Stan Collymore suggests David Moyes’ stock has fallen, that he is not the man to bring high-pressing, high-octane football to West Ham and that the Scot is struggling to win over fans as the Hammers face a battle to find consistency in their Premier League performances:
The infrastructure is all in place at West Ham. They have a modern stadium with good facilities, a fan base which wants to buy into what they do, and a decent squad as well. If you cherry-picked at least four of their players, maybe even six or seven, you’d have the nucleus of a side well capable of looking at the top half of the table rather than the bottom next season.
So the major question for me now is whether or not David Moyes is the man to lead them again next season.
And, if so, can he, along with co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, turn the Hammers into the sort of club West Brom and Stoke had become before this season?
The sort of club which consistently finishes ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th over four or five seasons. A lot of Moyes’ admirers will say that’s exactly where he will be pitching them but I still don’t know if I’d keep him on. Fans want high-pressing, high-octane football these days because they see it from the top sides every week on Match Of The Day and when that happens it quickly becomes a trend.
The knock-on effect when styles change is that, all of a sudden, people like Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew can begin to look like football dinosaurs.
And at the moment I’m not convinced people see Moyes in a different light. Is he a really good organisational manager who can put out teams which create chances and score goals?
Or is he a grind-it-out merchant, a manager who guarantees fans 19 home games of little entertainment? At times at Everton he suggested he was the former but since then his stock has fallen. That’s something Sullivan and Gold have to seriously take into consideration. They are rather conservative, that pair – remember the way they stuck with Allardyce – and I’m sure they will be thinking, ‘We need stability here’.
They realise there is a lot of money to be lost and they like money, they like being in the Premier League, they like to wear the fur jackets.
Their history suggests that, unless there is a candidate who springs out of nowhere, who is young, aggressive and passionate, who can get West Ham fans behind them, and who has a proven track record of signing quality players, they will stick with what they know. And that will mean a thumbs-up for Moyes.
The problem for West Ham is that the teams coming up from the Championship this season will all have a lot of dough, and not just Premier League dough, either.
Wolves and Cardiff have seriously wealthy backers, as have some of the clubs aiming for the play-offs, and all will be further competition for the Hammers.
That level of competition could ultimately be West Ham’s downfall. The arrival of three teams with huge financial clout could push them closer to the Premier League trapdoor in the next couple of seasons. I’m sure Sullivan and Gold will take all that into consideration. What I would like to see from them at the end of this season – this is assuming they stay up, which I’m certain they will – is a statement of intent, a clear signal of their hopes for the future. That would provide transparency for supporters, something that’s been missing, and it would be good for the fans to realise what the club’s ambitions are.
They also need to address the stadium and get the crowd closer to the pitch, even if it means spending a few million quid to get it right.
On the pitch, survival will all boil down to their remaining six fixtures and, if I were at the training ground, I’d be banging the drum about the home games. They have four of them – the mantra will be, ‘Win the home games and try to nick points away if you can’. And if West Ham get it right, as they did against Southampton in their last home match, they’ll be safe sooner rather than later.
Originally published in the Sunday People.