You have to feel a little sorry for Slaven Bilic but his departure was entirely inevitable.
There’s absolutely no point in dwelling on that and we are now into a totally different ball game with David Moyes and his team. Much has already been said and written about his Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland misadventures but there were reasons for all of them and I expect him to stabilise the Hammers and keep them up.
Nobody would have survived as the first successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, and unlike many British bosses, he at least had the guts to go abroad and try his luck. At Sunderland he had no chance. That place has gobbled up the likes of Steve Bruce and Martin O’Neill in the past and Moyes had little backing and no chance. Draw a line under that.
He’s now back at a club where he will be supported and one which will suit him in size and feel. We are very much an Everton-size club with a family feel, loyal fan base and ambition. Moyes has been in this place before.
It’s going to be hard going but there’s worse teams than us around in the Premier League and with the squad he has, I believe we will be fine. It’s impossible to disagree with all those who have pointed the finger at the team’s lack of fitness.
They haven’t looked right since pre-season and with that addressed and some defensive problems sorted we will be 40 per cent improved. With that will come more confidence throughout the team and that will see us making real progress over the remainder of the season.
But from here on in I want to see the board playing their part by remaining a lot quieter than they have in the past.
There’s too much put out there and I would like them to become a lot more like those involved in the John Lyall era when I had a very personal example of the man’s way of doing business.
I learned when the Hammers wanted to sign me that all the details had been tied up with Jim Gregory, then chairman of Queens Park Rangers, but I still had to ask what would happen if there was a change of heart as the contract waited for my signature. John then made it clear categorically that if I signed and Jim changed his mind the contract would be torn up, nobody would ever know or be told by him or anybody else.
Jim didn’t and the rest is history, but it shows how a great club operates and I recommend such a way of doing things to everybody involved at West Ham today.
Beyond that what we need is a period of stability and if Moyes performs well until the end of the season then it would be great if he were handed a new deal. Chopping and changing never really works. Harking back to my time, I worked under John for a long time and the club was solid under him despite the ups and downs football always throws up.
Phil was talking to Hugh Southon from Claretandhugh.info, a proud partner of Blowing Bubbles.