End of an era: David Moyes prepares to say goodbye to the stadium he reassured

<span>David Moyes is back <a class=West Ham at a difficult time, but made fans fall in love with the club again.Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/1Dop9d0fesqtLcbrNkbyzg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/5466f1eec1ec28668b5c dbab6a7eb69f” data-src= “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/1Dop9d0fesqtLcbrNkbyzg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/5466f1eec1ec28668b5cdbab6a 7eb69f”/>

David Moyes is the man who made West Ham fans fall in love with their club again. We should not forget that the mood was toxic when he was brought back on a rescue mission in December 2019. Anger over the move to the London Stadium had not dissipated, an underperforming, uncommitted side was in another relegation battle and supporters were organizing angry protests against the club’s unpopular ownership before home games.

Four and a half years later, the atmosphere is different. European football has come to Stratford and West Ham is, as is ironically said, huge.

Things have of course turned sour: last week’s 5-0 defeat to Chelsea was the signal for West Ham to confirm that the Scot will leave at the end of the season. Still, this is not the time to focus on the negatives. The clarity about the situation has created space for people to remember the good times. Complaints about the quality of football and grumbling about a run of four wins in all competitions by 2024 can be put aside when Moyes takes charge of his final West Ham home game on Saturday afternoon.

There will be recognition that Julen Lopetegui, who takes over this summer, will do well to come anywhere close to his predecessor’s achievements. There is nothing hyperbolic about the claim that Lopetegui is replacing a club legend. Ron Greenwood and John Lyall finally have company. Moyes ensured that when he led West Ham to their first major silverware in 43 years last season.

Preston North End 1998-2002

Moyes led the club to the Division Two title in 1999/2000 and the Division One play-off final. After he left, Preston muddled around in mid-table until another Scot, Billy Davies, revived them as play-off contenders and came close to promotion in 2005 and 2006.

Everton 2002-2013

He brought the club close to the Champions League during his time at Goodison Park. Everton finished fifth under Roberto Martínez in the season following Moyes’ departure to Manchester United. Since then, the Toffees have struggled to get anywhere near Europe’s premier competition.

Manchester United 2013-2014

Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a difficult job. The champions dropped to seventh place and Moyes was sacked in April when the chance of qualifying for the Champions League disappeared. Leaving aside the questions of playing style and signings, Louis Van Gaal’s faith in the youth led United to fourth place the following season.

Real Sociedad 2014-2015

He took over the Sociedad side who had emerged from the relegation zone a day earlier with a 2-1 home win over champions Atletico Madrid and eventually finished twelfth in La Liga that season. The Scot was sacked in November 2015 after a poor start to the following season. The Basque side have since become perennial contenders for Europe over the past decade, with Moyes’ successors, Eusebio Sacristán and now Imanol Alguacil, making them one of the best of the rest.

Sunderland 2016-2017

Having built a well-deserved reputation as a steady hand during his career, Moyes had to deal with the ignominy of the first relegation on his CV at the Wearside club. Perhaps the clearest example of ‘the grass isn’t always greener’: after he resigned in May 2017, Sunderland finished at rock bottom in the Championship the following season and subsequently struggled with various off-field issues as they finished between the third and second place bounced. Second row.

West Ham United 2017-2018

Following the dismissal of Slaven Bilic in November 2017, he took over as the club in the relegation zone, leading them to safety and finishing 13th. His replacement, Manuel Pellegrini, led West Ham to 10th place the following season, but then had a much more difficult task in managing expectations as he was entrusted with significant funds. He was sacked in December 2019 with West Ham fourth from bottom, a point clear of the drop zone. Morgan Ofori

However, his place in the club’s history is not just about that victory in the Europa Conference League final. Beating Fiorentina was fantastic, Moyes’ strike down the touchline after Jarrod Bowen’s last-minute winner was an iconic image, but so was the journey. “My goodness, it was unbelievable that we went from a team fighting at the bottom of the league to sixth place,” Moyes said on Friday as he prepared to face Luton. “The players over the years have done a fantastic job.”

The 61-year-old was in a relaxed mood. There were no complaints about the manner of his departure. He said this was the right decision for both parties. He talked about a long time away from his family, who still live in the north, and explained that his batteries were empty after three years of European football. “I’m pretty beat up,” Moyes said.

Could he have continued? This is a natural ending. The disappointment is that West Ham have not sustained their push for a new top six place. Moyes is “irritated” that his team has failed a few times this season.

But the predominant emotion is pride. Proud of sixth and seventh place. Proud of reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2022. Proud of the trophy. Proud of injuring all the big teams in the Premier League. Above all, proud of leading a group that would normally give everything. “You don’t run, you don’t play,” was Moyes’s well-known refrain. Fans want entertainment; they also want to see a team play for the shirt.

“I think I’m actually quite shy behind all this,” he said when asked if he planned to make a big speech to the crowd after the Luton match. Suddenly, in what looked suspiciously like a Jürgen Klopp impression, he did a sort of fist pump. “It’s not my style, to be honest,” Moyes said. I’m not that kind of manager. Sometimes I wish I was. It might be a bit sexier. Maybe I should get my teeth bigger.”

Moyes leaves it to others to summarize his work. He’s not perfect, but he is undoubtedly West Ham’s best manager of the Premier League era. When it comes to moments, it’s hard to know where to start. He has often cited Andriy Yarmolenko’s last-minute winner against Chelsea during Project Restart as a turning point for West Ham, who were battling relegation. But he also mentions Michail Antonio scoring four against Norwich as a fond memory. He spoke about securing sixth place by beating Southampton when the crowds returned in 2021.

West Ham embraced Europe under Moyes, who saw Aston Villa fail to match his feat of winning the Conference League. The London Stadium was deafening when West Ham defeated Lopetegui’s Sevilla in the last 16 of the Europa League in 2022. They continued to defy expectations and won 3-0 in Lyon in the next round.

Craig Dawson scored the opener that evening. The centre-back was one of many old-school players lifted up by Moyes. He took Bowen out of the Championship and made him an England international. He turned Declan Rice into a £100million player and found value in Czech internationals Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal. He briefly rekindled Jesse Lingard’s spark and helped Pablo Fornals establish himself in England.

There was the emotion of Yarmolenko, who was given compassionate leave after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and returned to score the winner against Villa. It was unlikely that you would come close to qualifying for the Champions League with a squad consisting of one striker and Fabián Balbuena, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks and Arthur Masuaku.

However, under Moyes, West Ham won the games they should not have won. They fought, destroyed and made the fans feel again. It was a blessing for the board, which no longer hears people complaining about the stadium. Moyes brought stability to a previously dysfunctional club and created a disillusioned fanbase. “As a manager you have to set expectations,” he said. “That’s part of your job: coming in and giving supporters something they may not have achieved before.”

Leave a Comment