Five: Reasons Why David Moyes Should Have Been Offered A New West Ham Contract
Two days after it was confirmed by West Ham United that they wouldn’t be offering manager David Moyes a new contract at the club, despite seeing them avoid relegation to the Sky Bet Championship, and a day after giving you Five Reasons Why Moyes Wasn’t Offered A New Contract. Today, we bring you five reasons why the Scot should have and deserved to have his West Ham deal extended.
When the ex-Manchester United manager took over from Slaven Bilic in November 2017, the Croat had led the Hammers into a relegation battle and after 11 league matches, sat 17th in the PL standings, hanging by a thread above the drop zone.
This was something that Moyes was able to turn around two-fold, a feat that may not have been achieved had Bilic continued or if a different successor was appointed in his place, eventually leading the Irons to 13th position and guaranteed safety eight days before the season’s end.
While the team inevitably dipped into the bottom three in the first few weeks of Moyes’ reign as he got off to a tricky start in East London, he was able to keep the Irons’ noses above water from mid-December, some achievement, given the considerations we will take into account later in this article.
Not only were West Ham safe the weekend before the conclusion of the term, with a comfortable away win at the King Power Stadium, but heading into the final day victory over Everton on home soil, they could have finished in the top half.
The fact that a top-ten finish was so very nearly achieved by the boys in Claret & Blue is testament to Moyes being the right man to take the club forward and evidence of just how excellent a job he did, warranting an offer of a new deal, at the very least.
It is little-known that Moyes’ West Ham only lost three matches at their much-maligned home ground of London Stadium over a period between November 2017 and May 2018, a period that saw 15 sides visit in all competitions.
12 matches unbeaten at home for a Hammers team that was embroiled in a relegation battle is a phenomenal feat, six of which were won and six of which were drawn, compare those mere three home defeats from 15 matches under Moyes to last season’s 11 losses from 24 at London Stadium.
But, it’s not just the overall home record that’s impressive it’s some of the results that were picked up in Stratford by the Irons, with only one “Big Six” club coming away with the three points against Moyes’ team, the champions Manchester City.
The likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were all tamed, victory in the first of those was the experienced boss’ first victory in his new role, it would be followed by home triumphs over West Bromwich Albion, Shrewsbury Town, Watford, Southampton and Everton throughout the campaign.
To do this at any home ground would be laudable but to do it at a stadium that supporters have protested against, like in the home defeat by Burnley, and one where the atmosphere has been hostile at times is even better, Moyes managed to make London Stadium a fortress, something that Bilic failed miserably in doing.
As aforementioned, the job that Moyes pulled off in East London would have been seen as an achievement for a manager working without off-field distractions and without very limited resources, something that the ex-Toffees manager didn’t have the liberty of.
The Irons were plagued by injuries when he first arrived on the scene, with several, including names such as Sam Byram, James Collins and the now-departed Jose Fonte, but by the end of January, that list had grown out of proportion, up to 13.
Following the Emirates FA Cup exit at the hands of Wigan Athletic, when one of his star men Arthur Masuaku picked up a six-game suspension, key centre-back Winston Reid, defensive midfielder Pedro Obiang, attacking playmaker Manuel Lanzini and in-form striker Marko Arnautovic were all out, to name but a few.
The injuries struck at the worst possible time for Moyes, off the back of a superb run of form that saw his side lose just two in 14 in all competitions and as a result, the run soon ended and West Ham began to slip back towards the danger.
A mitigating factor in the fight against injuries was the clear lack of investment in the January transfer window by the club’s board when investment was needed more than ever, they failed to back Moyes, and were extremely fortunate they had a manager of his calibre and credentials to save the sinking ship.
While many argued that they didn’t want to see Moyes continue on as Hammers boss due to his reputation and execution of a negative brand of football, that claim can be nearly completely quashed by the number of goals that the club scored in his reign.
Despite finishing 13th in the PL, the Irons ended the season with the eighth-most goals in the league, that statistic lies far from the defensive tag that Moyes seems to carry around with him from job to job, implying quite the opposite.
Whilst the consideration that the Hammers also shipped the joint-most goals in the league, often with a makeshift defence, must be taken into consideration, tying a team that was relegated in Stoke City, they comfortably scored more than five of the six sides directly above them in the league.
A total of 48 was enough to even trump Burnley in seventh position in terms of goals scored, an outfit that have been praised for reaching the UEFA Europa League this term, surprising many, and more than any of the clubs that finished below them, by some distance.
The Hammers were helped to this total by emphatic victories such as the 3-0 one over relegation rivals Southampton at London Stadium and those of the like of the 1-4 thrashing over Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium, West Ham managed to score in 17 of the final 18 league matches of the season under Moyes.
Saving the best till last, perhaps the most compelling factor about the six-month tenure of the experienced Moyes at London Stadium has been the improvement that he has brought to the squad of players, in terms of fitness and performance.
At the time of his appointment, the Irons were covering the least distance in the Top-Flight and it has been well-documented that this was something he set out to change from day one, being successful in this through visible results on the pitch and stats.
However, most impressively of all has been the dramatic improvements in individual players, Moyes hasn’t just been able to galvanise the squad as a whole into performing better and getting better results, but also singled out individuals and encouraged them to be better within themselves.
The clearest example of this seems to be club-record forward Marko Arnautovic who was out of favour, having not registered a league goal or a league assist before the arrival of the Scot, try 11 goals and six assists in 22 matches in all competitions to close out the campaign.
But, Arnautovic is hardly the only one, with a change of position making all the difference for Masuaku, 31-year-old captain Mark Noble looks to be returning to the form of a couple of years ago, and youngster Declan Rice has been given over 30 senior appearances, it’s unclear whether these players will be as effective under the new manager.
In conclusion, Moyes appeared to have the correct experience and skills as a manager to guide West Ham through a tricky phase in their new era, staying out relegation battles in forthcoming seasons and restoring some stability. The future now looks uncertain with the appointment of a “High-calibre” boss set to be announced in the next seven days.
So, now that you’ve been given five reasons why David Moyes should have been able to keep his job at West Ham United should he have wanted to, do you want to have your own say on the matter? Well, you can, simply find us on Twitter @WestHamMatters_ to join the discussion.