The revival of David Moyes’ managerial career proves that class is, indeed, permanent


Football fans, or sports fans in general, often have short memories. Which is why when David Moyes said “That’s what I do, I win” before the start of his second managerial stint at West Ham, most snorted with laughter.

After all his disastrous spells at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and even Sunderland were still fresh in the memory. Which is why, after leading the Hammers to Premier League safety in 2018, he was not offered a new contract. Instead, the club turned to Manuel Pellegrini.

The Chilean’s first stint in English football is well remembered, as he led Manchester City to league and domestic cup success. However, his time at West Ham was an unmitigated disaster.

Still, there was nothing in the right idea about going back to the person he had replaced. Will he really bring about wholesale change at a club that so desperately needed it? Can he take West Ham further up the table? Will the owners’ dreams of playing in Europe come true under Moyes?

In retrospect, the answer was a resounding yes. West Ham had narrowly missed out on fourth place last season; However, his time in the Europa League has been rewarding so far.

And, after beating Liverpool 3-2 at the weekend, the club are now joint third in the league table.

Why, then, were there so many doubts about his suitability for the West Ham job? To answer this question we have to go back a few years.

decline after joint

When David Moyes was signed as manager of Manchester United, he was given a six-year deal. However, his time at the club was anything but successful.

As such, it came as little surprise when the club invoked a break clause in his contract and sacked him. Some might say that United lacks decisiveness in the context of his current managerial position. but I digress.

However, Moyes’ post-United career did not fare much better. His time at Real Sociedad was a mixed bag at best, and his time at Sunderland saw the Black Cats relegated.

As such, when West Ham came calling in 2017, it came as quite a surprise. However, it was still clear that the man who had once built a long-term project at Everton was now only seen as a relegation firefighting option.

This was duly confirmed when, despite leading West Ham to safety, he was moved aside for Pellegrini. When that didn’t work, they turned to Moyes again – crucially, again as a short-term substitute.

It’s worth remembering that Moyes was first offered an 18-month deal when he returned to the Hammers. The club did not plan a long stay with him.

However, a 2020–21 season that exceeded all expectations saw him sign a three-year deal ahead of this season. And no one can say that it was not worthy.

How did David Moyes turn things around at West Ham?

Indeed, prior to Moyes’ arrival at the club, there was a clear sense of establishment drift. West Ham fans were extremely dissatisfied with the direction of the club and angered owners David Gould and David Sullivan.

Fans protested before the game was a norm, and there was a fear that West Ham would become a club obsessed with Premier League survival and little else.

However, David Moyes converted this in record time. Most expect the 2020-21 season to be about consolidation rather than fighting for survival. It turned out to be so much; And for that, the manager deserves credit.

The apathy towards ownership has not gone away. But Moyes has brought a clear strategy to the side’s transfer policy – and it has paid big dividends.

The two-pronged strategy involved buying the best performers in the Championship – the second division of English football – while also exploring lesser known European markets.

Hence the arrival of Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Kupal and Nikola Vlasic from the Czech and Russian leagues. and also the signings of Said Benharama and Jarrod Bowen, the latter of whom has become a mainstay in the line-up.

A notable exception was the signing of Kurt Zouma from Chelsea. But his aerial skills fit in perfectly with Moyes’ side – and have made West Ham even more difficult to beat in the air.

The emergence of Declan Rice as a midfield monster and the relentless forward play of Michail Antonio also helped. But only good players get you till here.

Moyes’ West Ham works hard with the ball and is clinical on it. This is the reason why they are currently one of the parties against which no one is coming.

the trick of getting the right guy

However, if there’s anything more to be learned about how the Hammers got it right with Moyes, it’s the idea of ​​getting the right manager – and why it’s been so difficult.

In 2014, Moyes was seen as manager in decline after his United spell ended. His subsequent jobs proved this. But here he is mixing it up with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea – on a budget that pales in comparison.

What’s more, Moyes is doing well despite the fact that the club, at the top management level, isn’t exactly renowned for good decisions.

What is important about their approach, however, is that they are happy to give Moyes time – and back him to do the right thing.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that other managers at West Ham would not have done as well as this Scotsman has. And in the process, he has proved what many people already knew – that he is very good at this football management business.

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