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The reality of Moyes’ last Irons reign


ClaretandHugh Facebook follower Ali Cairns has been digging behind the stats to discover the reality of David Moyes’ previous reign at the club. Here he points out that when you are in a dogfight the Pelle chant of “think like a big team” needs to be replaced by game preservation and that may be where the new man takes West Ham.


By Ali Cairns

A lot has been made of Moyes’ very poor win percentage in his half a season at West Ham (29%); although lest we forget, Pelle was on a 26% win rate for the season so far. However, when you dig deeper, a different picture emerges.

Looking at the period from 01 Jan through to the season end, West Ham lost only 6 matches, which included the three in a row that culminated in the Burnley protest, although we’re quick to forget the 3-0 win over Southampton the following week and the relatively decent end to the season capped by wins over Leicester, Everton and Watford.

A key difference between “thinking like a big team” Pelle and Moyes’ style is game preservation. When you’re in a dogfight (and surely no-one disagress that we are), the old mantra that if you can’t win a game try not to lose it, is king.

Under Moyes 10 of the 30 points he picked up in 17/18 were draws. Or put another way, games we would have lost under Manual this season. So if we look at the rest of the season from 01 January 2018, although the Irons win rate was at a modest 33% (still not far behind Harry Redknapp or Ron Greenwood, incidentally) when you look at the games not lost rate, you see a different picture – 67% of games not lost. This is what kept us up.

Moyes has (rightly) stated that he has inherited a more talented squad this time round, and we as a fan base that have been crying out for a more robust defence and the willingness to change tactics on the basis of the actual team that we are up against, should look forward to seeing if Moyes can exact a similar improvement in intensity from Anderson, Lanzini, Fornals (sorry Pablo, bit harsh as you’ve been up there with Antonio the past few weeks) and Ajeti that we saw with Arnie in 2018.

There’s already some promise in the fact we should no longer see Arthur played as left back, as Moyes likes him further up the park, and this should encourage the introduction of Johnson into the first team fold if a quality LB is not available to sign. Although it’s worth remembering that Cresswell has always looked better in a three or a five anyway.

This season has again been a sobering one, and as usual the fans are directing their anger at the board. The same fans who were patting them on the back in the summer for investing in Haller, Fornals etc. How quickly we forget. If we had signed a foreign manager at this point and gone down (Kovac was sacked by Bayern following a player revolt after all), we’d blame the board.

If the football is a bit boring under Moyes, we’ll blame the board. So on, ad naseum. For me, with five at the back this squad is more than good enough to stay up and push for 10th or 9th still. Any signings shouldn’t be knee jerk, and given our situation, looking for a seasoned PL midfielder to carry some of the water for poor Dec may be the difference between him staying rather than signing for Chelsea in the summer.

67% of games not lost for the rest of the season? I’d take that right now. I hope Alan Irvine is flogging the hell out of them all on Rush Green this morning.

And finally, an apology. I was one of Pelle’s biggest advocates before he joined us. I though he was exactly what we needed, as did many of us. Moyes wasn’t my first choice, and he isn’t a popular choice, but if we stay up he deserves £80M to invest in the very areas we’ve all been whining about since early October.

Come on you Irons. Buy Tommy’s pillows. Bosh 🙂

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

16 comments on “The reality of Moyes’ last Irons reign

  1. it’s a mystery as to how or when Pellegrini became completely inept in everything he did in managing this club. From the players he brought in (Sanchez, Ajeti , Roberto and yes Wilshire on 100k a week). the latter signing was like some lad just throwing money around in a casino. then the tactical choices he made with playing Haller alone upfront with no service and Zab against fast wingers….. But perhaps worst of all the sheer lack of pace and fitness of the team to run at the opposition. it beggars belief that this is a team that trains really hard. what’s struck me the few times I’ve been to Stratford this Season is the sheer lack of pace in the team. Worrying! Sanchez was an absolute disgrace for the second Leicester goal on Saturday, he should never have been brought to the club. I refuse to believe that there aren’t dozens players in the lower divisions better than Sanchez and who would work their socks off. Meanwhile before we head off and get some more players that are past it, why don’t we recall Diagana from WBA,? look what the youngsters that are being thrown in at Chelsea are achieving. that’s another problem with Pellegrini, he had no interest in developing young players. in retrospect Pelle will be seen in the same light as Grant…..inept, tactically clueless and a guy who made a lot of signings that hurt the team rather than getting players who had potential and were hungry.

