Moyes not only one on trial after Hammers appointment

David Moyes cut a miserablefigure at Sunderland. Canhe get the West Ham fansclapping to his tune at thesoulless London Stadium?(Reuters)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Moyes not only one on trial after Hammers appointment

LONDON: The good news for David Moyes is that the club he takes over this year is probably not in quite as bad a state as the one he took over last year. West Ham United, after all, are only a point from safety and there is enough quality in the squad to suggest that salvation is not merely possible but probable.
This is not Sunderland, with a beaten-down and broken side already several years overdue a relegation, in mourning for the manager just departed (Sam Allardyce for his ridiculous two months with England), and an owner who had long since lost whatever enthusiasm he once had, trimming costs at every turn.
The bad news is that being better than Sunderland is not that much of an achievement, and West Ham have plenty of problems.
At the heart of them is the stadium — which has size to recommend it and little else. It’s not just that the stands are a long way from the pitch, it’s that they’re a long way from anywhere. Nobody likes the London Stadium, the most soulless of all the soulless modern stadiums. Where Upton Park was a clear advantage for West Ham, capable of intimidating and inspiring even after its redevelopment, it now seems entirely possible that the London Stadium will never know an atmosphere better than Mo Farah winning the 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics.
But the stadium is also symbolic of deeper concerns. The owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, seems constantly to have grand plans and then to try to execute them on the cheap. They sacked Sam Allardyce’s sports psychologist because they didn’t think he offered value for money. They have carped and quibbled over transfer pennies. They managed to fall out with the widow of Bobby Moore, the club’s greatest legend, over donations to a cancer charity. The expectation always seems better than the reality.
Even the appointment of Moyes fits that template. He is available and desperate for a job. He is relatively cheap, certainly in terms of his demands for new players and staff. But he is a short-term fix. He has only been given a contract until the end of the season. There is no sense of laying the foundations for future greatness. Even in November it feels as though the rest of the season has been written off: Stay up, take the television money and only then look to the future.
The squad, similarly, is an odd patchwork. For a club like West Ham to bring in an experienced player who has enjoyed greater things can make sense. To sign Joe Hart, Javier Hernandez and Pablo Zabaleta together just looks like nobody’s done any scouting for a decade.
Moyes, it could be argued, fits the same category. There has been a lot of talk of resurrecting the David Moyes of Everton. But football moves on. It constantly develops. Very few managers remain at the very top of their games for more than a decade and those that do, the likes of Alex Ferguson and Valeriy Lobanovskyi, are rightly hailed as geniuses.
There has been no sense of Moyes evolving.
Each of the three jobs he has taken since Everton have come with their own mitigating circumstances. Replacing Ferguson at United was always going to be a hugely difficult task for any manager. Real Sociedad was a step into another football culture. Sunderland was, well, Sunderland.
Moyes can offer an excuse for each. None of those three failures mean he is necessarily finished as a manager. But most managers have their reasons for why things go wrong. The credit Moyes built up at Preston and Everton is running out. Even with the tendency of a certain type of owner to appoint aging British managers, he must know that one more failure probably means the end for him as a top-flight manager.
But Moyes isn’t the only one on trial. West Ham’s owners, too, should be facing serious questions.


Al-Ain coach praises side's fighting spirit and backs them for more FIFA Club World Cup glory

Updated 13 December 2018
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Al-Ain coach praises side's fighting spirit and backs them for more FIFA Club World Cup glory

LONDON: Zoran Mamic praised his Al-Ain players’ grit and determination after they came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Team Wellington on penalties in the FIFA World Club Cup.
Playing at home “The Boss” looked anything but menacing, as the amateurs from New Zealand took a shock three-goal lead after 44 minutes. But strikes from Tsukasa Shiotani and Tongo Doumbia gave the hosts hope. Then substitute Marcus Berg came off the bench to grab the equalizer with just five minutes to go to set up extra-time. Two tired teams were unable to force a winner in the extra 30 minutes and Al-Ain held their nerve to win the shootout 4-3.
Mamic’s men were supposed to brush past the Kiwis, but the Al-Ain coach said the manner of the win could stand them in good stead going into the quarterfinals and possibly beyond.
“I am so proud of my players and their determination and fighting spirit that led them to achieve the desired goal and qualify for the quarterfinal stage when they were able to beat the visiting team, New Zealand’s Team Wellington,” Zoran said.
“We missed the factors of concentration and confidence in certain parts of the match, giving the opponent the chance to take the lead by three clean goals. However, Shiotani’s goal in the last minutes of the first half gave us the push and the power to return to the match and the team’s reaction was up to expectations.”
The home side now face Tunisian side Esperance Sportive de Tunis at their Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium tomorrow, knowing they will have to play much better to stand a chance of playing Real Madrid in the last-four.
Esperance are making their first appearance at the tournament since 2011 and are all too aware that Al-Ain will pose a big threat to their dream of facing the Spanish giants.
“Without a doubt Al-Ain will have a lot of supporters in the stands and that will give them a boost … it will be a tough match.”
For Team Wellington it was a case of what might have been. While they were gutted to let slip the three-goal advantage Aaron Clapham said he and his teammates could hold their heads up high.
“It’s a mixture of disappointment and pride,” the midfielder said. “I’m really proud of the team – everyone involved. It’s heart-breaking to lose on penalties. But we’re really proud of the way we played.”