Whenever being defeated becomes better than blaming those with entwined hands, it is as natural as a vote of confidence prior to impending severing of ties.
We fans will be looking around, searching for culprits, identifying reasons and narrowing in on the minutia of when the season spiralled out of control. We may indeed get relegated, we may survive by the skin of our teeth or we may rise up to the heavenly heights of eleventh or thirteenth, but we will want answers and many will be pointing in the wrong direction.
West Ham United failed to build upon the last season at Upton Park that was an outstanding success in comparative terms. The owners distracted us with the move to the London Stadium, have made many mistakes and have been complicit in failing to communicate effectively to the fans and appease the dissenting voices.
However, the one area in which we have failed with inglorious effect is in the transfer markets. To bring in new talents that would reinforce our ranks, to make us contenders for European holidays and to make us appealing for global footballing kickers and would-be investors.
The owners failed to fully support a faltering manager in Bilic and have failed Moyes in the transfer window and with any kind of commitment to a long term contract. I give Moyes a tremendous amount of credit for the work he has done so far in difficult circumstances, to rally the troops, to draw a line in the sand and get the players organised and ready for the fight. But is it good enough for us as fans and will it be good enough for the owners come this summer?
I have been full of praise and criticism regarding Moyes since he has taken the reins. He has impressed and depressed in equal measure but overall he has smoothed out the wobbles and has attempted to move beyond his defensive formations, unfortunately with little success.
This failure to improve our offensive play on a consistent basis is not for the want of trying, although some tactical formations, player selections and substitution timings have raised many eyebrows amongst the loyal fanbase.
I called for regular youth exposure in many games, but he has favoured many of the stalwarts even when they failed to impress with alarming regularity. He did not give equal opportunity and credence to the cup ties that we should have been more resilient in and had a realistic opportunity to progress further. Many of the youth players were thrown in at the deep end all together to show their worth and they failed to impress, failed to stake a claim and got caught in the headlights like Hazel, Dandelion and Bigwig were as the Watership Down bunnies who suffered the same indignity.
Moyes has had to contend with too many extraneous problems that other managers would not be burdened with. A squad that needed dressing down and up again, a fanbase that needed convincing, players that needed discipline and employers that were all too willing to throw in numerous PR curve balls that would make any man want to duck for cover. However, he has held his head high, has been frank with his appraisals of our performances and has committed himself to ensure our Premiership survival.
The facts remains that regardless of the unfathomable injury list that he has had forced upon him, he has been unable to find a solution that would make us entertaining to watch and give us confidence to take the fight into the heart of any opponents. The players have not been able to give him confidence to explore many other tactics and formations. On the rare occasions when a change was possible, the players did not perform again, forcing a reversion to the default position.
We must not forget that Moyes’ mandate was to stop the rot and ensure we stay in the league and so far he is succeeding in that quest. However, there have been so many disappointments along the way that is it difficult to see the wood for the trees at times. We failed in both cups when we could have built on a winning momentum, we have failed to shine at the London Stadium, even letting teams gain the upper hand at times. We have failed to control possession which has put undue pressure onto our vulnerable defences and ultimately we have not unlocked the key to creative and forward offensive play.
We have lost, we have drawn a few and won little since Moyes and his coaching team have taken charge. We have been more organised and more difficult to beat in comparison to the Bilic era. However, we have not been dominant in any game apart from Huddersfield and we have limped over the line on too many occasions. We have been winning and drawing ugly for too long! We need to start winning and drawing with some style and swagger. We need a beautiful game to emerge, we need attractive attacking football that excites the fans, unites the club and endears Moyes to the owners.
Many questioned his appointment in the first place and many asked whether Moyes was the appropriate talisman for our supposed ambitions. However, he has given us something so far that we were more desperate for, some kind of order in an ongoing chaos.
The question remains whether in the summer he will be given an extension to his contract and if indeed this brand of football is what we need to go forward. We either survive or fall, but he still may be the best option going forward. Or we reach summer, take a deep breath and take stock again. We wait to decide which direction our football must move in and ultimately who is the right person for the job.
When Moyes was appointed, we were led to believe he was the right choice for the task at hand, but he wasn’t the only choice and he wasn’t the best option for adventurous football either. In spite of this, he also was one of the few managers who was available at the time who would be willing to take a risk with his reputation on West Ham and the current owners; it seemed that he was the right fit for both parties although it might not have been the perfect fit for the fans.
I, like many of the supporting contingent, would like to see Moyes given the opportunity to expand his repertoire with West Ham but the clincher will be whether the ownership will have faith in him and, more importantly, whether they will have enough faith to fully support him in the summer transfer window. If that isn’t the case, then Moyes should look for employment elsewhere where his talents would be appreciated and supported more.
If we are looking to change direction, swap managers and lead with our ambitions then should we be looking any further than Marco Silva who was unceremoniously ejected out of Watford who were sitting in 10th position in the league? He certainly brought a creativity to Watford that they had lacked for some time and had been performing well up until Everton made their approaches, which allegedly distracted Silva from the main task at hand.
If the owners do intend to fully commit to our club and display an adventurous spirit, then they could do a lot worse than Silva, but not much better than Moyes either. There is no guarantee of success with either selection but there might just be a chance that the entertainment factor could return to the London Stadium which we have been starved of since our occupancy.
In Moyes I trust… for now. But there could be a silver lining for Marco Silva if West Ham deem he is the right man for the job. He has the talent, he has the youthful drive, passion and notably he has premiership experience both with a Hull City relegation fight and a high flying Watford, albeit for a limited time only. He may well be the answer we’ve been looking for but his success will ultimately be determined by tangible support he would gain from the club ownership and the funds made available to affect permanent change.