Is David Moyes set for long term stay at West Ham?

by Andy Dillon / 12 February 2018, 09:49

DAVID MOYES is the surprisingly cheerful face at the top of West Ham’s divided empire.

Nobody would have guessed that a gritty Glaswegian with a harsh reputation for industrial football and a blotted CV would be holding it all together with a smile on his craggy mug.

Moyes was at a low ebb when he agreed a short term deal to take over The Hammers in the wake of the unpopular sacking of Slaven Bilic, the club’s former defender who still held the faith of the fans – just.

Now he has got them to 30 points – four wins from safety – and Moyes’ own career is responding to the defibrillator of football; you can see Moyes is getting a pulse again as he grapples with the Premier League’s maddest football club.

The crunch comes in May when the temporary deal expires.

Hammers joint-chairman David Sullivan has dropped hints about Moyes being around for ‘years to come’.

In response, Moyes says he is ‘ready’ to rebuild another dynasty like he did at Everton before it all went wrong for him at Manchester United.

But should a manager who has done so much, so quickly to restore his standing in management risk it all by committing to the club that makes Eastenders look like a BBC Four documentary on cabbage growing in Norfolk in the 1800s?

West Ham’s henchmen of Sullivan and his cohort David Gold claim West Ham is ‘not a sacking club’ yet they have binned four in the nine years they have been in charge of the ‘great football club’ they claim to love.

We have seen a succession of managers undermined by public apologies from the top brass after a poor result. The chairmen coveting the support of the fans while hanging the coach out to dry.

Transfers have been a contentious issue: no doubt Sullivan and Gold will be claiming responsibility for the signing of striker Marko Arnautovic. Was it the same when he first arrived this season and was without a goal and served a three match ban for elbowing an opponent in the throat?

The move from the club’s spiritual home at Upton Park to the controversial London Stadium still splits the club. A large number of fans hate it; the design, the lack of atmosphere, the fact they sell popcorn and the vast concrete bowl’s situation in the middle of a sterile former Olympic Park beside a shopping centre in Stratford.

Even the club badge with ‘London’ across the bottom is viewed as a cynical marketing exercise in place of the heritage of the club Sullivan and co claim to love so much.

Supporters’ are planning a protest march next month before the home game with Burnley – hiring funeral hearses to lead their way along Stratford Broadway to lay wreaths on the ground outside the stadium.

Sixty eight fans’ groups have come together on what will be a public show of disunity on the day West Ham were hoping to grab the initiative to mark 25 years since the death of former captain and 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Moore.

Ironically, on the day West Ham choose to honour a player they regard as one of their finest ambassadors, current left winger Arthur Masuaku will be serving the last of his six games ban for spitting at an opponent. There’s a sign of the times.

If things go their way West Ham could be on 36 points by then – two wins from relegation safety.

Moyes’s stock as a manager is at its highest level for three years, particularly after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Watford in an impressive display before 56,000 fans at home.

Given that he started the job with a 2-0 defeat at Watford with fans in open revolt against striker Andy Carroll, the board and Moyes’ appointment that is some turnaround.

And in an unlikely union, the fans of West Ham, who love a bit of a swagger and don’t care too much if the team wins or loses as long as they are entertained, have taken to a man driven by results and hard work.

Moyes now has a debate raging in his mind that is far greater than any selection dilemma for Saturday: Should he stay or should he go?

He needs to be cautious because whatever is put out there by the PR of West Ham United, it is a club with more splits than Olympic gymnastics and at 54 Moyes might no longer be flexible enough to handle the strain.

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