‘Who could replace Moyes? I’m not sure even David Sullivan knows!’

There have been a few managers suggested but many hope Steidten gets the final say

David Moyes (West Ham manager) at the West Ham United v Chelsea EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on February 11, 2023.

I am writing this after the damp squib of a defeat against Forest, and, according to Moyes, ‘coming to Nottingham Forest and losing isn’t a sin’. He also said: ‘Maybe some fans want a change or maybe they’ve had managers who excite them more, but the one who’s sitting here wins more.’

As I said on my X account, I am getting Sam Allardyce cupping-his-ear vibes, Moyes is bitter and defensive, and it really is time for him to move on. I will be forever grateful for the trophy he has brought us, but his ‘credit in the bank’, has been used up.

The football continues to be terrible, and we are sliding down the table. The players look disinterested, and the Bowl is like a graveyard watching Moyesball. The consensus is that Sullivan will let his contract run down, then decide at the end of the season. 

On the one hand, there is some sense in this, on the other, we are losing a grip on what was a very promising season. It is quite likely we will exit Europe in the next round, certainly if we play like we are currently, and then end up 13th in the table? A chance missed as Sullivan will not pull the trigger.

I said at the time, Moyes should have left as a hero after the Conference League triumph. People would have forgotten the dull football, the flirting with relegation, and he would have gone down as a hero. 

Perhaps he still will, but he is in danger of souring his reputation among the Hammers’ faithful. There have always been Moyes-outers and Moyes-inners, but the tide seems to have firmly shifted to the former. If nothing else, we need to reunite a divided fanbase with the appointment of a new manager. 

One of the cries regarding Moyes possibly leaving, is ‘who would you get in to replace him?’. I never get this, because firstly, it is the board’s job to source the next manager – they should already have a list in place, and secondly, we are the 14th richest club in the world, based in London, have players like Paqueta, Bowen and Kudus and have the second-biggest stadium in the Premier League. I tend to think one or two decent managers may be interested.

The names coming out in the last couple of days to replace Moyes are uninspiring: Julien Lopetegui, Steve Cooper and Graham Potter. Out of the three, I would go with Potter. He would work well with Steidten, and if he were given time, he could reshape the squad and get us going again.

Potter struggled at Chelsea, but then so is Pochettino, and others have before him. It is better to look at his time at Brighton, where in his three years there, he helped remould the club, and laid down the impressive foundations that De Zerbi has built upon. Potter developed unknown players, such as Mac Allister and Cucurella, and he is not afraid to blood younger players. He also isn’t locked into Plan A, like our current incumbent is.  

Potter was not tracked by the top six clubs for no reason, and he is young, will have learnt from his Chelsea experience, and is out of work – which is key when Sullivan hires a manager. Other names in the frame include Gary O’Neil, who is quietly building his reputation at Wolves. I think he will want to stay there for a few seasons, before moving on again. That said, he is a name to keep an eye on. 

Steve Cooper used to working for an ‘interesting’ chairman would fit in here, but hardly a forward-looking, inspirational appointment. I would imagine the appeal of Cooper – for Sullivan – is that he is out of work and would be a cheap appointment. Will Still would be a relative gamble, and it is probably too early in his career for the West Ham job. 

Lopetegui saved Wolves from relegation, but his football is as dour as Moyes, and he has a habit of falling out with players and boards – I cannot see that being a successful appointment. Some more “forward-looking” choices would be Ruben Amorim, Miguel Munoz, Thomas Frank, Julian Naglesman, or Arne Slot. All would work well with Steidten.

Would they want to work under Sullivan, though? Despite appointing Steidten, he still cannot relinquish the reins, and until he leaves, or at the very least, hands on football matters to Steidten, will anything actually change?

The best we can hope for, if Sullivan is staying, is that he lets Steidten choose a Head Coach and rebuild the management/coaching structure. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, and if the season continues in the current manner, surely we will see someone new in the dugout for 2024/25.

But who will that be? I don’t think even Sullivan knows.

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