David Moyes will become just the fourth manager in Premier League history to take charge of his 500th game this weekend, and he’ll need to make it a good start in his new role at West Ham.
When you look at his achievements at Everton you would have to say he did an amazing job. He was at the club for just over a decade and achieved five top-six finishes, and when they had a bad season he would get them out of the relegation battle with his disciplined way of working.
I remember going to Everton knowing the team would give you a hard time and would never be easy to beat. They would play like the Germans do – it ain’t over ’til the final whistle!
But I think when he became the coach that got them into Europe the club kept believing he was the man to take them to the next level. And then there came the big move to Man Utd. That was a different show. He was required to work with better players and had more sources to tap into to bring in the players he needed and wanted. He was offered a four-year contract but in the end it was a short spell when he was sacked after 8 months.
Now fast forward and he’s at West Ham, a team that is known for consistently producing great talents like Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole. The club has changed over the years with a new owner and new stadium, and they displayed some great football at times under Bilic, but it wasn’t enough. He had the best points per game ratio of any West Ham manager in the Premier League, but after a string of poor results the club wanted more, and they made sure everyone knew it by showing him the door.
I do understand the club want bigger things and will do whatever it takes, but appointing David Moyes wasn’t the answer the fans wanted. I’m also not sure he is the man. He’s the kind of manager that has the experience to keep your club safe, but can he take them to that next level the club clearly strives for? Can he make Europe a normality so you can push on to greater things? I’m not sure. West Ham was one of the most competitive teams in the league but now they are falling behind their London rivals like Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
They want more, so David prove the doubters wrong, because I have my doubts too.
West Ham moved out of their home of 112 years in May, with what was described as the deal of the century. But fans might be feeling far from home at the London Stadium after the problems they’ve been having.
On Saturday the Hammers were beaten 4-2 by Watford, and that was the least concern for some supporters. Fans described the new stadium as a horrible place to be on Saturday with fighting breaking out in the stands, arguments between fans and stewards about not being allowed to stand up, and complaints that seats are too far away from the pitch or don’t have a good view of the action.
Many fans took to social media about their frustrations and some complained that there was no atmosphere. Upton Park was never an easy ground to play out for any Chelsea player. Even when I wasn’t at Chelsea, I still would live the game like a derby because the fans would always make me feel like it was one with the chanting and abuse. They would never forget that I was a blue. A part of me loves the abuse because it makes you want to win even more as a player.
The pitch at the London Stadium also seems to be much bigger than Upton Park’s, and West Ham might have to adjust their game a little to compensate. But West Ham have got time to sort out all their problems, and history shows that new stadiums can be a complete success.
Stoke City moved into the Britannia in the late 90’s, and it became one of the loudest and most intimidating grounds in the country, while on the field Stoke became a Premier League regular. Leicester City also moved into their new stadium a few years later, and had lows of relegation to league one, followed by the highs of lifting the Premier League last season.
Hull City have also risen from league 2 to the Premier League in their new KC stadium, while Man City have had their most successful period in the club’s history since moving to the Etihad. It’s hard to imagine City would have attracted their current owners if they had stayed at Maine Road.
It’s been a turbulent move so far for West Ham, but fans should be optimistic about the future of their new home and the atmosphere will only improve as fans settle in. And the bubble machines are still doing their job!