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So hard to say sorry?


Filed: Thursday, 10th May 2018
By: Paul Walker


Iíve come round to thinking that David Moyes deserves an apology for the way he has been treated at our club.

In the week since we avoided relegation thanks to arguably our best away display of the season at Leicester, the torrent of abuse from the Twitter toads has continued unabated, to the point when you start to think you must be the only soul on the planet who thinks Moyes has done a half-decent job.

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Not brilliant, not stunning flowing football, but he has just put a cheque for around £120m into David SullivanĎs back pocket, and you would still think he is the most disliked man around, not a hint of thanks, of gratitude or relief that we are not on the point of financial meltdown.

David Gold, we know because he did it in front of a half dozen journalists in the tunnel at Leicester, sought out Moyes and congratulated him on the job well done. Since then nothing. Not a word on the official website from Sullivan. He doesnít have to give him a job, just say thanks because the world would be a much different place now had we followed Stoke and West Brom into the abyss.

When you have as much time to waste as I do now, you read every word from fans' forums and bloggers' websites, and in the end it gets on top of you. I started, tentatively this week, to answer back a bit.

Not a lot, because that just opens you up to a tirade of abuse yourself. But I soon realised that I had just scratched the surface, because out of the woodwork came plenty of folk who agreed that Moyes was not the anti-Christ he was being portrayed as .By the end of just one day I had fielded hundreds of posts in a similar vein.

No he is not Pep Guardiola, not the purveyor of brilliant football. But then he hasnít spent £400m in two transfer windows. So itís not likely to be the Beautiful Game at our place, is it?

But then when he arrived in November he wasnít told to change the world, just save us from the drop. Nine points then and in the bottom three, few thought he could do it. But with two games left we were safe.

But he still grates on many, and I can see why. Too defensive, too bland, too negative. No flair. Old school, the game had passed him by, we kept being told.

But by whom? The abuse was all over my phone before I even got home on Saturday. I worked out between Birmingham and Wolverhampton on the train that we were safe when Evertonís equaliser went in. It did take many a few more hours, even days, to work out that Southampton and Swansea were playing each other and one of them could not get above us.

I celebrated with one of those overpriced warm gin and tonics in a can that trains serve up, but still the Moyes out, sack (Mark) Noble, brigade were at it. How many of them had seen the match remains to be ascertained.

These days our lives seem to be ruled by the mob, the ones with 50-word vocabularies of words that they canít spell. And, it seems, our Board are listening to them, being swayed by their decisions.

Now we can argue all those points fairly, but he was not told he had to stride the touchline in Pepís beautifully co-ordinated designer gear.

Not for him shopping at Oi Poloi, the trendy Manchester shop that flogs Pep all that Stone Island stuff (with the infamous badge taken off, naturally, sorry ICF) or the Dsqquqared shop where Manchester City players have accounts. (Go, on, youíre impressed I know all this, arenít you?ÖI just have a son who does!)

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Moyes looks like he has been dressed at Man at C&A. He never has been sharp or trendy, just not in his nature, maybe if he had Pepís money and team he would try.

The point being is he doesnít. He took over a dysfunctional, disinterested, unworkable squad, unbalanced, frequently injured and just not good enough. He was a bit shop-soiled himself, confidence battered, and he needed the job and his confidence back. Somehow he has got us to this stage.

Yes, he can sometimes look indecisive, but he has been trying to knock into shape a disorganised rabble who are capable of listening and producing a solid performance one game but forgetting everything they have been told the next. ďWhere did that come from?Ē Moyes once pronounced. Nobody knows, but the players made Moyes look bad. West Ham then were unfit and ill-disciplined, but heís taken on Michail Antonio and then Andy Carroll.

And no, I am not that bothered by all the talk about style and tactics. Any manager can coach whatever system you want given the right tools. Big Sam had Gary Speed, Nicholas Anelka and Jay Jay Okocha at Bolton and they were very entertaining then.

The Board, we heard were impressed by this and his hard work, scouting diligence and organisation for a potential new season. Someone had seemingly told him that if he saved us there would be a new contract.

That may have been only verbal, and Moyes will get £1m-plus for keeping us up. Small change from £120m, though. And a few weeks ago after the Chelsea away draw, the club were happy for the belief there was going to be a two-year contract for Moyes to gather credibility.

But then, of course, Moyes has had to endure the briefings from inside the club against him, as well as the shocking leaking of information from the training ground. The Board, we are told, have got the hump about this and have taken it as a slight on them. Good. If the cap fits, my old fella used to say, wear it.

It got so bad that experienced and respected journo Jacob Steinberg, a West Ham fan, from the Guardian was on Twitter slamming the "disingenuous PR campaign against Moyes" from inside the club, branding it "truly pathetic".

