Were West Ham wrong to not offer David Moyes a new deal?

by Andy Dillon / 18 May 2018, 09:45

WEST HAM did not even go as far as offering a contract to David Moyes before letting him walk out of their club.

For a board of directors which includes supposed pin-sharp business brains in the shape of commanding Apprentice co-star Karren Brady, you can’t help but feel it’s a glaring opportunity missed. The sort that would get the ambitious hopefuls on her shark-infested TV show instantly fired.

The concerns among the brains at the top were over supporter reaction. A worry that the supporters did not take to the hardline Scot, that his style of football wasn’t complementary to the fabled ‘West Ham way’.

It crystalises the question facing a club which has lost its way. Where traditional working class values which made it proud albeit relatively unsuccessful, have been swept away.

West Ham are now seeking their sixth manager in eight years since David Sullivan, David Gold and Lady Brady took over in 2010. The incumbent Gianfranco Zola was their first victim.

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You have to go back to 1989 to list the previous half a dozen full time managers at Upton Park - right back to legendary manager John Lyall. Modern football seems to come hand in hand with a revolving door policy.

David Moyes was in charge for 15 home games in his short spell as interim boss. He lost three of those: to Newcastle United, Burnley and Manchester City. One is excusable, the others are bad days at the office.

Yet it doesn’t look so bad when compared to his predecessor Slaven Bilic.

Bilic, the former Hammers defender ingrained with the philosophy of the club managed that in just six home games before getting the sack in November.

The mythical ‘West Ham way’ is a noble belief that playing attractive football can often make up for losing more than your fair share of games. Nothing wrong that.

Manuel Pellegrini reportedly agrees deal with West Ham

But as the directors struggle to convince the hardcore support and most other fans that the London Stadium is a terrific place to play football, it is probably the last thing they need.

What West Ham need to do is establish their loveless concrete bowl in Stratford as a relative fortress. There’s no way it can become another Anfield or White Hart Lane, but they need to generate a reputation of being hard to beat at home.

That is precisely what pragmatist Moyes was doing. He also got the best out of record signing Marko Arnautovic, sold the previously most expensive player in Andre Ayew and took the team from the bottom three to a 13th place finish.

Yet it wasn’t enough for West Ham’s top brass who don’t quite seem to know what they want.

Rafa Benitez has emerged as their leading target to take over. A former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager with a high enough profile to get the fans excited.

Currently at Newcastle, Benitez is at loggerheads with the club’s owner Mike Ashley over transfer funds. It would be precisely the same scenario at West Ham - whose biggest single spend has been £23m on a rejuvenated Arnautovic.

To put that into context, Chelsea paid a similar amount for utility defender Davide Zappacosta, who fills in from time to time as a full back.

Sullivan, Brady and Gold say they want a new manager who will be ‘high calibre’ with a ‘proven track record’ both here and abroad. That won’t come cheap and neither will his accompanying stellar shopping list.

Manuel Pellegrini laid out more than £160 million on players in his final year as City boss, bringing in Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne among other A-listers.

If Gold, Sullivan and Brady want to combine the ‘West Ham way’ with going to the ‘next level’ - and that’s up not down despite the recent flirt with relegation - then it’s going to be very, very expensive.

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Managers Departed

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Paul Lambert
(Stoke City)
18th May
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