Recently I wrote an article relating to the recent activity of chanting our current manager’s name at games. I admitted that after hearing the chant of ‘David Moyes’ claret and blue army’ I felt it was a little too early to glorify David, after all, that chant had not really been heard regularly since the days of Harry Redknapp.
It was my opinion but that did not stop many internet warriors trolling me which I guess is something to be expected in this day and age. It did make me laugh though when several mentioned that they would not give my opinion the time of day because I only had 83 followers on Twitter.
Anyone would notice that having tweeted only 21 times in 10 years that Twitter is clearly not a media that I use. What did intrigue me was that after all this, I saw an article where Geoff Hurst commented on David Moyes’ current reign at West Ham.
Sir Geoff stated: ‘The great spirit we had within the 1965 squad was a fundamental part of our success, and we are quite clearly seeing that today with the current West Ham team… you look at our manager Ron Greenwood at West Ham, who was instrumental in our success. Alf Ramsey was fundamentally hugely important to getting a team together… and we’ve seen that with David Moyes and the current squad. That’s the quality of the manager.’
True praise indeed and I am not worthy to criticise Sir Geoff’s opinion or indeed the fact that David Moyes has created an atmosphere where each and every player seems to love playing for our team. I am also assuming that what Sir Geoff is also alluding to is that great camaraderie can lead to success on the pitch and in recent times we have seen this with our results.
As I write, we are fourth in the league and still in all cup competitions – pretty impressive. But does this allow David to be ranked with Greenwood and Ramsey or even the likes of John Lyall and Harry Redknapp? Having been a West Ham fan for only half a century, I cannot comment on what went on pre-Greenwood days but I feel I can from the late sixties.
I was too young to remember Sir Alf’s triumph at Wembley. I was even too young to remember most of Ron Greenwood’s stewardship at the Boleyn. What I do know is that Sir Ron built a side that won the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup and, although our league form wasn’t great, we remained a First Division side throughout his managerial career.
He was, of course, followed by John Lyall who continued to move the club forward. Lyall’s stewardship was marred by two relegations but it is important to recognise the club’s achievements during his time. Two FA cup wins, our highest ever league position plus final appearances in both the League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup cannot be sniffed at.
It would be fair to say that John Lyall possibly presided over our most successful period as a club. And let’s not forget that more European success could have occurred if it was not for the English clubs’ ban from European competitions. After John Lyall we had a few wilderness years. First Lou Macari and then Billy Bonds, a great club servant who’s managerial career at West Ham came to a premature end and thus we will never know what Billy could have achieved.
Then along came Harry. During Harry’s time at the club we constantly flirted with relegation but also produced our best league position since 1986 and we went on a European tour winning the much derided InterToto Cup. Since Harry we have had 10 managers, including Moyes twice, all with highs and lows – although some of them mostly lows.
The promise of Pardew and our glorious cup defeat, we should have won that day, and that last season at the Boleyn under Slav cannot be forgotten but I feel they do not rank with those of the past. It became clear that for most there was a fractured dressing room at times and all was not good at the club. And so now we arrive at the second coming of Moyes and the club of 2021.
I had my doubts about David Moyes and seemingly as did our board who, despite David’s achievement in his first tenure, felt he was not the right man to take us forward. David Moyes’ biggest success had been at Everton; A team with little money but always guaranteed to play well and maintain their Premier League status.
Maybe a similar type of managerial style to Alan Curbishley who performed similarly at Charlton, although unlike Moyes and Everton when Curbishley left Charlton the wheels well and truly came off. After Everton, David had unsuccessful managerial posts at Manchester United – anyone coming after Sir Alex was on a hiding for nothing – Real Sociedad and Sunderland.
It seemed that David needed West Ham as much as West Ham needed David. But after performing that miracle, he was cast aside and despite saving West Ham from relegation, it seems no club came in for his services, until West Ham came knocking again. What David Moyes has done to date is miraculous. He has installed a belief in the side and has brought together a squad of players that love playing together.
He has also brought together many in the stands and it’s a regular saying from many supporters that ‘in Moyes we trust’. So was Sir Geoff right in his analogy? For me, he was partly right. It’s true that as with Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Ron Greenwood, he has created a fantastic team spirit which is bearing fruit on the pitch.
But let us not forget what Ramsey and Greenwood achieved from this team spirit, a World Cup, FA Cups and European achievements. David Moyes has yet to achieve this level of success. I feel he is on his way to greatness, and if the team continues to perform in this manner, greater success is just around the corner.
Sadly success these days is not measured on how close a team is. It is measured in wins and a trophy cabinet not just full of dust. But as Sir Geoff rightly said, great team spirit often breeds success and boy as West Ham supporters do we need success.
We are riding on a crest of a wave under David Moyes these last two seasons, let’s hope that silver-wear is just around the corner, then all this camaraderie will have borne fruit and just maybe David can join the ranks of West Ham managerial greats.