An Irrational Hatred of David Moyes

That trek into the Bedfordshire unknown brought it all back for some. Robert Banks' famous cult book 'An Irrational Hatred of Luton' sprung to mind, still as painfully funny now as it was then, first published 28 years ago.

It was about West Ham, and only West Ham fans really understand its joy and despair and continually losing at Kenilworth Road, from cup semi-finals to bog-standard league games.

It revealed the emotions of following our club, big in our own heads but not elsewhere, constantly the unsuspecting victims of ever glory day and the plunge into misery that always follows.

So there we were, putting to bed the memories of previous nightmares with a defiant 2-1 win, this cramped ground shoehorned into Victorian back-to-backs where you can watch ‘neighbours' in the bath, so it seems, from the away section - such comfort, three loos for over 1,000 of our lot I'm told.

Coming the week after we laid to rest our horror record at Brighton with a 3-1 win, still unbeaten and top of the table again, this time for 19 hours to add to the 21 hours we were leading the Premier League that it wasn't the length of time it took for some of our boys to get home on a train-free day.

But it got me thinking. It's about time for another sequel, maybe 'An Irrational Hatred of David Moyes'? Because that it what is has become for the obsessed anti-Moyes brigade who take every opportunity to denigrate our manager. And the longer this campaign continues, the more irrational it becomes.

Let's be honest, facts point to the contrary. Every passing week provides more evidence. Of course everyone has a perfect right to question selection, tactics, substitutions, why he only used new signing Mohammed Kudus in injury time. That sort of thing.

If you want to be pedantic, we've lost two of our last 11 games, reached a European final and won it, beaten Manchester United, and now are ruffling more than Chelsea's mangled feathers in our impressive start to this season. Oh, and we've sold our best player, and a couple more, for just over £140m, made four excellent signings and have a £17m profit. Happy days, David Sullivan.

The facts supporting Moyes just keep coming. it's now his best ever Premier League start, and it equals our best. He has won more games than any other of the 11 managers we've had in the Premier League years. And his goals per game average is also our best since the PL came into existence in 1992. You will know by now, I hate the term Premier League record, which is a nonsense, utterly ignoring everything that happened before, like Jimmy Greaves' goals tally etc. You get my point.

So Moyes, with over 1,000 games now to his credit, continues to confound the critics, and from Lady B's appearance on TalkTripe today, the board are more than satisfied with the manager. And from the six seasons he has had in charge of the club, that's brought in something like £800m Sky and TV money plus all the extra cash that keeps flooding into the club. I'm waiting for someone to call him the £1billion man, because that must be what his tenure has produced by now.

Those sort of figures are really all that Sullivan, Brady and the board are concerned about in the long run. There are too many pitfalls out there for them to want to change from old Mr. Reliable, even if it was well recorded that Sullivan wanted to axe him last season if we'd have lost at Fulham, or even after the European final. Three games they gave him. It makes you laugh.

Ok, I'd rather watch Manchester City in full flow, Barcelona of a few years back, but I hate Arsenal's demented high press and so many clubs are aping it now. So Moyes goes for the counter attacking system now being seriously mulled over by analytical experts.

And also by pundits, who are at last not just dismissing us as a defensive team scraping for our lives. There is planning, a carefully constructed game plan, zonal marking, Michail Antonio's Trojan work up front and a rapid transition when opponents make mistakes.

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A couple of weeks back Match of the Day dissected our system and Ashley Williams, a pragmatic guy who went from non-league at Hednesford and working the rides at a fairground to captaining Wales in a European semi-final, explained how effective West Ham's system is and how much defenders hate facing Antonio. Since then there have been a few more thoughtful appraisals of how we operate. It took time.

You might not like it, that's perfectly acceptable, but the sly, sneering personal abuse the man gets from social media and a fair few of our YouTube and fans sites is not acceptable. Anyway, you might get your chance to put the knife in soon, Mark Warburton hasn't been slow to, hasn't he? In our next four games we face Manchester City, Liverpool, Sheffield United and Newcastle. How many points from that little lot?

Jarrod Bowen has typified the solid spirit that has grown in our dressing room, he gets it that we must play to our strengths - and that means him. He's the first player to score in each of our first three away games since 1930 and he's equalled a record by one of our true legends. Vic Watson, West Ham United's all-time record goalscorer, who scored in the first three away games of the 1930-31 season, a spell that saw him hit 11 in the first seven games of that season. Now there's a record for Bowen to have a go at.

The transfer window went well, four very decent signings. But if anyone had any doubt that we had no budget outside the revenue from transfers, they're just not paying attention. We had a one in, one out rule all summer.

That seems to have been underlined by claims that we had a £30m move for French striker Elye Wahi ready to go which was abandoned when the Lucas Paqueta move went belly up. Wahi went to Lens instead.

And I cannot understand why the newly-sainted Tim Steidten went off to Brazil for the final part of the window. I doubt Moyes would have been over-keen on untried Brazilians, so you have to wonder if they were Timmy the Jet's ideas - unlikely, as his expertise is clearly in Europe - or even Sullivan's.

Either way it wasted precious time when the window was in full swing, when Steidten's talents for sealing deals under intense pressure and jetting back over the Channel with his prey should have taken precedence. Mind you, Kudus's agent, Jennifer Mendelewitsch (not his partner, girlfriend or wife as so many assumed) looked decidedly unhappy with not getting the picture rights for Steidten's customary mid-air shot.

The deals have been excellent, in particular the outstanding Edson Alvarez, who it has now emerged has been a Moyes target for over two years and was scouted by Mark Noble last season, while Steidten was still a twinkle in Sullivan's eye.

By hook or by crook, we still have Paqueta, Antonio and Pablo Fornals, while Ben Johnson, Aaron Cresswell and Maxi Cornet all missed potential transfers on that last day. How the hell did Sky and the Premier League think playing a match that same evening was a good idea? Words escape me sometimes, how could we operate in the window effectively?

I noticed too that it was the Sky interviewer who quizzed an annoyed Moyes on the subject, a segment that was not surprisingly cut from Sky's after match transmission. Someone didn't get the memo, obviously.

So why didn't Kudus get more time at Luton? My view is that it would have been daft to throw him into such a match. I doubt that he has ever seen anything like it while playing in Denmark and then the rarefied atmosphere of Ajax's technically brilliant coaching system. For him to handle the physicality, pace and power of that sort of game would not have been his best baptism in English football. His time will come.

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