Back in June 2015, I wrote a piece introducing Bilic’s Backroom Boys. Now that David Moyes has confirmed his own backroom team, I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce the new coaching team at West Ham United.
First up – Alan Irvine. The Glasgow-born 59-year-old was a winger who started his career with Queen’s Park in 1977 before spending three years at Everton between 1981 and 1984. He moved to Crystal Palace, making over 100 appearances for the Eagles, before returning to Scotland in 1987 with Dundee United. He closed his career with a three-year spell at Blackburn, retiring in 1992 after helping Kenny Dalglish’s men win promotion to the Premier League.
Irvine was Academy Director at Ewood Park between 1993 and 1998 and held a similar role at Newcastle from 2001 to 2005, bringing through Steven Taylor and Peter Ramage. He then moved to Everton in 2005 where he became David Moyes’ assistant. He graduated to management in November 2007 with Preston, guiding them from a relegation battle to 15th place at the end of his first season. He took them to the play-offs in his only full campaign in charge, but lost to Sheffield United in the semi-final. After a run of one win in ten games, he was sacked in December 2009.
Irvine was appointed manager of Sheffield Wednesday in January 2010 but the club were relegated to League One at the end of the season. He was dismissed in February 2011. He returned to Everton in the summer of 2011 to become manager of the club’s academy. Three years later, Irvine was back in management, this time at Premier League level with West Bromwich Albion. He was sacked after seven months, in late December 2014. In the summer of 2016 he became assistant manager at Norwich and became caretaker manager eight months later after the departure of Alex Neil, steering the Canaries through the final two months of the campaign.
Billy McKinlay is a 48-year-old former midfielder who won 29 caps for Scotland, appearing for his country at Euro ’96 and the World Cup in 1998. Like Moyes and Irvine, he was born in Glasgow. Starting his career with Dundee United, for whom he made over 200 appearances, McKinlay moved south of the border to reigning Premier League champions Blackburn in 1995. He spent five years with Rovers before spells at Bradford, Clydebank, Leicester and Fulham. His coaching career began as reserve team manager at Craven Cottage and he was also named as assistant manager of Northern Ireland. He left Fulham in December 2013 and was appointed first team coach at Watford nine months later. He was very quickly named head coach after the departure of Oscar Garcia, but was himself replaced after just eight days in charge, Slavisa Jokanovic being named as his replacement.
McKinlay worked under Moyes at Real Sociedad between November 2014 and November 2015. After leaving Spain he was named manager of Norwegian side Stabaek but he resigned in July 2016 after less than eight months with the club. He worked as a scout under Moyes at Sunderland and became first team coach at the Stadium of Light just last month – he was appointed joint caretaker manager alongside former Hammer Robbie Stockdale but has since relinquished this role to move to the Hammers.
And last but not least – Stuart Pearce. ‘Psycho’ needs very little introduction to West Ham supporters, having spent two years at the club between 1999 and 2001. He made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 win over Tottenham on the opening day of the 1999/2000 season and even made an England return in September 1999 at the age of 37 – he was the third-oldest outfield player to appear for England after Stanley Matthews and Leslie Compton. The official West Ham United website this week released a ‘Six things you probably didn’t know about Stuart Pearce’ article – point three on the list was that Pearce played for the Hammers in Europe as a member of the InterToto Cup-winning side which got the Hammers into the UEFA Cup. This is, in fact, not true – ‘Psycho’ did not play a single minute of any of the six InterToto games and was out with a broken leg when the Hammers competed in the UEFA Cup.
Pearce made five league appearances in claret and blue before suffering the aforementioned broken leg against Watford – typically, he wanted to carry on playing! He made a return to action in February 2000 but only lasted three games before breaking the same leg. 2000/01 saw better times for Pearce though – he played in 34 of the Irons’ Premier League matches, with a further eight appearances coming in the domestic cups. Pearce ended the season as a 39-year-old but had played 40 matches at the top level of English football. He also scored three goals for the club: a consolation direct from a free-kick in a 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in October 2000; a typically thunderous strike to give the Hammers a 2-1 lead at Southampton a month later in a game the Hammers would win 3-2; and an equaliser to make it 1-1 in an FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham at a rain-drenched Upton Park in March 2001, a game the Irons would sadly lose 3-2. He was voted Hammer of the Year at the end of the 2000/01 season.
Hammersmith-born Pearce had started his career at non-league Wealdstone in 1978 before moving to Coventry in 1983. Two years later he was signed by Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest and he would make over 400 appearances for the club. He turned down a move to the Hammers in 1997 to sign for Newcastle but did team up with Harry Redknapp two years later. After being beaten to the vacant managerial post at Upton Park by Glenn Roeder in the summer of 2001, Pearce left east London after 50 appearances to end his playing days with Manchester City, who romped to the First Division title and promotion to the Premier League under Kevin Keegan. Pearce had also won 78 caps for England and was part of the team which reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1990 and the last four of Euro ‘96 – England’s two greatest performances at a tournament since 1966.
Pearce’s first stint as a manager came as caretaker at Nottingham Forest in 1997. He became a coach under Keegan at Manchester City before becoming manager of the club in 2005. He became manager of the England Under-21 team in February 2007 whilst still in charge at City but was sacked by his club three months later. He guided the Under-21s to the semi-finals of the European Championships in 2007 and the Final in 2009 – his captains at both tournaments were provided by the Hammers, Nigel Reo-Coker and Mark Noble respectively. He also worked as a coach with the England senior team under Fabio Capello and managed the Great Britain Olympic team at London 2012. He left his role as Under-21 manager in the summer of 2013 and spent seven months back in charge at Forest in the 2014/15 campaign.
Welcome to all three, and good luck. Best wishes too to Winston Reid tonight, as his New Zealand side look to claim the last remaining place at the 2018 World Cup in their play-off in Peru.