• Conor O Donoghue


Updated: Feb 26, 2021

It has never been plain sailing at West Ham. Disgruntled fans, poor transfer recruitment and a hire and fire policy towards managers have made the hammers job a bit of a poisoned chalice. Managers like Manuel Pellegrini, Slaven Billic, David Moyes and Sam Allardyce have all received the inevitable axe at the east London club.

This year the east London club, which has been tarnished with misery and woe throughout the years, has suddenly found its place in the league where it had always aimed to be.

West ham's assault on the European places this year is not a scenario even the most biased West Ham fan would envisage at the start of the year.

What's even more surprising is that the West Ham dugout man was let go due to poor performances in 2018. David Moyes's return to West Ham in 2019 was met with confusion by fans and the media across the country.

The former Manchester United manager has never tasted success since his days at Everton. Many argue his career prospect stocks were at an all-time low after losing his jobs at Manchester United, Sunderland, West Ham and Real Sociedad.

Those being sceptical about his second tenure are not laughing now. The difference between the 1st and 2nd spell is night and day.

The first spell was littered with defensive errors, poor recruitment and a board lacking in fans confidence. The second spell has seen the total opposite.

For the first time in years, West Ham has a team where rival fans can say they like several players. Saïd Benrahma, Declan Rice, Jesse Lingard Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Jarrod Bowen have all been stellar signings for the Hammers.

David Moyes's has done an excellent job this year with West ham to get the London outfit challenging for Europe.

There record against London clubs this season has been excellent. They are the highest place team in London in the league and have recorded victories at Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and had narrow losses to Arsenal and Chelsea.

One of the most significant players of David Moyes's tenure at Everton was the Belgian midfielder/forward Marouane Fellaini. He was a useful weapon for Moyes at Goodison Park, and he seems to have found his new Fellaini in Tomas Soucek.

This year the Czech international has 11 goals, with five coming with his head. Other managers like Jose Mourinho have made comments on Soucek having the same traits as Fellaini. During a game in October where it ended 3-3, Jose said:

"I told them to be aware of set-pieces against, which we knew they were very strong," he said. "David found in [Tomas] Soucek his new [Marouane] Fellaini. They fought very hard to be lucky, so I praise them.

"This is a game that was in the pocket, and we lost two points".

Is it any wonder that Moyes's is having his best spell at a club since he had a significant aerial presence to call upon every week. Soucek leads West Ham's aerially duels won with 146. West Ham have the highest number of set-piece goals (13).

It may be a bit premature to say David Moyes's is the manager of the year with 25 games gone. Still, when you put into context where West ham has been and where they are now, you cannot deny that the Scotsman has exceeded expectations this year.

I had West Ham as one of the favourites to go down along with the likes of Newcastle under Steve Bruce. Nobody expected West Ham to do what they have been doing thus far.

Many people will point to Pep Guardiola's 25-match unbeaten run, which includes 18 consecutive wins in all competitions and 13 in a row in the Premier League, as a shoo-in for the manager of the year award. That, for me, is boring and does not reflect any real achievement. Expectations and outcomes of Manchester City's season can be elementary to write.

Leicester are a side that has knocked continuously on Europe's door for several years now. Manchester United are a side that should always be up and around the top four. Again it's not surprising for these teams.

For the first time in his career since his Everton days, Moyes's has a real chance of getting West Ham into Europe. It would be bittersweet for a man and a club that has been the butt of English football's jokes for years now.