LONDON – David Moyes begins his new job as West Ham United manager intent on reviving his floundering career by resuscitating a club mired in relegation trouble.
Many observers view the 54-year-old former Everton manager as fortunate to get another chance to prove himself after being sacked from his past three jobs at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland, who were relegated from the Premier League last season after losing 26 of his 38 games in charge.
It was his demeanour and his record that was held against him and Moyes appeared to get his excuses in early by predicting Sunderland faced a difficult season after their second game.
But the Black Cats’ current plight – they are bottom of the second-tier Championship – suggests their problems are more structural, and West Ham’s owners have looked beyond that unhappy spell in charge to appoint a highly experienced coach who knows he may not get another chance if West Ham fail to stay up.
British newspapers reported that Moyes’ case has been pushed by West Ham’s director of player recruitment, Tony Henry, who worked with the Scot at Everton, where he forged his reputation as a manager capable enough in his 11 years in charge to attract Manchester United when Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
A banner declaring Moyes “The Chosen One” did him no favours during an insipid season in charge at Old Trafford, and his subsequent spell at Real Sociedad also ended in disappointment, with the Spanish Liga club flirting with relegation.
Now he faces a similar fight at West Ham, with little in Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat by Liverpool – Slaven Bilic’s final game in charge – to offer immediate hope of a revival.
Everton’s 3-2 comeback win over Watford on Sunday dropped West Ham into 18th place, with nine points from 11 games.
But the malaise goes deeper than results, with the Hammers appearing an unhappy club struggling with the legacy of leaving Upton Park for the London Stadium at the start of last season, a move that many supporters blame for their present troubles.
While Bilic lost one of his 17 games in charge at the old ground, West Ham have been beaten 11 times in 24 matches in their new home.
West Ham striker Andy Carroll criticised fans for leaving early on Saturday, and Moyes will face a major job galvanising the club’s traditionally raucous support if they are to avoid their first relegation since 2011.
Like Crystal Palace, who earlier this term turned to another seasoned manager in 70-year-old Roy Hodgson, the Hammers believe Moyes has the Premier League nous to turn their fortunes around.
The Scot, who has also been touted as a possible manager of his national team, signalled his intention to return to the Premier League at the weekend when he first became linked with the West Ham post.
"At the moment they should be in a better position than they are, and I believe they will be come the end of the season." pic.twitter.com/AHsAlS2q1n
“For me to get back in it means another manager is going to have to lose their job, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody,” he said on beIN Sports.
“He (Bilic) must be hating it and wanting to get a result as soon as he can. So, if it becomes available, yes, but at the moment, it’s not available.”
Asked if he might be managing again after the forthcoming international break, he added: “I really don’t know. I hope so.”
Now he has his chance with a team who have under-performed, with many observers questioning the wisdom of their close season transfer dealings as they paid top prices for ageing players, the £24 million paid to Stoke City for 28-year-old Marko Arnautovic being a prime example.
No more transfer dealings can be done until the window opens in January, so Moyes must work with what he has until then.
Both manager and team need to learn how to win again, which makes his appointment an intriguing leap of faith by the owners.