LONDON: David Moyes cannot afford any more failures. His appointment as new manager of West Ham in place of sacked Slaven Bilic after the 4-1 weekend beating at home by Liverpool was both a move of desperation by the club and a last chance for the 54-year-old Scot.
Moyes worked solidly for 11 years at Everton but he failed the acid test of stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes at Manchester United, lasted only 12 months in Spain at Real Sociedad then failed last season to save Sunderland from relegation.
It says everything about the uncertainty which now hovers over Moyes that he has been given only a six-month contract. His managerial qualities are on trial, particularly since owners David Sullivan and David Gold have told him that he cannot splash out on new players in the January transfer window.
The owners and high-profile executive vice-chairman Karren Brady believe their existing players are good enough to finish in the top half of the Premier League.
West Ham expended more than £40m on new players last summer as well as signing Joe Hart on loan from Manchester City on wages of £100,000-a-week. The board believes they should be far higher up the table than third from bottom where they landed under Bilic.
Moyes is so desperate to rebuild his battered reputation that he has accepted all these strictures.
He said: “It’s only been at Sunderland where I feel it wasn’t a good move and I didn’t enjoy the experience so I’m hungry to make sure I get things right now.
“I don’t know any manager who hasn’t gone through negative periods, especially in the game today. I hope it gives me great strength and understanding of what is required. The focus here is purely between now and the end of the season. The first thing is to win the next game [at Watford on Sunday week], build from there, and I’m sure we will be in a much stronger position before long.
“I’ve managed some really great clubs and I wanted a job that would give me a real good chance – a club with a big fan base – and West Ham fitted the bill. I am looking forward to it.”
Moyes will receive a £2m bonus if he avoids relegation which would also represent a double success in the face of unrest among many fans who consider him an uninspiring choice.
His immediate task on the training ground is to tighten up defence. Hammers have the worst defensive record in the league, having conceded 23 goals in 11 games.
He will also have to find the ‘secret recipe’ to turn the former London Olympic Stadium into a fortress. Too many visiting teams found Bilic’s team far too passive and welcoming, hence three defeats in five home games.
Moyes’s first home game is against Leicester City on November 24 followed by a return to Goodison Park at the end of the month.
Everton themselves have yet to appoint a new manager after sacking Ronald Koeman. Caretaker David Unsworth has made no secret of his ambition but one win in four games is hardly a recommendation. He may benefit from the fact that few big-name candidates are out of work and available right now.
The same applies to West Bromwich and Swansea where poor results have raised questions about Tony Pulic and Paul Clement. All will breathe a sigh of relief if they survive until the middle of next week.