West Ham manager David Moyes

How is David Moyes still a Premier League manager? Surely West Ham can do better…

David Moyes looks like an old man waiting for a bus; it will soon go, and West Ham should take a look at what Aston Villa have done…

How is David Moyes still performing in the top flight? I’m not saying the Scotsman is a bad manager; He obviously isn’t. Some West Ham fans believe he has been their best manager in the Premier League era. But how good is he really? He has managed 1064 games. The only trophy he has won was at Preston in the third tier 23 years ago: 830 top-flight games in England and Spain under 20 years and not a single piece of silverware (unless you count the Community Shield) and just one losing game in a cup final.

He led Manchester United to what was at the time their lowest point total. He managed Real Sociedad for 42 games, winning just 12 times and finishing 12th before they sacked him early in the new season.

He relegated Sunderland to finish 20th with just 24 points and a win rate of 18%. He currently has West Ham one point above relegation though only Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have a higher net spend than West Ham over the last five years. Only Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have spent more in the last 10 years.

This leaves his time at Everton from 2002 to 2013 doing most of the heavy lifting for the reputation. In those 11 seasons, they finished between 4th and 8th nine times. There was also an 11th and a 17th. But more importantly, it started 20 years ago and ended almost 10 years ago. The football world is a completely different place now. Very different. Even if he had won a few cups in that period, it wouldn’t be right or fair or good to judge Moyes in 2022 by what he achieved in 2002 or even 2013. But the fact is he won nothing.

He has featured in 41 domestic cup competitions and has made one final – with Everton – which they lost 2-1 after taking the lead in the first minute (a familiar problem) and has made just three semi-finals. The latter statistic is probably the most damning. In eight cup competitions with West Ham, he has not progressed further than the quarter-finals. This is fine if you’re not managing a club that has spent nearly £400m on players in the last five years, but bad if you are.

He has played 56 European matches in his career and won 32, making one semi-final and one quarter-final. In contrast, Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner won the Europa League at the first attempt with Eintracht.

He has had two spells in charge of Irons; since 2017/18 West Ham have finished 13th, 10th, 16th, sixth, seventh and are currently 16th. There are two good finishes there, yes, but they have to be put in the context of strange Covid restrictions, when the team seemed to play better when there were no fans present. Sixth place was a really good performance albeit largely achieved due to the failure of others, especially Spurs and Arsenal had a bit of a meltdown and finished seventh and eighth. Despite that, credit is overdue.

With the bet on the club, seventh place last season (top of the middle third) is about par. So since leaving Everton in 2013, Moyes has achieved one, maybe two good seasons. He hasn’t even won an away league game against the top six in over 70 attempts. That seems statistically unlikely. Maybe he has some sort of managerial inferiority complex. That scary “it’s what I do, I win games” always felt like someone who was insecure and pretending to be better than they are.

His supporters can point to success in Europe last season, reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League and winning all their games this season. But if you look at who they have played against – teams like Viborg, FCSB, Anderlecht and Silkeborg – nobody can compete financially with the Hammers. There were good wins last year over Lyon and especially Sevilla, but they had every advantage to win but fell to Frankfurt in the semi-finals. If Moyes wants credit for these two victories, he must take responsibility for not winning a competition where they were so financially dominant.

Like I said, it’s not that Moyes is particularly terrible, but if West Ham had a better manager, they would probably have won the Europa League. Given how easily Aston Villa signed Unai Emery, West Ham could certainly have done it before them.

His favorite tactic once in front seems to be to go very defensive to hang on to the lead. That’s something a manager of a small club trying to overcome the odds does. It’s like he’s managing Wigan, not West Ham. Maybe it’s the inferiority complex showing.

Consider how Thomas Frank organizes Brentford to get the best out of them with far less resources. Newcastle are third and have spent less than West Ham in the last five years. Moyes’ decent seasons are just a blip in the overall trend of mediocrity.

I was told by a friend who is a Hammers fan that Moyes won’t be 60 until next spring, but he already looks like he’s in his 70s and thus a relic of another era for the players. They might see other younger, more dynamic, interesting and cool managers like Frank, Howe and Silva doing much better with less money and wonder why they have to put up with Moyes.

“We pay big, so we can attract players, but Moyes doesn’t know what to do with them. He hasn’t won anything for two decades. He’s just an average manager who has the odd good season but really should be working in the lower leagues. He’s squatting in the Prem.”

He went on to say that he believes Moyes has lost the players, pointing to Said Benrahma’s attitude towards him in the Leicester game as proof, and that a team with caps should not be one point away from relegation. Others believe he is hiding behind the Conference League wins against markedly inferior opposition. Even more believe that the rot set in last season with just one win in the last five games and that he does not have enough tactical ability, makes incorrect substitutions, makes mistakes in the game and prepares poorly. That’s quite a long list of complaints.

Some of this may be a little unfair; after all, the guy can’t help the way he looks and his playing career may have left him with dodgy knees, but modern football is an unsympathetic, brutal environment and he stands in the technical area, slightly bent, slightly forward, like an old man waiting in the rain on a bus. You can’t say he looks full of vim and power. These things, while sometimes quite superficial, matter to top-ranked soccer players and to fans, especially when the team loses regularly.

But despite all this, to the chagrin of some of the supporters, he regularly enjoys an almost uncritical pass in the press and with broadcasters, in a way that a non-British manager with the same record almost certainly would not. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read any serious criticism of him at all outside of the fans. His achievements, such as they are, are often overrated or not put into their proper context.

I suspect this is largely due to the fact that he is generally liked in the media as a friendly sort and people understandably don’t want to be rude to him. But someone has to tell the truth. And the truth is, no one else has managed 830 top games without winning anything and, just as importantly, almost never challenging to win anything. Even Harry Redknapp won the FA Cup once when Portsmouth coached.

His interviews become passive-aggressive, but at least he hasn’t threatened to hit a female reporter again. He has been damn lucky to succeed in the top flight in England and Spain for so long. It really shouldn’t go on much longer. Nobody can argue that he is the best manager available to West Ham, with better options constantly being brought up. This should and will surely be his last top job.

That bus should be here soon, Davey.

#David #Moyes #Premier #League #manager #Surely #West #Ham #better..

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *