David Moyes set to take over at West Ham as early as Tuesday

Slaven Bilic was sacked amid mounting pressure following Saturday’s Liverpool defeat

West Ham United are in search of a new manager after Slaven Bilic’s departure. Photograph: PA

West Ham United are in search of a new manager after Slaven Bilic’s departure. Photograph: PA

 

West Ham United are set to appoint David Moyes on an initial six-month contract and hand him the responsibility of hauling them away from relegation danger after finally losing faith in Slaven Bilic’s ability to reverse the team’s decline.

The club hope the former Sunderland manager can take training as early as this morning with Alan Irvine, Chris Woods and possibly Stuart Pearce joining him as part of his backroom staff. Moyes will be offered a fresh two-year deal if he keeps West Ham in the Premier League.

Bilic, whose contract was due to run out next summer, was sacked yesterday morning after a dismal start to the season that has left West Ham in 18th place and with two wins from their first 11 Premier League games. While the club’s owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, had hoped that giving the manager time would eventually pay off, Saturday’s wretched 4-1 defeat by Liverpool was the final straw. The Croat’s assistants, Nikola Jurcevic, Edin Terzic, Julian Dicks and Miljenko Rak, have also left the club.

Gold and Sullivan released a statement explaining that they felt compelled to act in the club’s best interests after seeing few indications that Bilic was capable of reviving West Ham and added that they plan to appoint “a quality manager to the position to inject fresh ideas, organisation and enthusiasm into a very talented squad”.

That manager is Moyes, even though news of his arrival on an interim basis has been met with opposition from supporters. The Scot has struggled since leaving Everton for Manchester United in 2013 - his last three jobs have ended in failure - and has been out of work since quitting Sunderland after their relegation from the Premier League last season.

Yet West Ham were desperate to move quickly after sacking Bilic and, with a lack of alternatives, Moyes’s immediate availability has counted strongly in his favour. They were not prepared for a long wait to prise Sean Dyche away from Burnley.

Bilic said he was “sad” at the way the season had unfolded. “I believe in my qualities and wanted desperately to fight on to turn things around,” he added, “but I understand the club’s desire [for]change.”

Moyes will have time over the international break to prepare for his first game, away to Watford on November 19th, and he will be given a chance to earn a lengthier stay at West Ham by leading them to safety. The former Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad manager must prove that he is still capable of succeeding in the top flight of English football after finishing bottom with Sunderland last season.

Moyes will find a side crying out for greater organisation. West Ham have the worst defensive record in the division, having conceded 23 goals, and the evidence had mounted against Bilic long before the Liverpool game.

The wheels were already in motion after West Ham threw away a 2-0 lead against Crystal Palace on October 28th, conceding a 97th-minute equaliser, and the hierarchy made contact with Moyes before the visit from Liverpool. Bilic was a popular figure at West Ham, who appointed him as Sam Allardyce’s replacement in 2015. Yet the board believed Bilic had enough talent at his disposal after a summer in which they spent £40m on Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernández, signed Pablo Zabaleta on a free and brought in Joe Hart on loan.

There was astonishment in the boardroom that he responded to the humiliation against Liverpool by giving the squad a day off on Monday. Bilic’s fate was ultimately sealed by the time he spoke to Sullivan and Gold. – Guardian service

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