It’s fair to say that West Ham’s appointment of David Moyes is a gamble.
While his 11 years at Everton were largely positive and he accumulated some experience of operating at the bottom end of the Premier League, the task he faces at the London Stadium is different.
Moyes has to go in and make something happen, and he hasn’t done that before.
Football can be a ruthless judge.
Moyes has not been successful in his last two or three jobs – Sunderland, Real Sociedad and Manchester United – and there is no getting away from that. Some players will associate him with his recent past; others may think ‘hold on, he did a magnificent job at Everton over a long period’.
The problem for him is that he won’t be judged over a long period at West Ham. He has a six-month contract and all that matters is the here and now. He certainly has a point to prove.
Will his arrival put a spring in the step of the Hammers faithful? Will it generate the excitement that the hiring of Carlo Ancelotti or Guus Hiddink – two of the bigger names linked with succeeding Slaven Bilic – might have? No.
But ultimately it’s not about that; it’s about making a difference. Supporters can be unrealistic at times and West Ham’s need to recognise that their team are in a calamitous situation. Style of play at this stage does not even come into it.
Is Moyes’s appointment guaranteed to work? No, but Sam Allardyce is the only manager with a proven track record of dragging teams out of a top-flight relegation battle.
I can’t see a dramatic change in fortunes overnight; then again, even Big Sam lost his first four games before he steered Crystal Palace out of the drop zone last season.
The most important question is whether Moyes is the best choice in a very limited market. And the answer is probably yes.
If Allardyce didn’t already have his own recent history at West Ham, there is no question that he’d have been offered that job. But with him ruled out, there are very few managers out there who have Moyes’s experience, are available and would accept a short-term deal until the end of the season.
Managers talk to each other and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Moyes has been picking Allardyce’s brains.
Sam’s mantra is ‘back to basics’ and that is exactly what is required at West Ham, where Bilic just ran out of ideas how to get the best out of his players. It’ll be about scrambling and picking up a point here and a point there.
My fear is that some supporters will be unmoved by the arrival of Moyes.
That, in turn, could mean that the feeling coming off the terraces does nothing to stimulate or inspire players. We talk about fans being a 12th man – that 12th man is a spirit that fans deliver to players.
It may take a couple of big results to win everyone over, but in the meantime the West Ham faithful need to dig deep for their team, because Moyes is more likely to succeed if it is a joint effort from him and supporters.