Time to hold our nerve?

You pay your money, you make your choice. Is it patience or tin hat time? Are you calm and trusting David Moyes to get it right, or are you stressed to the eyeballs?

It seems there’s no half measures amongst our fanbase, who have plenty of previous coping with the anxiety of transfer windows.

I suppose the old adage can be doctored a little: "Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, always found in woman, but never in West Ham fans". Mind you, my good lady has never had much patience with idiots, I can assure you, so that disproves the theory!


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Who'd be a Premier League manager?


Twenty one days and counting of this transfer window to go. And we are seeing two distant ends of the scale from our fans. From one end it's "let’s wait and see, Moyes has already spent £107m, a record for West Ham". On the other side of the coin, there has been a suggesting on twitter from one irate fan that there will be civil unrest if our first four games go belly-up.

I think we should calm down a touch out there before we bring our pitchforks to the barricades; for some context, our first five league games last season produced only one win.

Another said that we could be forgiven for the Manchester City defeat, but there will be hell to play if we lose at Nottingham Forest. No pressure there, then.

Acknowledgement then that we were beaten by one of the best teams in the world last weekend, one that had sold three world class players and were still awesome. Mind you, our hastily patched-up team restricted them to two shots on target, worth reminding ourselves of that now - in particular me, it must be said - having calmed down a bit.

And if there was ever a decent barometer of the task ahead for Moyes, it came in that podcast interview with Graham Hunter this week. You may not have liked some of Moyes’ remarks, but they showed a far greater insight to the job in hand than any of the spew of stuff from the client websites that so many follow and believe.

I’m sure you have seen it by now, but Hunter did a good job. Not a surprise really. Hunter and Moyes go way back, both Jocks, you see. Hunter had a decent Fleet Street career before upping sticks and heading for Barcelona to start up as a freelance, a few decades back now, when he could see the trend towards major interest back home in Barca and Real Madrid and the obvious flood of stories possible from players from these isles that headed to Spain.

This week's scenario reminded me a bit of the way Alex Ferguson used to operate. Moyes is following that pattern. Fergie could spend all Friday doing interviews with the Manchester pack giving nothing away and then they’d find a lengthy, articulate interview in the Sunday papers with Fergie chatting away to his old Scottish journalist mates.

Moyes spoke of folk underestimating the task of rebuilding West Ham, getting rid of some players who were on their way out a long time ago. The massive jump from relegation candidates to European semi-finalists in two years and the fact that the next jump will be much smaller and more difficult.


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Not walking in Memphis: Depay rejected West Ham's overtures


He spoke of how the transfer market has been tough to negotiate as West Ham tried to reach for the stars by trying to sign Champions League level players and failing because that quality of player will not come to West Ham, and with us having the second oldest squad in the Premier League.

Now he is looking only to improve and try for the next level down, so to speak. He talked of layering the squad, moving upwards much slower than we all, obviously, would like.

And he won’t sign bench warmers. He sees no value in that, which clearly infuriates some fans who want to see a slim squad strengthened. Maybe a couple of bench warmers last season would have secured that sixth place finish and Europa League qualification?

That last half hour at Brighton still hurts. Refresh a tiring team and we could have hung onto that lead with 30 minutes left. We will never know.

So Moyes is boxed into the £15-25m bracket, it seems. The fact that there are rumours that the money is running out doesn’t help. So much for the £150m plus whatever Danny boy can add to the pot.

None of this will impress the anti-Moyes mob, who see every transfer elsewhere as "Moyes missed out again".

He’s being derided for our centre back problem. Called ‘unprepared’ by one fan. A bit harsh, that. Losing Nayef Aguerd and Craig Dawson in a matter of two weeks to injury, plus the failure of Angelo Ogbonna to shake off his season-long injury problem at the same time is not a scenario easily or quickly solved.

Ogbonna had two run-outs as a substitute at Boreham Wood and Reading and then started the friendly against Stevenage before being replaced. Aguerd’s injury at Rangers and Oggy’s failure at Stevenage came within three days of each other.



Refusenik: Diop had to go


None of this has been helped by Issa Diop’s behaviour, declining to play against Manchester City and forcing his inevitable move to Fulham 24 hours later. You can’t have players with that attitude around the squad for a moment longer than necessary. For Moyes to be blasted for not being prepared for all that is a bit harsh.

So far we have signed six players, if you include impressive teenage Northern Ireland striker Pat Kelly. Look around the Premier League, only Chelsea and Arsenal currently have signed more than West Ham.

And it’s worth noting that 12 players have left, four of whom never got near a first team start last term. The other eight managed 35 league starts between them and 55 appearances as substitutes. Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Nikola Vlasic and Arthur Masuaku accounted for 29 of those starts.

These are players Moyes didn’t want, players who were hardly used and would not have figured this season. They are no major loss in the great scheme of things. Five of the six signings will figure extensively, and it looks as if Harrison Ashby and Conor Coventry will get their chance.

Yes, we do need squad depth, but it has to be of a quality to pressure the first eleven. And the names of players we are interested in continues to flow. Defender Thilo Kehrer from PSG looks promising, PSV’s midfielder Ibrahim Sangare also.

Leicester’s Luke Thomas, a decent young left back, has now come onto the radar, Stuttgart’s left back Borna Sosa too. And we still want, it seems, Chelsea’s Armando Broja.

There has to be more and Moyes knows it. Just for now I want to wait until the window shuts, then we’ll all decide whether patience paid off or whether tin hats are needed. Hold our nerve, maybe, for now.

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