Talking Point

The Return of 'Psycho': Moyes' Coaching Appointments

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The S J Chandos Column

Will youth get more first team opportunities under David Moyes?

No one can fail to have been impressed with the performances of the young England sides, in the recent friendlies, against Germany and Brazil. England coach Gareth Southgate has shown a clear determination to give young players a run out in these games and it has seemingly paid off. This has occurred against the background of the recent U-20s and U-17s England World Cup victories and a renewed confidence about the quality of young English footballers in the pipe line. Yet, the fact remains that the majority of of those youngsters are very likely to be frozen out of the first team picture at their parent clubs and loaned out. This shows that regardless of potential or actual capability most PL clubs are currently still prioritising expensive foreign imports over home grown talent. However, many people in the English game are increasingly asking why this should continue to be the case? The view gaining currency that PL clubs must increase the first team opportunities for this emerging domestic talent for the long term good of the English game.

West Ham are a club renowned for their Academy and the production of top class talent. Unfortunately, however, in recent years Hammers managers have shown a distinct reluctance to give youngsters adequate first team opportunities. Sam Allardyce never seemed to have any faith in our Academy and Slaven Bilic also showed a surprising reluctance to hand youth their chance. Yes, Bilic blooded Reece Oxford, as a 16 year old, against Arsenal, but he subsequently failed to show sufficient commitment to developing his talent at first team level. Admittedly he called up Declan Rice this season, but also quickly dropped him after the Irish youngster made a mistake against Newcastle United. While, Reece Burke performed admirably whenever called to first team duty, but regardless has been continually loaned out to gain further experience; and Bilic also showed a real caution in calling up prolific U-23s striker, Toni Martinez, to the first team squad, even when injury and suspension decimated our available striker options.

New Hammers manager, David Moyes, has commented on the situation of young English talent failing to break through at PL level. He has expressed his admiration for the performance of the England U-17s, in winning the WC at their age range, and suggested that perhaps PL squads are too ‘cluttered’ and this is stopping youngsters making the break through. Moyes quickly followed this up by calling up a number of the U-23s to train with the first team squad and hinted heavily that they will get their opportunities under his managerial regime. Obviously, Declan Rice is reasonably well established now in the senior squad and others, such as Martinez, Samuelson and Holland, are pushing hard for inclusion. In addition, it is more than possible (considering his lack of game time in Germany) that Moyes could call Reece Oxford back from his loan deal in January and re-integrate the youngster back in to the senior squad.

Naturally, while we struggle, in and around the relegation zone, the emphasis will be upon experienced players lifting us clear of trouble. However, there is little doubt that, in the right circumstances, Moyes will give youngsters their big break. And that is the way that it should be at a club with West Ham’s long standing reputation for youth development. The hope is that we can pull away from trouble quickly and afford ourselves the opportunity to fully test the abilities of the likes of Martinez at first team level. Indeed, the opportunity for the Spanish goal poacher could even come, sooner rather than later, if Hernandez fails to recover from injury in time for the Watford match. With Carroll likely to start, then Martinez could possibly claim at least a place on the bench for this Sunday’s match.

Arguably, PL squads should benefit from having good quality youngsters performing well and pushing for first team places. It keeps the senior players on their toes and gives them the extra motivation to maintain their own standards. One of the problems at West Ham has been that regardless of how well a youngster is doing in the U-23s, or indeed in training, there was little chance that he would be promoted. The Academy needs to continue producing players that are going to lay claim to a first team place and add to the competitive mix of the squad.

Hopefully, Moyes understands that and will deliver on his promising early statements/actions relating to our U-23s. I certainly think that it will go a long way to getting Hammers fans to warm to Moyes if he is seen to be serious about developing the Academy and promoting players to first team duty.

SJ. Chandos.


Talking Point

Hammers Wembley trip at risk

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West Ham’s away trip to Wembley on New Year’s Eve to face Spurs is at risk!

We have learned today that London Underground want the game postponed because of the unavailability of drivers.

And we understand that TFL would like a permanent ban on all future Premier League matches in the capital on New Year’s Eve.

Tickets have yet to go on sale and the fixture remains in limbo awaiting final approval from Wembley’s Safety Advisory Board.

We understand London Underground are refusing to budge from current position despite the fixture having Premier League and police approval.

However, they have a history of brinkmanship on these issues but generally reach a compromise at the eleventh hour. Meeting are continuing in a bid to solve the problem.

A source close to West Ham indicated any issues would be dealt by the Spurs end rather than ours saying:

“The game has been confirmed by the Premier League although there were intense discussions with various parties before it was confirmed. However, The police have also confirmed. Spurs would have to sort out any issues if they are subsequently raised.”


Tony Hanna's Musings

Moyes first game and will he be a success?

