Read the following statement and then choose the correct answer from the list below:
‘David Moyes has been appointed manager of West Ham United’. Explain.
a) David Moyes has secretly bought West Ham United and is now sole owner of the Club.
b) It’s a dream and you will wake shortly, bathed in sweat, to discover that the former manager of the Latvian U-23 team whose surname contains no vowels whatsoever has now been ensconced at The City of London Stadium.
c) An exceptional solar flare has temporarily knocked the earth off it’s magnetic axis, causing a rupture in the space-time continuum and leaving a world where nothing makes any sense.
d) Harry Redknapp wasn’t available.
Choose a recent incident that proves Einstein’s Definition of Insanity.
(Answer. See statement in Question 1)
I can’t believe that there’s another business in the world like football - one that defies logic; that makes no sense.
But here we are – David Moyes is the new manager of West Ham United.
He was brought in because he could:
... get the best out of the players’ and ‘will bring fresh ideas, organisation and enthusiasm’.
In his defence, it could be argued that he got the best out of his team of players at Everton, but they were his team that he had built up over a number of seasons.
Each job he’s had since then has required that he galvanise, motivate and enthuse players that he’s inherited, and he’s been singularly unsuccessful in each one.
The players didn’t respect him at Manchester United, and as far as I know he never learned to speak Spanish, nor did he last long enough to inspire those at Real Sociedad - and lets not even talk about what he 'achieved' at Sunderland.
And yet he’s expected to lift a team whose confidence is shattered, a team leaking goals faster than any in the Premier League and who firmly rest in the mire of the relegation zone.
How’s he going to do that?
Let's look at the current crop of successful managers. Wagner at Huddersfield, Eddie Howe, Chris Hughton, Pochettino, Dyche... they all have one thing in common - team spirit in shovelfuls. The manager is as part of the team as any of the players; they bond, they have mutual respect, they try hard for each other – stop me when you see a trait that describes David Moyes...
The truth is that if David Moyes gets the best out of these players, it’ll be the first time in his career he’s done such a thing.
And West Ham are willing to pay him (on top of his salary) a £2 million bonus if he keeps them in the Premier League.
Where was the brilliant business brain of Karen Brady when that one was being discussed in the board room? There are managers out there with a proven track record of turning clubs around - Allardyce and Ancelotti amongst them - who I’m sure would have been interested in a six month contract, particularly with a £2 million bonus to keep them in the top flight. And yet they risk their Premier League future on someone who's had no such success?
And not only does Moyes have to win over the players, there’s the small matter of the crowd to consider. Slaven Bilic resembled something from a Shakespearean tragedy prowling the touchline in recent months as the mob ranted and railed against him.
Brighton player Liam Rosenior wrote after their game at West Ham that he’d reconsidered moving into football management after witnessing first hand the abuse and vitriol aimed at Bilic from his own supporters. Ian Wright came out this week and said he felt relieved that ‘his friend’ Bilic had gone because the pressure of trying to deliver a winning brand of football, in the style that was expected by the supporters, had been taking a toll on his health.
Every club has its fair share of sloped forehead, knuckle-dragging supporters. However, when they were handing them out at the dawn of time West Ham went back for seconds and then took advantage of a one-off free offer for a few more. These are fans that attack themselves to vent their frustration, who have fixed opinions on what style of football should be served up for their pleasure and who are singularly unforgiving of any level of perceived failure.
New managers normally have a honeymoon period in which to win over the crowd, to get bedded in, to seek acceptance. I’m not exaggerating when I think Moyes has 45 minutes. He’s lucky that his first game is away from home, against Watford.
But of course I may be totally wrong and he may be a complete success. And at that point people will look back at Sunderland and blame the Club for being relegated last season and exonerate Moyes from any blame whatsoever. And that’s why football defies logic, and doesn’t makes any sense.
Sam Allardyce is still retired from football management.
I thought I’d just mention it because he’s all over the media at the moment, keeping his public profile as high as possible, because... well, who knows, perhaps he’s seeking out hobbies to pass the time? And apart from the shirt he wore on Match of the Day, he could make a decent pundit if he fancied it. When asked what he thought about Claude Puel’s appointment as Leicester manager, he retorted:
He must have had a good interview.
Sound-bites like that will get him sitting on the sofa wearing inappropriate clothing for years to come, except when he was asked if he was interested in the Everton job, he went to some lengths to avoid an answer.
It sounds like Sam’s definition of ‘retirement’ differs from that in the dictionary – again.