Alf's Grumble

Well, the West Ham world is still reeling from the abysmal display on Sunday last against Manchester City but the fallout within the camp may be further cause for concern. Much has been said of Moyes’ tactical floundering and lethargic substitutions but it would appear that some of the players are not best pleased with the goings on either.

Of course, Hernandez is the obvious leader of the boo brigade…and rightly so for not being used properly and effectively since Moyes arrived. In fact, ever since his arrival, West Ham have not shown the quality to supply him with good passes and support for him to capitalise upon…and this would likely mean that he would venture away for the London Stadium come the summer, no matter the fate of the club.

However, during the game on Sunday…Andy Carroll was visibly frustrated with the substitutions and why he was not introduced earlier to instill some fear and panic into the Man City defensive lines. There was a brief spat between manager and player whilst on the bench, which saw Carroll leave and return to the dressing room, then allegedly this continued onto Monday during the training session at Rush Green.

Perhaps the players are becoming just as frustrated as the fans are with the manager…perhaps the owners might be rethinking their intentions to extend Moyes’ contract beyond the summer, however, what is certain is that the team are not performing anywhere near to their potential and the capitulations and anaemic ambitions are starting to take their toll…on the players, the manager and of course on the fans.

One would love to be the fly on the wall and listen to Moyes deliver a rousing speech before the game, or inspire his men to be bold and go big in the second half during the half-time talk…or even how he debriefs the players after such a loss…but all most fans would really like to do is enact a ‘Scarface’ scene and live the Tony Montana moment to pepper over their heads with cyclical shots from an AR-15…merely to wake them up and instill some fight or flight reaction.

Initially, the manager was able to turn things around, the players responded and the club were keen to tell the world how wonderful the training sessions were going. He even claimed that only players that worked hard and put in a good display would feature in future games. “If you don’t run, you won’t play!” However, there have been too many instances when players have remained in the starting line up after a poor performance and woefully uncommitted displays. His inconsistency in being the disciplinarian has made a mockery of his initial statement, and whilst he might feel that some of the supporting players may not be good enough, it still might have been better for team morale to make the switches.

Now, just as when under Bilic…the players are starting to fold and are playing without guidance and a plan. The defensive approach simply isn’t working anymore and the players are reacting negatively towards it also. At some stage, both players and manager must come together and openly discuss the failings within the group. There has to be some tough talk inside the dressing room and for Noble to be the leader to bring everyone together in the remaining games.

The fanbase would see Moyes gone for good at the end of the season, as they would the owners for placing the club upon fragile foundations, however, the players must also take responsibility for the below-par displays and the wilting intentions on the field of play. Whilst the tactics might be wrong, the players also need to take it upon themselves to show a lot more during the games and to fight with every breath until the bitter end.

Only then will the fans relinquish the belief that the players and the manager are jointly responsible for the chaos surrounding the club. There are three games left and the fanbase is looking for a stellar turnaround in fortunes but is it possible for this squad of players to deliver…can Moyes deliver any attacking endeavour?

The first test will be away to Leicester City at the weekend, then back to London Stadium for Manchester United and Everton. All have the potential to yield points, even a potential win if the players can act as a coordinated unit, retain possession and support the front-runners. However, just as likely is for three straight losses with a worsening goal difference and that would very likely see the club relegated. That would be two successive seasons that Moyes has taken a team down to the Championship…surely he and the players would do all in their power to prevent this from happening?

Perhaps it will come down to the very last day of the season! Perhaps a hard-fought point against Everton may be just enough to keep the club safe…but be under no illusions…it will not be a glorious escape! It will be fortune over method and the cheers and applause will be reserved for when the culling finally commences. The verbal assault rifles will be at the ready and the team must take their licks…whilst all the fans shout, “Say Hello To My Little Friend!”