David Moyes West Ham Turnaround Can Give Hope For Southampton Supporters
Tuesday, 25th May 2021 09:11
Saints supporters had to sit back and watch as their team capitulated at West Ham on Sunday and felt a pang of jealousy that this could easily have been Saints qualifying for the Europa League, they were right, but a year ago things were a lot different at the London Stadium.
When David Moyes returned to West Ham United in December 2019 there were some eyebrows raised amongst the Hammers supporters and more than a few dissenting voices , after all this was the same David Moyes who had been sacked as their manager 18 months earlier for the crime of only getting the East London club into 13th place in his six month spell in charge, this wasn't good enough for a section of the Hammers support they felt their club was bigger than that.
At this point Moyes reputation was at an all time low, an 11 year spell at Everton had built a profile as a manager who built clubs in the long term, but after being sacked at Manchester United after only one season suddenly he had become a football nomad, lasting barely a year in a job.
It was a case of deja vu for Moyes when West Ham sacked him for Manuel Pellegrini, the Hammers were going for a big name and glory and that wasn't David Moyes.
His first half season in charge was not a success, they were in the relegation battle when he arrived and when the season finally ended in July last year he had not done much better than his predecessor in terms of points, but he had kept them up and ended the season in 16th place on 39 points.
One place and 4 points worse than Saints left the pitch on Sunday.
West Ham also had one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League having conceded 62 goals, slightly better than the 68 Saints have let in this year.
So after a summer transfer window where the Hammers spent £40 million but sold players for £28 million, the West Ham fans were not hopeful for the coming season at the end of last summer.
The transfers in were hardly inspiring either Vladimir Coufal for £5.4 million, Said Benrahma whose two seasons at Brentford in the Championship were as high a level as he had played at and Tomas Soucek who had been on loan at the club for £13 million.
So in effect Moyes had just two new signings Coufal & Benrahma to try and transform West Ham from a side looking over their shoulder into something bigger and better, the Hammers faithful were not holding their breath.
But despite some fans calling for a big name at the London Stadium , calling for the owners to go and claiming that the club had no ambition, the West ham owners finally go t a dose of reality, quick fixes and changing managers rarely work, give Moyes time to do what he did at Everton and build a dynasty.
That faith proved justified with Moyes showing what he could do if given more than just a season in a job, I'm not a fan of David Moyes, in truth I find him a bit up himself and odious, but I can't question what he did at Everton and that is the type of situation he thrives in.
This season Moyes has shown it is not about how much money that you have , it is about building foundations.
The problem Moyes will have though is keeping Saints there, of the clubs outside of the Big Six, only Leicester have been able to maintain momentum, Saints whose 6th place finish 5 years ago was as good as it got for the rest up to this weekend and a host of other pretenders as diverse as Burnley, Everton & Wolves have all tried to push into the top six but not been able to manage it and more poignantly not been able to sustain any momentum they have got.
How must Everton look on and wish they had appointed Moyes and not Carlo Ancelotti back In December 2019, they went for the big name as the fans demanded with the big money being spent and now face another season with no real progress made.
So parallels can be drawn not just to Saints, but with Ralph Hasenhuttl and what he is doing at St Mary's, over the last 30 years we have had 23 permanent managers, to be more precise even in the last 8 years, a time when we have seen some sort of success, we have had 8 and we wonder why we have not been able to achieve some sort of consistency.
So if West Ham can go from 16th to 6th, then why can Saints not do the same next term, this season's drop from the top 4 at the turn of the year to 15th has been mainly due to an appalling injury list, some poor refereeing and VAR and that all lead to a loss of momentum, when the injury list cleared up we were a team lacking confidence and we could not get than momentum back.
But Ralph Hasenhuttl is a man in a similar mode to Moyes, he is a manager who works to a long term goal and not boom and bust, some Saints fans have lost sight just how difficult it is to succeed in the Premier League, all the BIg Six despite problems finished in the top 8 and the top 4 positions all went to the four biggest clubs, Everton as I said spent millions and could only get to 10th.
If Ralph Hasenhuttl is still manager when the new season kicks off in a little under three months time, then he will become the longest serving manager since 1991 when Chris Nicholl became the first Saints manager to be fired in the club's history after 6 years in charge.
If we are to succeed in what are our achievable targets then we need continuity at the club, in this respect Ralph Hasenhuttl is the most suitable manager we have had since Nicholl, when he came in December 2018 the club was in disarray, we were repeating the mistakes from the past, in the last two seasons we had appointed 3 different managers we were leering from one catastrophe to another.
But a new board steadied the ship and appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl and he has performed well if you consider where our place in the league actually is.
If we consider the size of al the clubs above us in terms of ground size, support and size of club, of the 14 teams who finished above us only Crystal Palace are a smaller club than ourselves, that is a fact, 14 clubs in this division have greater resources than us even discounting owners who sanction big transfer budgets mainly loans to the club.
This is what we are up against and we are in rough seas, but we are still afloat and in a far better position than we were when Ralph arrived.
Yes he has made mistakes, he will continue to do so , but he has learned from each one and he is working with less resources than most in the division.
So be careful what you wish for, I can think of a lot worse managers than Ralph Hasenhuttl, indeed I can think of few better that we could realistically get, it is time now to look at battening down the hatches and set small goals and not big ones, the Premier League is far far harder to break into the top six or even 8 than out was 5 seasons ago.
At the moment we are on a slipper slope where I see very little pride in the club from a sizable minority of the supporters, many are happy to turn us into some sort of standing joke, yet we had a better season than 77 out of the 92 league clubs.
This is a time to support the club both on and off the field, I support the club, not the owner or the board but the club, this reminds me of the bad old days of 2008/09 as we slid towards administration, you had to stand up and be counted in the troubled times to enjoy the success that followed.
Photo: Action Images
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