Tony Hanna's Musings
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.
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”.
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.