West Ham Utd fans endured a season of mixed emotions in the 2022/23 campaign, but ultimately, it ended in joy when David Moyes led the team to Europa Conference League glory.
Now with the current season starting well and the team at the top end of the Premier League, do fans of the famous Claret and Blue dream of further success, like breaking into the top four? Or is a steady season of progress more realistic?
Fine lines between success and failure
Expectations may have changed, but how different would things have been had the Hammers lost the so-called El Sackio match to Everton in January? David Moyes would probably have been sacked had the Hammers lost, and who knows how the season would have panned out.
FULL-TIME West Ham 2-0 Everton
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 21, 2023
Thankfully, the Hammers stayed up, and Leicester, Leeds and Southampton went down to the championship. As a result, West Ham are in the betting to finish in the top four of the Premier League (at 19/1), while the relegated trio are covered by Championship betting markets. In the latest English Championship football betting odds, Leicester are 4/5 to be promoted, with Leeds at 11/5 and Southampton at 6/4.
The margins for error at the top level are so fine. But for some clubs, surviving the drop to the Championship just means another year in the Premier League and the riches that come with it. But that doesn’t have to be the case for all, as for some, it’s an opportunity to flourish in the Premier League, with West Ham being one of them.
Opportunities for growth
Aston Villa and Newcastle are two examples the Hammers could follow. Villa stayed up by the skin of their teeth in 2020 and is now an established Premier League club looking to break into the top four.
Newcastle didn’t come as close to the drop as Villa did. But they flirted with relegation for a couple of years, before new owners took over and brought Eddie Howe to the club.
Both clubs are now at the top end of the table. But most crucially, both clubs didn’t try to run before they could walk. They have owners with pockets deep enough to bid for the star names in world football. But instead, they have both lived within their means, steadily acquiring players and improving their squads.
Okay, so the Hammers don’t have owners with the sort of wealth that Villa and Newcastle have. But the club has enough money and the stature to attract top-quality players from across the globe. They can also boast the Europa Conference League win, while another selling point is their location, London!
🚨 BREAKING! David Moyes becomes first Scottish manager to win European trophy since 2008 as West Ham secure Europa Conference League glory 🏴🏆 pic.twitter.com/XtKZ2kO3MS
— Football Scotland ⚽️🏴 (@Football_Scot) June 7, 2023
Is Moyes the key to stability?
David Moyes has at times, shall we say, had a difficult relationship with West Ham fans. He may not be one of the biggest names in Europe, but by and large, he has a good track record. It might not have worked out for him at Manchester United, but you don’t get offered to follow Alex Ferguson as manager if you haven’t done something right.
Keeping David Moyes at the London Stadium only increases stability. He understands steady growth. He did it at Everton on a shoestring budget. Given the resources available at West Ham, he can continue to grow the club, but in a far more impressive way than at Goodison Park.
And after what he achieved last year, he has surely earned the right to do that.
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