West Ham United have been in awful form domestically this year with many Hammer’s fans calling for David Moyes to be sacked. This has caused a huge divide in the fanbase as other West Ham fans believe that Moyes’ European success at the club has earned him a chance to turn their fortunes around.
West Ham headed into the Qatar break just one point off the relegation zone in 16th and are currently just 4 points away from falling to rock bottom of the Premier League. After spending £165m+ on summer signings, West Ham fans are demanding more, and placing the responsibility for the poor form on Moyes. You can understand the frustration from West Ham fans, as less than a year ago they were celebrating reaching the Europa League semi-final at the London Stadium.
West Ham fans have proven to be very reactionary in the past, and pundit Ally McCoist has warned them to be careful what they wish for. It is worth noting that the last time there was an extended break in a Premier League season, was during Covid-19, where David Moyes worked magic. The former Manchester United manager brought in Jesse Lingard as West Ham secured Europa League football that season behind closed doors.
Moyes has used the first two weeks of this intriguing Qatar break to let the team get some rest, reducing pressure on his players and allowing them to relax with their families. However, now it is back to work for the Hammers. Can Moyes get West Ham scoring goals and winning games again? We don’t know. But surely Moyes has earned this chance…
Moyes first came to the club and was ordered to save West Ham from relegation, and he successfully did that, but was replaced with former Manchester City manager Pellegrini, who was given a huge transfer budget. Moyes did everything he was asked to do but West Ham moved on quickly after his short-term contract expired. Then Moyes was re-employed to save West Ham from relegation again, which he did successfully. This time around, West Ham gave him a longer contract. Moyes has consistently hit and exceeded targets for years at West Ham, and nobody would've expected them to have had some of the success they've seen in the last couple of years.
Since saving West Ham twice from the drop, Moyes was given a long-term role at the club and has signed some great players for cheap on a very restricted budget; Soucek for £16m, Coufal for £6m and Bowen for £21m were all great buys who have provided a lot more value than their fee would suggest over the course of their time at the Hammers. This shows much smarter spending and less immaturity than the combined £80m spent on Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson. Not only has he worked well with a strict budget, but Moyes has exceeded expectations with this budget, finishing 6th and 7th and reaching a Europa League semi-final. Even this year, they remain the only unbeaten English club in Europe this year. In the Summer, Moyes was backed by the board and signed 8 players for around £170m. These players simply haven’t had the time to settle in yet, no? After such a successful reign at the club, surely the least he deserves is some time to embed his new players in.
The other reason why some fans are so reluctant to sack Moyes is because of the replacements on offer. Ambitious fans are claiming that the club should be going for former Chelsea, PSG and Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel, or former Spurs and PSG manager, Mauricio Pochettino. There seem to be a lot of flaws with this though. No Hammer’s fans seem to know who they would want to get in if these two were to reject, which is likely, as they will have Champions League job offers around the corner.
In addition to this, both managers have links with Chelsea and Tottenham, who are West Ham’s rivals. One of the main criticisms of Moyes is that he plays a very defensive style of football, but West Ham fans want Thomas Tuchel? It doesn’t seem to make sense.
West Ham could be more likely in the market for the likes of Sean Dyche, Rafa Benitez or Ralph Hasenhuttl. This seems like a more realistic move that the West Ham board would make, which would most likely get a negative reception from the fans. Between them they have had great successes, but also great failures, and all three of these managers wouldn't be trusted in a relegation battle, or to move West Ham forward in seasons to come more than Moyes. Someone like Marcelo Bielsa would also worry fans, as his high scoring games provide fantastic entertainment, but less security in the league.
Other, more left field options, are the likes of Patrick Vieira (Crystal Palace) and Thomas Frank (Brentford). Whilst these would be great additions, and whilst West Ham are a bigger club than Crystal Palace and Brentford, these managers are doing so well at their current clubs and are building strong teams. West Ham could be seen as going back to square one for these managers, where the players fit Moyes' tactics, not Vieira's or Frank's. West Ham don’t have the pull factor that, say, Chelsea have to steal one of these managers in 'Graham Potter style'. Saying this, there are so many high-level managers at worse clubs than West Ham. Have West Ham missed some opportunities, or was would showing interest in other managers be of great disrespect for Moyes?
Did West Ham miss the boat on Emery? Emery has been appointed at Aston Villa after the sacking of Steven Gerrard; and the Spanish mastermind has settled into life at Villa Park very comfortably. If West Ham don’t pick up results when Premier League football returns after Qatar, they will be kicking themselves that they didn’t look to steal Emery before Aston Villa appointed him, especially as a club with a bigger stadium, squad value and fanbase. The coach seems the perfect fit for West Ham, as he plays attacking, good-looking football, has worked with big names before and is proven in Europe - where West Ham belong.
In addition to this, a new manager would’ve had a great opportunity to settle in and establish his tactics during this World Cup break, to allow West Ham to come back strong after the internationals. The extra weeks that the manager would've spent at the club would also allow him to get ideas of January signings, and it would’ve allowed the West Ham board to build trust with the new coach to spend money for them.
As it stands, if Moyes stays, after a big summer window and a poor start to the season, the West Ham board won’t be expected to splash the cash too much in January. There are questions over the boards trust in Moyes, as it has been rumoured they have set points targets for the Scot. With points targets, they would be reluctant to spend on someone who could be shown the exit if one target fails. If Moyes gets sacked in the coming weeks, it probably would still be a dry January, due to the lack of trust between the board and the new coach. David Gold, David Sullivan, Karren Brady, and Daniel Kretinsky would be hoping that the new manager can prove himself first, with West Ham's current squad, which is a very good team on paper. If they can do this, then they could see the big bucks.
Many West Ham fans agree that Moyes has taken the club as far as he can, and even if he does manage to turn around this poor start to the season, it will never get as good as it was before. Sometimes it is best to leave a hero than to live long enough to become a villain, and Moyes could be the perfect example of this.
In conclusion, West Ham have got it wrong over the years countless times with managers, such as Avram Grant, Manuel Pellegrini and Gianfranco Zola. Keeping Moyes - someone who has brought improvement and success to the club - would make a statement to the squad that the team has to improve rather than a 'lazy' sacking. If Moyes was to be sacked, the West Ham board need to really show some ambition and get in a manager of high calibre who is proven, which can be hard to come by. Can they find this at this current moment in time? We're not sure, but in a potential relegation battle, is it better to take a risk or to stick to what you know? Let us know in the poll below!