The circus is back in town

You do wonder whether Mark Noble regrets that Boleyn pitch speech when he claimed West Ham were no longer a circus.

Here he is, two weeks into his new role as director of football and guess what? The circus is back in town. Which of course is nothing to do with our former club captain, although you have to consider that if we had a Noble at his peak back out on the pitch at the moment, we mightn’t be in this current mess.


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What we are missing is leadership on and off the pitch, rather than this painful plunge back in time to when relegation battles were just the way of life. But we are in one again and and it’s pretty obvious that David Moyes will be axed in the next week or so.

The policy of praying Moyes sorts things out because David Sullivan and his board desperately don’t want to change manager while they are trying to sell the club for a fat profit, has blatantly failed.

So now we seem to be thrashing around searching for a new man, no doubt with Sullivan being bombarded with offers from agents - his usual mode of business - but terrified that he may make a mistake.

He has sadly lost his right hand man David Gold for advice and you wonder what the accumulated football knowledge there is on a board made up from sons and daughters, friends and family, foreign investors and chancers (sorry, I mean investors and speculators) with one eye on the stadium and Olympic Park.

You are tempted to ask whether you would buy a used car from this lot, let alone allow them to pick a top-of-the-range football manager to run a Premier League club. But there you are, welcome back to the Stratford funny farm Mark, but then I bet you knew all this anyway.

I’ve never asked for Moyes to be sacked, I think he’s done a hell of a job these past two seasons dragging West Ham into the real, modern world where football people run the football and chairmen and directors keep out of it.

Again , I’ve constantly said that Moyes will live and die on results. Not his style of play, not his team selections. But with one point from 21 and one victory in the last ten league games, something has to be done.

Those of us, the usual 3,000 plus diehard away following, who stood in silent horror at Wolves on Saturday, will not want to sit through that dispiriting experience again in a hurry. It’s gone pear-shaped and no amount of pointing to a couple of top seven finishes and a European semi-final will wash now.

And that’s the real shame. I’m grateful to Moyes, he has given us something few thought possible: our best-ever Premier League record, a European journey, victories over Lyon and Seville, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City and United, all in little more than a year.

That’s why I found the foul-mouthed witch hunt, the personal abuse and the ludicrous obsession with Said Benrahma, so distasteful. We may live to regret the next few days, who knows?


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And of course the never-ending saga over transfers. Who buys the players, who does the deals, who makes the choices. The last transfer window looked impressive, but has not worked out. I refuse to accept that Sullivan doesn’t interfere, leopards don’t change their spots.

Moyes has been rightly criticised for some of those deals, for his slowness to act in the market. But I hear that he specifically asked for three players last summer, having done the ground work, and he got none of them - just three alternatives. You can speculate on them all. But I don’t believe that Lucas Paqueta, Thilo Kehrer, Emerson or even Maxwell Cornet were his first choices.

So we are where we are. The decision not to sack Moyes before the World Cup break is now severely under question. To give him five games at the restart to sort things - Arsenal, Brentford, Leeds, Wolves and Everton - has so far produced one point and we are in the bottom three. After Saturday’s game with Everton we have Derby in the cup, Newcastle, Chelsea and Spurs.

Good luck with them, whoever the new man is.

And that’s the rub. We are being told that nothing will happen this week until after the tribute to the late David Gold on Saturday. I’m sorry, that ridiculous; get a new man in now, the club’s whole future is at stake.

There have been fanciful rumours for weeks that the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel - who both want Champions League football and even Unai Emery were sounded out to no avail, but at times we seem to have been frozen in inertia, in the hope that things will improve, that we won’t have to act.

Now, after the Wolves disaster there seems a controlled panic as we punt around looking for a replacement who can hit the ground running. To my mind the best option with extensive Premier League experience is Sean Dyche. I have no problem with him, but our fans may well blow a fuse.

His teams work hard, are competitive, strong and fit. He did superbly with no money at Burnley, so who's to say he would not be more expansive with more money and better players? He’s pragmatic, a good organiser and takes no prisoners. I'd rather him than the long list of foreign coaches being suggested who would take time to bed in; time is what we do not have.

I believe Dyche is represented by the same firm that employs Karren Brady’s husband, so negotiations would be quick and that’s what we need. Frankly, waiting until after Everton is madness, and that’s no disrespect to David Gold’s memory.

And there is a need for stability quickly to let us function in the transfer window, with about two weeks to go. It's hard to see agents letting their player clients anywhere near West Ham without a new manager in place.

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