Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Fortunes Always Hiding: The Moyes reappointment and the West Ham Way

Posted on 30 December 2019 by Alex Bartlett

Sometimes brilliant. Sometimes shameful. Mostly mediocre. The West Ham Way.

Fans had no problem with this.  They knew how it went.

The Hammers would produce spectacular results against the best and then falter against teams they should be beating.

One year they may have a good year and finish towards the top seven and one year they may be closer to the relegation places.

It has been like this for most of the club’s 123 year history.

So why after all those years of knowing how the land lies is the appointment of David Moyes, for a second time, the sign of how far this club has distanced itself from its identity.

January 2010. The start of a new decade and for West Ham United Football Club a new hope.

After the fall of the Icealandic consortium to bankruptcy the club was in millions of pounds of debt. Enter David Sullivan and David Gold the former Birmingham City owners.

Yes West Ham were relegated in the pairs first full season but this was surely a reflection on the previous ownership and not a preview of times to come.

The pair appointed Sam Allardyce and successfully bounced straight back to the Premier League beating Blackpool 2-1 in the playoff final.

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The ship had been successfully steadied and supporters were on board.

It was midway through their Championship campaign under Allardyce that the announcement came. West Ham had beaten out rivals Tottenham Hotspur to move into the Olympic Stadium to carry on its legacy in the years after London 2012.

Initially the move was met with mixed reviews. The club would be moving from their home and fortress since 1904, Upton Park, but with the promise of greater days ahead.

This seemed the opinion among most, the move was a sad one but one that the club needed to bridge the gap to the world’s biggest clubs.

The year before the move was glittered with emotion and at time scintilating football. West Ham beat Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool (twice) that season and secured European football by finishing seventh. What a send off!

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In Dimitri Payet they had a truly world class player to move into their shiny new home in Stratford and the future appeared bright.

Before the move David Gold was quoted in a Q&A with the Evening standard saying:

“I would be disappointed if we don’t join the so-called top six within the next five years. We know the fan base is there and it will grow when we move [to the Olympic Stadium].”

Now four and a half years into the move the club are about to appoint the very manager they deemed “not good enough” for a contract extension only 18 months earlier.

The same man was in charge on 10 March 2018 when crowd protests both on the pitch and towards the owners took place during a 3-0 defeat to Burnley.

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A manager who since he left West Ham has not found work with any other Premier League club. Only at West Ham. Rather than joining the world’s elite have they ever been further away?

The club does this whilst currently sat in 17th place in the premier league. Are the owners to blame?

On the outside it is easy to say they appointed a Premier League and La Liga winning manager and backed him with money.

During Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure Felipe Anderson (£40 million), Sebastien Haller (£45 million), Issa Diop (£25 million) and Pablo Fornals (£25 million) all came to the club and it appeared the board were finally putting their money where there mouths were.

The harsh reality is for all the incomings there were outgoings and bar the 2018 summer transfer window the net spend has rarely been significant and mostly been negative.  Failure to replace players time and time again has left an imbalanced squad.

But still the manager should take a large chunk of the blame for this current failure, more so than his predecessors Slaven Billic and yes, David Moyes.

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And now just hours after Manuel Pellegrini became the sixth manager to depart under this ownership, their latest move has sent shockwaves through the fan base.

It is almost unfathomable that it has happened.

To Moyes’ credit he would not necessarily be the worst to handle this situation, but for what has come before and what has been promised this is what hammers fans find unforgivable.

Even though he successfully kept the club up during his tenure the club lost 4-1 to Liverpool twice, Arsenal, Man City and Swansea as well as losing 4-0 to Everton, 3-1 to Brighton and 3-0 to Burnley.

The little hope for fans now is that Moyes can spark a revival in the form of star players Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller in the same way he did Marko Arnautavic last time.

Whatever happens the appointment of Moyes shows that West Ham are buried into mediocrity. They no longer have their home to go with it.

The West Ham of Upton Park is West Ham. The Boleyn Pub. The statue of Bobby Moore just off the Barking Road, Nathan’s Pie and Mash and of course the fortress – the chicken run, none like it in all of football.

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That West Ham is gone and that has never been more apparent than now.

Hammers fans would be settling for all this chaos and mediocrity if they still had their soul.

The reappointment of Moyes marks the point of no return with these owners for many of those loyal fans.

West Ham will always be West Ham but its current self is so far away from the DNA of the club and for most fans this will not change until their is a change at the very top.