including the players he bought but exempted himself from blame. This is despite the obvious stodginess the team exhibited when playing and the apparent over-insistence of crossing drills during training.
On to more positive news, it seems West Ham seem to have finally got their man. He was the man they sounded out to replace Big Sam in 2015 nut he turned them down. Now they get a second bite of the cherry in terms of their managerial choice. He is a painfully honest man and this might be the other factor why he was chosen. He calls things as they are and a reality check is really what West Ham need right now. With all respect to Sunderland, he talked up about the quality of players being better than the lot at Sunderland and it is hard to argue. Lanzini, Antonio Hernandez among others are actually a decent bunch and all eyes will be on how he will inspire a fractured dressing room to get them to show unity on and off the pitch.
However this has never been the case. Time is against Moyes and he has never kick-started immediately. He has always taken his sweet time to set his teams up and with fixtures coming thick and fast next month, one wonders how long Moyes will actually be given. The trend that follows the teams he hops onto have always been a downward trend. Look away Hammers! He is being hired for his ability to set teams up well but the reality of the matter is that it has been a while since he has tactically won a game.
The obvious question is now whether he can steady the ship. He has enough premier league experience with 499 PL games managed. Redknapp apart, he was the most experienced manager available. On 19th November against Watford, it will be his 500th Game but between now and then, his ‘to-do’ list is certainly overwhelming. He takes over a team languishing in 18th place with only two PL wins, 9 points from 11 games and with 23 goals conceded. With indiscipline player including Arnautovic, Fonte and Carroll, it will be interesting to see how the manager cracks the whips on these three players especially.
David Moyes has often been credited with setting up teams that are tactically disciplined, mentally resilient, defensively organised and quite simply hard to break down. With West Ham’s leaky defence, they need all the Moyes they can get.
Over to you Willy!