User Menu

Joanne O’Riordan: David Moyes the Shakespearean tragedy

West Ham fans, if you think it’s all doom and gloom – well, it very likely is going to be

The new West Ham United manager David Moyes during a press conference. Photograph: Reuters/John Sibley

Do you ever just look at a manager and take a mental note to feel sorry for him every time life throws him lemons? Do you ever see a sad old man and feel your heart strings being pulled? That’s me with David Moyes.

We’ve all been on a journey with Moyes, from Everton to Manchester United accompanied by Marouane Fellaini, to Real Sociedad and to Sunderland, to now being appointed West Ham manager. It has really been a wild time for Moyes.

His timeline is something that could either make you laugh if you’re a neutral or depress you if you’re a fan of any of the teams mentioned above.

In 2013, he signed a six-year contract to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. While the task was always gigantic to fill such big boots, it was inevitable that it would end in tears. Moyes’ life isn’t a rom-com; he is a Shakespearean tragedy from start to finish.

After United he got a chance to redeem himself at La Liga strugglers Sociedad. It started well – he beat FC Barcelona sans Lionel Messi in a game that many predicted would be the end of Barcelona and the beginning of Moyes. Barcelona won five out of six trophies. Real Sociedad went on a journey downwards.

The early bout of positivity in Spain gradually subsided into indifference. Starting the season without a goal in over 270 minutes of football wasn’t ideal in winning the fans over, and a 3-2 home defeat against Espanyol in the next outing put Moyes under more pressure. Then he played Las Palmas, and then the guillotine dropped.

Worst criticism

“Moyes” was a trending topic on Twitter in Spain after the game, with very few Moyes fans in the comments section. Sadly, many of La Real fans tweeted the hashtag #MoyesDimision (Moyes resign) or #MoyesVeteYa (Moyes go now).

The worst criticism of all came from a comment piece by Diario Vasco’s Inaki Izquierdo, who concluded that Moyes “still bears the impression of someone who has only just arrived and doesn’t understand the club, the players, the league, the city, the opponents, the referees, the languages, the stadia, the timetables...”

Yet Moyes isn’t one to give up, and next up was the joyful task of Sunderland. That also ended in tears, and Moyes found himself in two bizarre controversies.

The first emerged after he told a female journalist she’d get a slap. As an aside, Moyes has threatened to slap as many female journalists as he has won Premier League games since March 18th...one.

The other controversy was thrust upon him during John Terry’s final game for Chelsea. The embarrassing last request from JT was to be subbed off in the 26th minute against Sunderland. Moyes said he was aware of the tribute, and that Sunderland intentionally put the ball out of play for the farce to occur. According to Moyes, Terry deserved the send-off. The send-off Moyes was given in comparison was the heave ho.

West Ham fans, if you think it’s all doom and gloom – well, it is.

But there are a few inspiring statistics. Ignoring the fact Moyes’ presentation looked like a photoshoot for a LinkedIn profile picture, he has won the fourth most games as a Premier League manager (196), behind only Harry Redknapp (227), Arsène Wenger (463) and Ferguson (528). He has also drawn the third most games as a Premier League manager (135) behind only Ferguson (168) and Wenger (194).

Two clubs

Don’t worry ,West Ham fans, just ignore the other fact that Moyes has won 15 of his last 65 league games as a manager (23%), a run stretching across two clubs and from November 2014 to May 2017.

Ignore the fact he has only won 17 of his last 48 home league games as a manager, a run stretching across three clubs from August 2013 to May 2017.

It’s not that bad. You now have a manager that is part of an illustrious group. This group is so incredible it will blow your mind.

Moyes will become the ninth manager to manage at least four different Premier League clubs. Of the previous eight (Sam Allardyce, Harry Redknapp, Mark Hughes, Roy Hodgson, Ron Atkinson, Steve Bruce, Graeme Souness, Alan Pardew), all are British. Now that would make an interesting Whatsapp group chat.

My only request is to show Moyes compilations with Coldplay’s infamous line “‘Nobody said it was easy…” The look of anger, sadness, frustration and sheer angst on his face is enough to make anyone curl. He has managed to go from Scottish sensation to disaster. But that’s Moyes. A meme and a folk legend.

Et tu, West Ham?