And heís right. Someone seemed to be testing the ground, searching for fans' opinions. And all this was coming ahead of the crucial Leicester game. You couldnít make it up sometimesÖ well, you donít have to at West Ham, such is the culture of such behaviour.

Whatever decision our board now make, I would plead with them to take no account of fansí polls, twitter campaigns, social media in any form. You should know more about this job than any of us do, you have had two decades doing it.

Fans are entitled to their opinions. Even when they are ill-informed. Thatís just the nature of football. But you should know more. If you have to make a decision fans donít like, so be it.

I bet Arsenal are not holding polls and twitter debates with their fans about Arsene Wengerís replacement, and I doubt Roman Abramovic gives the old boys from the Headhunters a call when he is replacing a manager. But of course Sullivan did ring the ICF for help, so anything is possible I suppose.

The point of issue this week is that Moyes has been blamed for the January transfer window shambles. Good grief. Now he took over on November 7, thatís just 55 days before the window opened.

He was not given any real cash to spend, but saw three strikers, Toni Martinez (on loan), Diafra Sakho (£8m) and Andre Ayew (£18m) sold from under his feet in the last few days of the window.

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With peanuts to spend he saw the Islam Slimani deal collapse overnight because of her Ladyshipís daft column, and he had to find a body from somewhere at the last minute to make up numbers. Searching in the Championship was all he could manage, hence the arrival of Jordan Hugill.

A week before the window shut, Arthur Masuaku managed to get himself banned for six games and we didnít have a hint of a left back cover in the club. Patrice Evra was about all that was available. And then we sold Jose Fonte outside the window because Sullivan no doubt felt that £5m was the best he could get, and then Winston Reid and James Collins got injured, again.

And this is all Moyesí fault? Maybe someone could tell us exactly how much he had to spend and what deals had collapsed because he was dithering. But to blame him for January is a disgrace.

So now we have a new scenario. The transfer window opens on May 17 and closes on August 7, thatís a few days before the Premier League season starts on August 11. Eighty-odd days to dismantle one squad of failures and buy new blood.

And the club still do not have a new head of recruitment (or whatever itís called), they lack scouting staff, an idea of what can be spent and any progress on the raft of improvements they have promised various fansí group. Not a day to lose then, as Tony Gale pointed out, straight-faced on Sky this week.

But, of course, thereís a list of managerial names we are looking at. Some are laughable, hugely expensive and would want £150m to spend minimum. Next level managers that are beyond us financial, certainly in wages.

Thereís a group that will be gambles, however you look at it. Alan Sugar used to call the foreign hopefuls ĎCarlos Kickaballs.Ď I suppose we are looking at a list of íMario Coachaballsí now are we? Sean Dyche will want to stay at Burnley now he is entrenched and in Europe, Eddie Howe has looked out of his comfort zone when he leaves Bournemouth. A real gamble that.

Thereís Slavisa Jokanovic at Fulham, a good shout maybe. But thereís no Premier League experience for this product of Jordi Cruyffís coaching school in Israel, where his famous fatherĎs football beliefs are being taught.

Slavisa took Watford into the top flight, but never stayed. Then we have another former Watford man, Marco Silva, who took Hull down. He got the hump when he was tapped up by Everton and not allowed to leave. A gamble? Too right.

So unless Sullivan and Gold can pull a glittering rabbit from the hat in the next week or so, they may be left with Moyes.

But then Moyes knows his worth again now. He is held in far higher esteem in the football world, in particular the coaching and managerial world, than he seemingly is at West Ham. They never doubted his knowledge, experience or talent but wanted to see whether he had lost his nerve or not.

The way he breezed into Stratford and stamped authority of our rabble soon dispelled that. Now he has other offers waiting. One is at Stoke.

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Interestingly, Steinberg alluded to this in his article this week. It, I say a little smugly, confirms an article I wrote on KUMB a few months back when I said that Moyes had been approached by a northern club.

That information came from a friend and former international I had a chance meeting with on a railway platform. I decided not to name the club then, but it was true and they are still very interested.

But Moyes has now cleverly put the ball back in the court of our Board, asking what their ambition is and how much money they are prepared to give him to carry out the detailed transfer plans he and Alan Irvine have already got in place.

Any potential new manager would ask the same thing of our leaders. So itís down to them. Will you spend big to give a manager the chance to compete for a top eight position, or will you carry on with the same discredited policy you have in place now, and having said you will change the whole thing from top to bottom.

Up to you Mr. Sullivan. If you want another season of discontent then keep going the way you are. If you want a steady hand to run the show, then Moyes looks about the best available. But donít take too long, time is ticking. And you still havenít said thank you.


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.







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