Relatively few people would have had David Moyes as first choice to replace Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. What are your first impressions of him?
Lucy Woolford: I think the negativity we all feared has crept in. His words and expressions are under-confident and there hasn’t been the morale boost you’d hope for with a new manager. We showed some good signs against Leicester, but there’s vast room for improvement.
Katie Shergold: First impressions were pretty good. I was impressed because he was talking the talk and wasn’t afraid to criticise the team and the players ‘appeared’ to be happy by his arrival. However our performance against Everton was shambolic. I couldn’t take any positives from the game.
Drew Osborn: Personally, I would have gone for Alan Pardew but you can’t blame Moyes for the mess we are in. There was certainly more effort in the Leicester City game which, as a supporter, is all I demand. He needs us as much as we need him in the sense that if he doesn’t get it right for us then that’s most likely his career as a top flight manager finished. Let’s hope he wins us all over by May.
Holly Worthington: Moyes is brutally honest and making it clear that lazy football isn’t acceptable, which we’ve needed, but he needs to be careful to keep players on his side. Initial signs looked good with intensity increased in training and young players being put on the bench but it’s the results that matter. Sacking Slav wouldn’t automatically bring points, but Moyes has to start winning otherwise I can’t see him staying long.
West Ham now have the worst defense in the Premier League. What is the main reason for this and how does it get resolved?
LW: Bad quality and poor confidence is to blame. Winston Reid used to be a force to be reckoned with and even he looks a shadow of his former self. I don’t believe for a second that any manager is teaching the incompetence our back line is showing, so it’s lack of brainpower, mostly.
KS: School-boy errors are constantly leading to poor goals being conceded. They don’t seem to understand the basics of football. It looks as though Moyes needs to go back to basics with the whole squad. Be fully committed and don’t give up. Stop ball watching and track your man.
DO: Our midfield needs to start doing a lot more to protect the back four but that has been a problem since the start of last season. Unless the team start working harder and covering more ground it won’t ever get better.
HW: I think our problems are to blame on laziness, over-complicating play and a lack of confidence. We need to go back to doing the simple things like marking properly. Simple mistakes have led to conceding early goals which puts us on the back foot and confidence issues are making players hoof the ball up the pitch when we can play far more effectively on the ground.
What do the club need to do in the January transfer window?
LW: We’ve said it before and will say it again — we need to sign a consistent striker. We have some really good individuals up-front, but no one who takes the lead and we can rely on to poke goals in and stay fit. Attack is the best form of defence as well, right?
KS: I honestly don’t know if there is a quick fix, there just seems to be too much to do in such a small space of time. I feel as though the whole team needs a complete shake-up, but with the £20m figure being discussed as available to spend, that isn’t possible. An absolute must is a solid defensive midfielder and a strong centre-back.
DO: Sign a holding midfielder. If only Slav had made it clear in the summer that he wanted William Carvalho
HW: We need to make some big changes defensively and creatively. If players aren’t willing to work hard, I’d get them out and replace them. Depending on our position in the league, signing players with a manager on a short-term contract will be very difficult, and if this happens, I’d put a focus on making players work for their place in the squad.
Hammers fans sang ‘sack the board’ during the defeat at Watford. Do you agree this was the right thing to do, or would you rather they focused on backing the team during matches and leave protests until after full time?
LW: We’re on the spiral to rock bottom, so it’s time for fans to vent their anger towards the board but I do think this needs to be kept to postmatch. We know that players are affected by the negativity during a game, so how fans think chanting isn’t going to cause further defeats, I don’t know!
KS: I personally do not blame fans for voicing their feelings during a game, whether it is aimed at the players, manager or board. The fans don’t start out singing ‘sack the board’, but when they have paid their hard-earned money to watch a completely clueless and gutless performance, I think they have the right to voice their opinion.
DO: I was guilty of posting that exact phrase on Facebook after the game. We all know you can’t sack the board but it tells the whole footballing world that the fans are not impressed with the way the club is being run. The signings these last two summers have not been good enough. I would prefer, however, for post-match protests like in the Terry Brown days.
HW: I think Hammers fans should have waited until after the game. The last thing that will help the players turn a game around is singing ‘sack the board’. That was always going to distract players and as we saw at the Leicester game, when the crowd supports the team, they do seem to find another gear in terms of work rate.
Do you think we will stay up?
LW: I do, yes. I think we’ll have our typical plummet and then all of a sudden we’ll turn things around in February and finish a sparkling 16th!
KS: I honestly believed that we would turn it around. But I am now seriously concerned and I cannot see a way out. I think Moyes has got a huge job on his hands and if we are ‘lucky’ enough to stay up, I think we are going to be relying on the teams around us having a poor season.
DO: Not after the Everton result. However, I thought we were doomed in 2006/7 so maybe we’ll be able to turn it around. I live in hope anyway.
HW: I’m remaining positive that we will stay up, but unless we dramatically improve every aspect of our play, I can see a relegation battle on our hands. Our results from Christmas onwards will dictate the rest of our season and if we can start winning games, we can save the season.