As a fan of a football club, I would not like my club’s new manager mentioning the above sentence in his introductory speech or interview. But West Ham United fans will have to do with that line because that is exactly how West Ham’s new manager – David Moyes justified his appointment. The Hammers replaced Slaven Bilic with the Scot within 24 hours. Moyes joins them on a short-term contract that lasts until the end of the current season.
While Moyes chose to see a positive in the short-term nature of his contract but it is easy to see that contract is short so that West Ham do not find it very expensive if he also needs to be replaced before the end of the season. Now, why would a club such as West Ham appoint a caretaker manager with more than two-thirds of the season yet to be played? That too when the likes of Sam Allardyce and Ronald Koeman are available? This is a mystery to me.
One of the joint-chairmen at West Ham, David Sullivan, justified this move by citing Moyes’ Premier League experience, especially his record at Everton. Perhaps the fact that Bilic had assembled a dream team from 2014 as his current team at the London Stadium has spurred this decision. Whatever the inspiration for it, most West Ham fans and neutral observers like me are baffled by it. I feel that this move could badly backfire for the Hammers and the chairmen will need to appoint one or caretaker manager before this season gets over.
There are many reasons for thinking so. But, I would prefer to base my belief in some data, so that I can ascertain that the belief is objective. In this case, I feel that the following three data points illustrate the possibility that David Moyes might not complete even his short-term contract at West Ham.
David Moyes’ Win Percentage
Moyes believes that he has a great win percentage in the Premier League and that is the reason why he is the right man to pull West Ham away from relegation this season. With due respect, I differ. Moyes does not have a great win percentage in the league. In his entire managerial career (888 games, including 38 for Preston North End), his win % is 42.57%. But it is hugely affected by his 518 matches for Everton, where his win % was 42.08%.
While that kind of win % might seem desirable for West Ham, the Hammers fans will be spooked by what happens when Moyes manages sides that are likely to be relegated. With Real Sociedad, his win % was 28.57, and with Sunderland, it was a meagre 18.60%. Those kinds of winning rates would definitely plunge West Ham into the Championship.
Points Per Game
Related to win % is the points per game metric. Does Moyes have it in him to collect enough points for West Ham to avoid relegation? Again, if we look at his time at Manchester United or Everton, one might feel that he should be good enough for West Ham to hang in the Premier League. But for teams in trouble – and West Ham are in trouble – his points per game are meagre 1.21 (Real Sociedad) and 0.72 (Sunderland). Those points per game for the remaining 27 games could push West Ham to the Championship.
Moyes’ Record Against Other Premier League Managers
While Moyes does feel that he can lift West Ham away from relegation, the history says something else. His performance against the current lot of Premier League managers is not too excellent. He has a point per match average of 0.70 against Arsene Wenger, 0.33 against Jose Mourinho, 0.75 against Rafa Benitez, and 0.50 against Sean Dyche. From top teams to second half teams, from title winners to newly promoted sides, he has a good record only against a handful of managers but has a poor record against most current managers in the league. This again does not bode well for West Ham.
Whether West Ham appointed David Moyes as manager due to a “dare” or whether it is a speculative mistake, but Moyes’ record does not inspire too much confidence. The two chairmen must be hoping that this short-term gamble pays off and when they look for a long-term manager next summer, their team is still in the Premier League.