  2. One of the irritating aspects of Pelle for me was his inflexibility regarding tactics. He persisted with a flat four across the back when we don’t have any decent defensive full backs. We have two wing backs masquerading as full backs and Cress totally out of form plus Zaba whose legs are not what they once were. So against Palace Fornals and Snoddy spent so much time tracking back to help our weak full backs and couldn’t do the job in the offensive part of the pitch. Hopefully Moyes will realize our weak areas and adapt his tactics accordingly .

  3. In reviewing Moyes first time around you forget his transfer investments – an expensive loan for Evra, the £8m plus for Hugill, and the loan of Juan Mario
    On Pellegrini I would agree that Zab should be retired, and Sanchez and Wiltshire were poor investments – but none of this trio have been starting and are not the root cause.
    Last summer we had a transfer income of £48m (Chicarito, Annie, Fernandez, Perez, Byram, Oxford, etc) to offset the purchases of Haller and Fornals. What was needed was a ball winning box to box midfielder and an upgrade at fullback and whoever is in charge that remains the case.

  4. Bless ….the Dave’s have got you to have a word to quieten the moaners .
    Yep Moyes is a great choice and we all are happy….

    • **** off dopey. Go back to Twitter. I think the board maybe slightly busier with more important things than us. So ridiculous and it was contributed on FB by somebody totally new anyway

  5. Champions hate losing more than they love winning.

    Pretending to not like a draw is a little like the concept of bad sex; no such thing as it is better than no sex.

    We all looked forward to Pellegrini, his signings are a mixed bag, and we now are a little sheepish.

    In defence of Wilshire, when Ramsey was injured JW looked like a world beater at Arsenal.

  6. Moyes wasn’t making transfer decisions first time out. His priority was to keep us up and he did that……………His priority was to make sure we didn’t lose…The last game at the OS said it all for me about Moyes, I think it was Burnley wasn’t it 3-0 he wasn’t under any pressure…

  7. Ali Cairns defending the owners, who would have guessed!

  8. Totally agree with Johnyd..

  9. Good peice Ali .To many contributors on this and others sites never look at the whole picture
    only 9 wins but we drew 10 thats 37 from 31 games add in the fact when he walked in the door we were absolutely s*”t i don’t see that as a bad return and as for us playing a percentage game depending on the opposition i would rather that than lose.
    And as for the tight fisted board they saved us from going bankrupt so leave them alone they are proper fans do you really think they dont hurt when we lose .and dont forget its there own money they are playing with not yours and after near 30 years running football clubs
    i am sure they understand the financial side off things better than you
    ps hugh
    dont sit on the fence say what you really think
    happy new year

  10. Well said matty and hugh. Lets just get behind the manager and team. This is a decent squad that has under achieved for various reasons. With a bit of tweaking here and there I am confident that they will perform well under Moyes, but lets show a bit of patience and help to make it happen. All the best for 2020.

  11. Good article! We have been so easy to beat under pellegrini and our game management was shocking.

    I do think fabianski being injured played a huge part in his departure and the teams confidence being shot, you could argue he wasnt given enough funds to sign a decent back up goalkeeper.

    We needed bigger investment and more importantly in the right positions. It’s been apparent for seasons that we have needed a quality CM/CDM . Sold obiang, fernandes and Kouyate and non have been replaced.

    Also the full back positions have seen little investment over the years also. Zaba free, Frederick’s free, cresswell 3m, masuaku 7m.

    Strangely we spent a large chunk of the summer budget on fornals an attacking midfielder when we already had Anderson, Lanzini, Yarmolenko, Antonio and 2 promising young wingers in Holland and Diangana.

    All very strange we cant continue as a club like this owners need to put up or shut up.

    Also in further defence of Moyes he did want us to sign John Mcginn for what 3m but to big of a gamble for the board so we let villa beat us to him. As for hugill he was given little chance due to the form arnautovic hit and was signed as abit of a battering ram.

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