David Moyes will meet with the West Ham board in May to discuss his progress. The Apprentice-like end of season review is fast becoming an annual tradition at the London Stadium. ‘The Apprentice’ aide Karen Brady, alongside Messrs Gold and Sullivan, will once again cast her critical eye over the performance of a self-assured yet weary candidate. Will David Moyes be hired, get his West Ham contract extension and succeed where so many of the TV hopefuls have failed?
Has David Moyes Earned a West Ham Contract Extension?
Moyes, not the most popular candidate, took over the role in November and was charged with project managing West Ham’s survival in the Premier League. It’s been a roller coaster process, sorry season, for the Scot. A key win against relegation rivals Southampton and a point at Chelsea, however, means the Hammers are all but safe. Survival could see Moyes ‘hired’. It may also restore some gloss to a CV that would have been laughed out of The Shard at the TV show’s infamous interview stage.
Moyes’ Best Bits
The manager’s successes this season have come where his predecessor failed. Slaven Bilic struggled to get the best out of the players he signed. Bilic also often found his side being hammered at home by the Premier League’s elite. Heavy defeats last season to Arsenal, Manchester City (twice) and Liverpool sent Irons fans streaming to the well-signed London Stadium exits. Bilic was then fired in November after another heavy home defeat to Liverpool. Moyes arrested this run in his first few weeks in charge with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea and a 0-0 draw with Arsenal.
The new boss has also impressed with his man-management. Subtle positional changes have got the best out of Bilic signings like Marko Arnautovic and Arthur Masuaku. The Austrian forward, given a more attacking role by Moyes, is three goals short of equalling the best league goals tally of his career. Masuaku, also given more creative freedom, has provided extra threat down the left. The Hammers only managed one win while the DR Congo international served a six-game suspension for spitting.
Moyes’ trump card, however, could just be the emergence of Declan Rice. West Ham fans take great pride in seeing young players come through the famous youth system. The Irish international has been given plenty of opportunities by Moyes. He’s also been careful not to heap too much pressure onto the shoulders of the talented youngster. Rice has been a key figure in the Hammer’s last few games. He’s visually grown into the role of the ball-playing centre back.
Can he Sell?
This is one of Karen Brady’s favourite questions on The Apprentice TV show. We’re not talking, however, about Moyes off-loading West Ham’s brightest talents. It’ll be his ability to sell the club to the Hammers top transfer targets that will ultimately decide if he sinks or swims with the Irons’ faithful. The fans’ expectations have been raised and demands for an improvement in summer recruitment will continue.
Can David Moyes persuade Champions League quality players to take up the challenge of propelling West Ham up the table? Can he sell a dream to a talented prospect looking to take his first steps in Premier League football? His record in an isolated, tricky January window this season was mixed. He picked up Joao Mario, a well-regarded but out of favour midfielder, on loan from Inter Milan. The unproven Jordan Hugill from Preston also arrived but has failed to make much of an impact.
Hire or Fire?
Moyes’ clear successes, where his predecessor failed, could earn him enough credit with the board to secure his West Ham contract extension. The fans, however, will be harder to please. Expectations remain high despite two successive seasons fighting relegation. If the Hammers survive, they are favourites to do so, Moyes may well avoid the black cab of shame. This summer’s World Cup, however, will lift the rock off a wealth of international talent and spark a transfer feeding frenzy. Moyes will be expected to be at the heart of the feast and his performance will ultimately decide how he is seen by the fans.