Moyes not only one on trial after Hammers appointment
Moyes not only one on trial after Hammers appointment
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.
Mohamed Salah’s slow start to the season no problem for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
- After this record-breaking season last campaign the Egyptian ace has only two goals so far this term.
- Liverpool face Southampton this weekend having won all five matches so far.
LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah’s slow start to the season is not causing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to lose any sleep.
The 26-year-old Egyptian star — who had a disappointing World Cup after entering it with a shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final — has scored just twice this term.
Klopp’s lack of concern over his form is supported by the 44 goals he scored in all competitions after a similarly slow start in his first season with the club.
“Wow, that’s a crisis,” said Klopp sarcastically ahead of Liverpool’s clash against Southampton on Saturday.
“No one remembers that (his slow start last season), it is really no problem.”
Klopp, whose side have begun the season in great style and are yet to drop a point after five Premier League matches despite Salah’s lack of goals, admitted the Egyptian’s superb record had raised expectations.
“Of course, of course everyone expects that, that is clear,” he said.
“We don’t expect that. We want him to score as often as possible. It is completely normal everyone expects that.”
The German, whose side opened their Champions League campaign with a thrilling 3-2 home win over French champions Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, said Croatian central defender Dejan Lovren, who has yet to feature after picking up a hip problem at the World Cup, is getting closer to return to the squad.
“Dejan is close,” said Klopp. “He looks really fit. He did a lactate test last week so fitness-wise he is — for his situation — on a really OK level.
“He is not for the squad for the weekend, of course, but we will see how soon we can try to involve him again.”