Well, this week we begin another era of West Ham United football club’s history. David Moyes first game in charge away to Watford will be an interesting and very much anticipated affair. The two week period following the loss to Liverpool has given the new manager some extra time to settle in and start working with what is a somewhat depleted squad due to the International break. News coming out of Rush Green suggests the training has been a lot tougher and more intense than under Bilic’s reign and that the players are enjoying the extra work. If this is the case it will be interesting to see how many of the players currently away on International duty will make the first team this weekend given the limited time spent with the new regime? If as reported, Moyes has been working hard with the small group left at home, and they have taken to the new intensity and responded well to all that has been asked of them, it may be a hard call for any of them to be excluded from Moyes first team selection on Sunday? Guess that is why he is paid the big bucks though? Tough decisions already. Since Moyes appointment he has brought in Alan Irvine and Stuart Pearce to join Chris Woods as his assistants and in the last 24 hours has secured the services of Billy McKinlay who has quit his caretaker manager role at Sunderland. It is often muted that when a team sack their manager they more often than not win their next game under the new manager. Here’s fingers crossed that we can keep the tradition going.

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The reaction to David Moyes appointment on social media and fan site blogs was shall we say mixed at best. “Only option” and “cheap option” were some of the more regularly used phrases from fans expecting an appointment of perceived much greater current status. We will take the Moyes of Preston and Everton but you can keep the Moyes of his last three jobs pretty much summed up a lot of fans feelings. And it is that uncertainty of “which Moyes will we get” that disappoints some fans whilst a Silva, a Dyche or a Wagner would have them dancing in the streets. In the real World though, success is not guaranteed by any of those four names. If it was that easy you would not be seeing the constant hiring and firing of football managers where the average longevity in England in the same job is a little over a year. The Moyes of Everton was a great success and I think most would agree that the job at Manchester United was a dead set poison chalice. His results in Spain at Real Sociedad were mixed and make of what you will on his time at Sunderland.

Some fans welcomed the appointment, some just wanted Bilic gone, some didn’t want Bilic out and some just didn’t want Moyes. A week later and there has been a mellowing from most of those aligned to the latter scenarios. He has said all the right things in his press interviews and he has been open and honest about how he perceives this job. This is his last chance saloon because if he fails here you would have to think that he will never get another top flight job? He desperately wants another crack at the highest level and West Ham have given it to him. I read somewhere recently that he would have probably done the job for free. I wouldn’t go that far, but there again? Moyes is doing this job for himself as much as anything else, even more so than most other managers, and this is why we won’t get that attachment to the club that provided the great love affair with Slaven Bilic. He has no prior attachment or love of West Ham and whilst that may seem cold it could also be a good thing. Moyes desperately wants to succeed and he will want everything from his players with no excuses. “There will be no favours. If they don’t do the running, they’re not playing”.

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It seems even more apparent now that some players have not been putting in a decent shift. No Einstein stuff there but it will be interesting to see how much the yards run, the sprints and the pressing improves? One player who has shone in recent times is Andre Ayew, scoring goals and visibly putting in the effort. For me I would like to see him start against Watford whilst the likes of Antonio and Arnautovic should have to work their socks off to regain their places. I may be being hard on Antonio who may have been playing injured recently (indeed it looks like he will miss this weekend’s game due to injury), but his body language and facial expressions on the touchline when he was coming on as a substitute against Crystal Palace recently, lead me to think that he wasn’t that interested at all? Perhaps it was this lackadaisical mentality that led to his brain snap in the final seconds of that match? If the Ogbonna tweet “liking” a fans Bilic out comment is “fair dinkum” as we say in Australia, then you have to question his motives too and it will also be interesting to see if Sakho all of a sudden becomes like a new signing for Moyes? The likes of Carroll, Kouyate, Cresswell, Obiang, Hernandes and Fonte (who is now a long term injury) have all had very mixed performances this season. That may just be down to playing in a side where their team mates have been letting them down as much as a lack of their own motivation or a problem with Bilic? Whatever, it is now down to David Moyes to get this side up and running and playing like a unit again. It will be a huge task for him and I wish him all the best of luck. We are due some.

Anyway, on to the fun bit. How do YOU think a Moyes West Ham will perform this season? The best indicator will be our finishing position in the Premier League table come the end of the season? For me, I am going to be as optimistic as I can possibly be by predicting 14th. Post your final placing prediction on the comments section and I will take a look back at the end of the season and in my Tuesday article on the 15th May 2018 I will report back on how we all went. Sorry, no prizes but perhaps an accolade or two for the most accurate.


Guest Post

Champions Place Personalised Stones

Guest Post by Paul Christmas, WHUISA Chair

WHUISA are aware of a number of West Ham United supporters who have had difficulties with the service provided by the club over the Champions Place personalised stones, which cost between £60 and £499. If you have had problems with your order please can you let us know, via enquiries@whuisa.org:

The name of the person who placed the order
The date the order was placed
The order reference number
Details of your last communication from the club

We will then collate this information and try and get a handle on the scale of the situation. For example one member placed an order in April 2015 and is yet to hear if the stone has been installed.

Please send replies to enquiries@whuisa.org

WHUISA plans to raise the issue at a Supporters’ Advisory Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday 15th November.

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There will also be an open Committee meeting at the White Post Cafe in Schwartz Wharf (Building 4), 92 White Post Lane, London E9 5EN on Friday 24th November (before our home game against Leicester) starting at 5.30pm sharp. All are welcome to attend.

You can become a member of WHUISA by clicking here.

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