Moyes In or Moyes Out: What’s your verdict?

There are those who want to stick, those who want him gone and a good number in the middle

David Moyes (West Ham manager) at the West Ham United v Leicester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on November 12, 2022.

There was a time last season when David Moyes’ win record had surpassed John Lyall’s wins (39%), Alan Pardew (41%) and Billy Bonds (43%), and his infamous quote: ‘It’s what I do, I win’ actually held weight.

Of course these winning percentages are not factoring the amount of games played and neither did Moyes’ record at that time as the fate of longevity at three seasons in has started to catch up with him and level the heights he was rising towards. Under Moyes we have now had 11 wins in our last 37 Premier League matches, with the cost of dropping 63 points out of possible 108.

After the Leeds match, we sat in 17th place, tied for points with Frank Lampard’s failing Everton, and there doesn’t look to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the team under Moyes with performance and results being repetitively poor. How did we get to the place where our relegation saviour is now driving us headlong into relegation territory he twice saved us from?

For many West Ham fans, turning on the man that brought us out of two relegation scraps, put us into Europe twice, and got the board to spend record amounts in the transfer window seems tantamount to betrayal, especially as we discarded Moyes prematurely after his first tenure only to regret it with the introduction of the Pellegrini era.  

But for myself and maybe fans quickly sobering with the New Year’s chill, there is no bitterness towards Moyes but a stark realisation that he can no longer take us forward. It’s not that his methods don’t work or haven’t taken a struggling team and fanbase to places they’ve never been before.

It’s not that he’s given up or become complacent. It’s simply the fact that David Moyes has a limit to his abilities, and that for whatever reason, the team is not responding to his methods or his management. Forget the rumours of him losing the dressing room or player unrest and all the drama that comes with it – the players are just not responding to his tactics and regime – it’s not generating new energy or productivity.

For our #MOYESIN crowd that is dwindling just like his win ratio, you might put this on the players. After all they are equally to blame for what happens on the pitch, and Moyes’ can’t step into their boots and kick the ball.

But however sloppy and careless they may seem, the drive still seems there – they’re still running all over the pitch. It’s not discipline or workrate that is lacking as was the case with Pellegrini or Bilic, it’s a confidence, a connectivity, a belief to move, pass the ball. work as a unit, and ultimately put the ball in the back of the net.

For those fans still straddling the line, you might point to the fact that he has lost a lot of strength within his managerial ranks: Losing Stuart Pearce and Alan Irvine was a major hit to the staff that has not been equally replaced by the likes of Mark Warburton. Mark Noble’s presence has also left the team lacking in terms of dressing room management.  

These fans will hope to see a restoration with Noble’s January return as Sporting Director, but this is putting too much on Noble’s shoulders, and we must ask ourselves – did Moyes’ success lie solely on these men? We may also be sympathetic to Moyes’ squad wracked with injury and underperforming new players: Aguerd and Zouma were supposed to be at the heart of his backline and have been riddled with injury throughout the season, never solidifying into a productive pair.

Scamacca and Paqueta have also not hit their strides, leaving the attacking threat rather dismal.  But didnt David dither for two transfer windows leaving it too late for a team to gel in reaction to the light speed pace that modern football requires?

The #MOYESOUT crowd will state quite plainly, that Moyes’ has never been a master strategist, has never known how to teach attacking football, and has relied solely on discipline, organisation, and the rudimentary but surprisingly productive counter-attacking football that pushed West Ham forward. Discipline only takes you so far, and when all the other teams have figured out that West Ham counterattacks, suddenly the edge of our front line is dulled, as Antonio is marked, bullied and kept quiet, and Bowen is forced to constantly concede the ball as his cutting back on his left foot in is no longer a surprise.

With each match we see the same stitled routine: Soucek running all over the place but not delivering the ball anywhere, Benrahma doing constant takeons then to prove himself to Moyes, failing through wayward shots, Coufal playing the early, lofted cross to no available striker, Cresswell being beaten by his man, and Rice having to clean up everything without actually getting to play a proactive role. This is a predictable Moyes-ball and one that he can’t manage out of as it’s all he knows.

What the board decide to do about someone who has finally replaced #GSBOUT with #MOYESOUT and has taken attention away from themselves is a mystery, although now that David Gold has passed away, Moyes’ is without his chief supporter. Who we pursue to replace in a relegation scrap is an even greater mystery: Big Sam has lost it, Scotty Parker has chosen another role, Bielsa doesn’t have the time to manage out of a sloppy play as his style would be too undisciplined and, unlike Moyes, to learn quickly and make an impact.

All the other likely candidates seem either unrealistic like Tuchel, taken like Howe, or past their prime like Benitez or Dyche. It is obvious that West Ham have not been able to change as a World Cup break, new players, and a string of games from lower and higher opposition have proved to no effect.

Super David Moyes will have always given us salvation from relegation, and the fulfilled dreams of Europe, but as for me, I think it is time we respectfully and with great affection bid him a fond farewell to greener pitches.

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