West Ham hands David Moyes another chance in Premier League
West Ham disregarded a string of failed coaching stints by David Moyes by hiring him as manager on a short-term contract Tuesday, gambling that his Premier League experience will get the team out of relegation trouble.
Moyes didn’t last a year at any of his previous three clubs — Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland — in a bruising period since 2013 that tarnished the reputation of a manager once regarded as among the best in British soccer.
His relative success at Everton from 2002-13 has persuaded West Ham to give Moyes another opportunity at the highest level, despite the likelihood of fan disgruntlement at the appointment.
He was handed an initial six-month contract and his chances of staying on as manager depends on keeping West Ham in the world’s most lucrative league.
The team is in third-to-last place after 11 games.
“I don’t know any manager who hasn’t gone through negative periods, especially in the game today,” Moyes said. “I hope it gives me great strength and understanding of what is required.”
The fact that the 54-year-old Moyes has taken charge of 499 games in the Premier League — only three managers have had more — counted in his favor as West Ham looked for a replacement for Slaven Bilic, who was fired Monday after 2 1/2 years in charge.
“We need somebody with experience, knowledge of the Premier League and the players in it, and we believe David is the right man to turn things around and get the best out of the players at the club,” West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan said. “He is highly regarded and respected within the game, and will bring fresh ideas, organization and enthusiasm.”
Those were qualities he couldn’t deliver at United or Sunderland, though.
After leaving Everton, Moyes lasted only 10 months as Alex Ferguson’s hand-picked replacement at United before getting fired. He was fired by Spanish team Real Socieded a day before completing a year in charge. Then came a 10-month spell at Sunderland, during which he failed to keep the team in top division. He resigned at the end of last season and was criticized for his negativity.
Moyes pointedly targeted West Ham’s supporters in a video message that presented him as manager.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them get right behind the team, and my team also,” Moyes said. “We need their support. We need everybody with us. It’s a big job we have in hand now but I’m sure with everybody together, we can get the right results between now and the end of the season.”
It could be a difficult introduction for Moyes, not even counting West Ham’s problems on the field.
One of his first tasks might be to get Javier Hernandez on his side. Moyes largely froze out the Mexico striker during his time at United, with Hernandez since accusing the Scottish coach of “not taking me into account.”
Then there’s his working relationship with managing director Karren Brady, who spoke out after Moyes was caught on microphone in April telling a female reporter that she “might get a slap” for the questions she asked during an interview.
“If it’s wrong to be a bit racist, it’s also wrong to be a bit sexist,” Brady said at the time.
Amid the ongoing debate about whether he has been rewarded for failure or if he deserves another chance because of his time at Everton, Moyes knows getting results on the field is the priority. His first game in charge — his 500th in the Premier League — will be against Watford after the international break.
Moyes must improve West Ham’s form at the Olympic Stadium, the team’s new home since leaving Upton Park at the end of the 2015-16 season.
West Ham has lost its last two home games in embarrassing fashion, against Brighton (3-0) and Liverpool (4-1). The team has been prone to collapsing after going behind — it has already lost by at least a three-goal margin on four occasions this season — and lacked any real identity under Bilic.
“I wanted a job that would give me a real good chance (of success),” Moyes said. “I wanted a big fan base, a big club, and West Ham fitted the bill.”
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80