Part of the reason Slaven Bilic was sacked by West Ham, was the losing of the dressing room. Tied in to the fact the team was suffering from his style of play, training and tactics. So, when David Moyes came in, he was touted to the world as a safe approach who would get the team fit again and get us safe, possibly even to mid-table. Almost six months later, West Ham sit just three points off the bottom three, have conceded the most goals with 67 and have let in three or more goals in 9 games, including back to back hammerings. The manager with the worst win ratio in the club’s history is apparently doing enough to impress the owners for him to get a three-year deal. My question is, what has he done to deserve it?

One mauling of a very poor Southampton aside, Moyes has shown us nothing to ease our fears in this season or next season if we somehow stay up. He has rigidly stuck to playing five at the back (with Aaron Cresswell as a centre-back) despite the side haemorrhaging goals. He has seen us struggle to score against a Stoke side almost as bad defensively as us. It’s the refusal to change or bring in a recognised striker that is annoying the fans. That Stoke game was crying out for us to just go for it, but instead, we stuck to the same old tactics that worked in one game for 45 minutes.

Our club feels like its rotten. Reports are starting to come out that the players have clashed with Moyes about his tactics and substitutions. Andy Carroll was sent home from training after an argument, Pablo Zabaleta had to come to Manuel Lanzini’s aid when he was called out for not being defensive enough and, the most shocking, James Collins, the ginger Pele himself, has no idea whether or not he will have a job in a few months time. One of the most loyal, important players a dressing room needs is being treated like something on the bottom of someone’s shoe by the board. It’s a common courtesy, not just a professional one, to let someone know whether they are staying or going. But, as seen over the last few years, when have our board ever begun to show common decency towards anyone?

I’d dearly love to know what exactly it is that the board thinks Moyes has done to deserve a renewed contract? Yes, the players are fitter. But apart from that, the football he has produced has been horrendous. Alan Shearer recently said that West Ham fans shouldn’t expect to be winning games with free-flowing football. That would be acceptable, if we were winning games. It would be acceptable if we actually showed some effort at home to Man City, instead of afterwards saying “oh well, they’re a good team, so what did you expect?” It really begs the question as to why Moyes would play Lanzini against City, if he just wanted people to defend.

We have had to put up with everyone at the club pointing fingers and shouldering none of the blame. Moyes threw Rice under the bus instead of trying help him learn. The board, management and some times even the players have tried blaming the fans when things were going wrong. The fans stepped up and backed the team and the team have still failed to produce, leading to them finally saying something to Moyes about his tactics. Which is all well and good but it throws up a realisation in my mind. Most the squad have been here for three different managers and everyone of them has downed tools and stopped playing for those managers. Allardyce, Bilic and now Moyes have all encountered the same problems. Yes, the board are liars. As much as they want to try and ease those claims with PR spin, they are liars. But the players have to take a huge look at themselves. Most of them don’t care anymore. Some have just given up. What is going to stop Arnautovic wanting to leave in the summer, because of not wanting to be involved in a farce? It has come to the stage now where it feels like a massive overhaul is needed.

Our squad is old and creaking and seriously lacking in depth. The board, for what ever reason, pulled a Donald Trump and claimed to have never said they would hire a director of football. Despite the club’s own website having the quote from them saying it. So, David Moyes will be in charge of finding the targets and trying to get them to the club. But, I’m willing to bet, David Sullivan will still find a way to stick his oar in and not spend a lot of money. Don’t forget, Hart and almost definitely Mario will return to their clubs, so we are already two players short for next year. We have supposedly ‘saved’ money from failed deals for Lacazette, Bacca, Carvalho, Dendoncker, Smolov and a host of other names. Add on to that, the profit made from transfers, where has all the money gone? Sullivan said that agent fees were the issue. Because we are apparently the only club that has to pay agent’s fees. Obviously.

So, if we do stay up, expect exactly same next season. Broken promises, disheartened players and fans and animosity at the board. We play Leicester next. They just lost 5-0 to Palace. So, expect Moyes to play five at the back with no striker. Because what’s the point in attacking a team that’s just been hammered? The only difference is, Leicester will change their team after a performance like that. Whereas we have just kept the same way of playing because the stats look good. The end of this season can’t come soon enough. And next season most likely. If Moyes picks the same team again this weekend, I won’t bother finding out the score until the final whistle. And I will fully expect it to be another hammering.

The players, board, fans and management are all as divided as I can ever remember. What could possibly go wrong?


By Stephen Barrows |

Jon Pope

By Jon Pope

Use to sit in the BML for 10 years, been a West Ham fan all my life, and my great grandfather was a founder member of the TIW. I also help run the Hammer Chat website.

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