Redemption, vindication, reinvention – call it what you want but the 18 months in the football wilderness between David Moyes’s two spells at West Ham United were eye-opening for the man and the club.
Moyes has been dubbed the Moyesiah thanks to the minor miracle he has been working at West Ham since he returned to the club in January 2020.
The Scot was very much seen as yesterday’s man after spells at Manchester United, Sunderland and – less so – Real Sociedad.
Moyes has risen like a phoenix from the ashes during second spell at West Ham
So the decision of West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold to let Moyes go in favour of a “more progressive manager” after he somehow kept the club up despite being given just six months to turn around a sinking ship didn’t help his battered reputation either.
When Manuel Pellegrini’s expensive tenure came to an end, Sullivan and Gold were at least men enough to go back to Moyes cap in hand.
It was a gesture the honest as the day is long Scotsman appreciated.
In that dark 18 months out of the game after being ditched by the Hammers Moyes did not sulk. A student of the game, he went away and watched, learned, observed the workings of other clubs – like the Red Bull operations in Germany and Austria.
He adapted his thinking and approach. Taught himself to be more mellow.
And my goodness how he has paid Sullivan and Gold – and the West Ham fans – back in the 18 months since.
Records tumbled last season as Moyes led West Ham to their highest ever Premier League points total and a sixth place finish.
Moyes explains why life is so much sweeter at West Ham the second time around
The Hammers agonisingly finished just three points off making the Champions League.
And Moyes put the vast improvement down to better recruitment and a new improved team spirit, attitude and work ethic he was able to instil at West Ham the second time around given more time.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s clash with Leicester, Moyes explained to the press how and why things have been so much sweeter in his second stint at the London Stadium.
“It’s great inside the club now,” Moyes told the press ahead of the Leicester game.
“We’ve got a brilliant spirit, there’s a lot of motivation, and it has suddenly become a challenging club inside.
‘We’re all challenging each other to be better’
“We’re challenging each other to be better, I’m challenging my staff to be better in the stuff we do as well.
“Every day the players getting driven on by Mark Noble or Declan Rice, we are trying in all areas to challenge them.
“Now we are looking to get 60,000 supporters back in, and we’re saying ‘Come on, get right behind the team’. The support we had at Newcastle was incredible.
“So I think everybody can see there is a great spirit among the players, and I think within the club it feels better than when I first came in.”
In other news, Rodgers raves about West Ham and Moyes’s fantastic four.