Hammers Boss Moyes Looking Forward To Renewing Everton And Big Sam Rivalry
West Ham United manager David Moyes is looking forward to the challenge of facing his former club Everton on the final day of the Premier League season, as well as renewing his friendly rivalry with their boss Sam Allardyce.
The Hammers take on the Toffees on Sunday afternoon at the London Stadium, bringing the curtain down on what has been a rocky campaign for them, on and off the field.
However, the Irons will be relieved that the only thing they now have to play for, remarkably, is a place in the PL’s top ten, having secured safety from relegation to the Sky Bet Championship by beating Leicester City last Saturday.
Speaking in his pre-Everton press conference after the draw with Manchester United in Stratford on Thursday evening, which West Ham Matters had the privilege of being in, the experienced gaffer had the following to say about trying to get a final victory and his team staying in the division.
“Finishing in the top half is a big incentive, but the biggest thing for me and the real job was to ensure we remained a Premier League club, and we’ve got that job done,” stated Moyes.
“We’re not celebrating staying up, but at times you do have to look at it as a good achievement from the position we were in.
“Also, when you look at the clubs who have gone down this year, as I don’t think many people would have predicted the clubs who have gone down.”
When Moyes took over from Slaven Bilic last November, West Ham were in a grave position, a single place and point above the bottom three and the Scot has turned things around in East London.
At that stage, few could imagine that the Irons would have been heading into their final two games, which were being dubbed as must-wins to stay up, safe as houses.
But, not just safe, with the opportunity to sneak into the top half and clinch 10th position, they currently sit five places off current holders of the position Newcastle United, although just two points separate them.
Similarly, if results don’t go their way and the East Londoners aren’t able to end the season on a high, they could end up finishing as low as 17th, surviving by a mere three points.
However, if they can overcome Allardyce’s men, there is a great chance that they could end up in the top half, earning extra prize money and prestige in the process.
Of the five sides above them, four of them take on teams inside the top six on the final day, where all matches kick-off at 3 PM BST, meaning that it’s all to play for come tomorrow afternoon.
However, Moyes is a man that knows all too well just how tricky the Merseyside opponents can be, having escaped relegation trouble themselves to all but cement eighth place.
The former Red Devils manager spent 11 years at the helm at Goodison Park before moving to Old Trafford, in which time he led the club to consistent top-six finishes, an FA Cup final and even the UEFA Champions League.
But, Moyes undoubtedly ready to put sentiments aside in order to get the job done against his ex-team, speaking about the Blue Boys of Merseyside encounter, later in the same press conference.
“It’s definitely still special for me Everton has always been a big game, so it’ll be a big day, with Sam coming back here too, for both of us.
“In the years gone by, we’ve sat in opposite dugouts, not in this stadium, obviously, but in other stadiums.”
An added incentive for the Hammers and their boss is going head-to-head with “Big Sam,” who was the man to lead the East London club back into the Premier League from the Championship the last time that they were relegated.
After promotion via the play-offs during the 2011/2012 term, he managed to stabilise the team’s Top-Flight status and enjoyed three successful campaigns before his sacking at the end of 2014/2015.
Allardyce may be hellbent on revenge as he looks to secure his own future with the Blues, though there will be more pleasant exchanges with his opposite number Moyes rather than the Claret & Blue Army.
The two managers are good friends having gone to war numerous times while in charge at various different clubs and will be looking forward to meeting once again in a match that could go a long way to deciding the future of the respective 55 and 63-year olds.
You can follow the intriguing season-ending Premier League affair between David Moyes’ West Ham United and Sam Allardyce’s Everton live right here on West Ham Matters, as we bring you a Live Blog, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction from the fixture, live from the London Stadium Press Box and starting at 1 PM BST, on Sunday afternoon.