And the new manager is?

So to absolutely no-one’s surprise, West Ham’s indecision is final. Or should that just be David Sullivan’s indecision?

After months of hate-fuelled, vicious, vile, venomous abuse aimed at David Moyes by those that claim to have the ear of the power at the club, it looks like Moyes will walk away in the summer at the end of his contract.


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The bottom line is that when you think of changing managers in February, you just walk into a long line of football’s unemployed coaches who have been sacked by Premier League clubs, has-beens filling their bank balances in the desert or unlikely candidates from home and abroad without an ounce of experience at our level.

Or Jose Mourinho, who will cost you shed loads. And we all know what Sullivan and his board think on that score.

So after the disaster of Arsenal and the chilling failure at Nottingham Forest - when the gullible expected the manager to be sacked in the tunnel (or was it the toilet in Avram Grant’s case?) - it will be Moyes sent out the face 60,000 fans on Monday against Brentford.

As lame ducks go, our statistically best-ever Premier League manager is now as lame as you can get. And I’m not so sure he deserves that. Is he there because Sullivan won’t pay him and his staff off? Is he there because the list of potentials being thrown at our owner by countless agents, is painfully weak?

Or is he there because at this stage of the campaign riddled with intrigue and rumours over our ownership, nobody wants to rock the boat when there is money to be made?

You hear rumours that the shares Vanessa Gold are knocking out are close to being sold. Now that won’t change the balance of power much, but whoever is buying isn’t coming in to just shower Sullivan with money to pay off debts - as Daniel Kretinsky found out.

There should be more investment, there are people who still believe they can get their hands on the stadium, or that Sullivan may one day soon be looking for a way out. Who knows. But you still have to ask yourself what happens to the ownership and future of the London Stadium - so heavily linked with that image of Boris Johnson - if there’s a change of Government?

Before Christmas, Moyes and the club were holding talks about his future, as you’d have expected with his contract running out in June. Those talks would have taken into account his body of work over four years, the near-establishment of the club in the top half of the Premier League, the European trophy won.

The vast flow of money into the club’s coffers by virtue of all that and the position of 24th in European coefficient after many years in the wilderness of the 100s.

Looking from the outside the case for Moyes looked solid, despite the long debate over the style of play and the abuse he gets from some quarters, attacking his personality, character, professional ability and even his religious beliefs - I still can’t get my head round that disgusting level of attack.

But six Premier League games without a win (eight in all, if you count Bristol City) has changed all that, it seems. How much of a crisis it is depends on your viewpoint. But we are 15 points better off at this stage than last season and our record over the last 14 league games is W6 D4 L 4. Three points from the last 18, though, has severely damaged our campaign.

And of course the growing roar of complaint about the style of play is always there. Leaving the City Ground I felt that we had reached a watershed, regardless of whether you want or don’t want Moyes, and the split is nowhere near as wide as some may think or try to convince you. But I did expect a change this week, it’s the way of the world.

There was plenty of talk about the way Moyes is being hounded by the clarets and the boozers, and plenty who feel he deserves more respect than he gets. As we as the lack of dignity being shown.

I don’t agree with ‘Moyes Out’ banners in the away section, that same banner we saw at Fulham last season. Do the owners drag it around to every match in hope it gets an airing, or are they more selective? Did it go to Prague? It must be a pig to get through security.

But you felt we had got to a stage where a change was needed. In or out, shake it all about. Wherever you stand, we had got past the debate stage and into the playground politics. But a week has gone by and nothing, apart from whispers of inaction.

You hear the board don’t want to sack him, they want to help him put things right. A bit rich that after failing to help him in the last transfer window, the worst on record by a mile.

That was a disgrace. The more rumours you hear, the worst it gets. And Tim Steidten has learnt what it’s like working for Sullivan. Our new technical director identified and worked on the Ibrahim Osman deal for weeks, maybe months. And then finds the plug pulled because it was too expensive a gamble. Brighton clearly didn’t agree.

And then when it became clear that there was no money for the window, both Steidten and Moyes - we are told - tried to pull the deals to sell Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma, only to be overruled.


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Welcome to West Ham, Tim, this is what it’s always like. Remember the similar situation with Amadou Onana, when Rob Newman and Moyes had identified, as requested, a replacement for Declan Rice? That deal never happened because of the costs too.

Everyone seems surprised when small clubs from small leagues want a bigger wedge of Premier League riches at the last moment. Everton paid up and my friends at Goodison say he saved them from relegation, and might do the same again.

It seems no surprise that mere days after the window ended with no incomings, Steidten was linked with Liverpool and there’s now a suggestion he’ll walk in the summer if he doesn’t get more power. Now there’s a surprise.

So we now have Steidten openly being asked to find a replacement for Moyes, if it is needed. You’d have to laugh if it wasn’t so serious. The circus is back in town. You would sense that certain members of our board, dysfunctional as it is, are not too impressed with the antics of Sullivan and his agent pals. Steidten won’t get this crap at Liverpool, will he?

And what of our players? Some have arrived recently, being sold a load of old pony about Europe and progress to a higher level. (I believe Moyes has already achieved one step up a level with league position and three years in Europe, but what do I know?)

Then there’s the rest of the squad who, until Christmas, were in the top six, in Europe’s last 16 and in a couple of cups. They would have looked to the transfer window not to see three of their team mates being sold, but expecting reinforcement.

These lads have ambitions too and like it or not, Moyes had given them that stage. But it’s now being slowly destroyed. Sold a lie, some may think.

So we will wait and see what the Europa League last 16 draw brings, and whether we can pull our league season around while the powers that be at the club and their client sites and YouTubers on line squabble and rant.

They’ll spend their time insulting pundits, former England captains and players who have achieved much at the top level, for having the temerity to question decisions involving Moyes and what has been achieved in recent season.

And we’ll sink into more rounds of ideological discussions about style and entertainment; comparisons with players and teams from a different age, with very different financial circumstances.

Maybe the desire to see us fighting for a Champions League spot and general betterment is valid, of course we can dream. But what is possible under current regulations is debatable.

Just look at Newcastle, with their vast unspent wealth. They employed Dan Ashworth as technical director from Brighton, because he was considered the best around.

But they found they could not spend their money on Ashworth’s wish list because of the strangling regulations of FFP. They ended up hawking an injury prone 30-something striker around in the final days of the window desperate to get him off the wage bill.

Ashworth is then poached by Manchester United where those FFP rules have nowhere near the same impact. Those rules were brought in supposedly to protect clubs from themselves, but really they are only there to stop aspiring clubs from challenging the elite, at home and abroad.

West Ham don’t have the money or the potential investment to challenge at that level. Moyes sees a way of getting close with a pragmatic, OK boring style. It has worked to an extent, but not well enough for some folk.

Everton tried under Moyes, and more rashly now. Newcastle, Forest, Wolves, even Aston Villa have given it a go. Manchester City have got themselves into plenty of trouble as well. They are all walking an FFP tightrope. We deserve better, but is it feasible? Breaking into that top four/five/six looks near impossible.

But it seems sure now that Moyes will be gone by the summer. Then we will need knowledge of the system, the right choice as a successor with experience rather than just an untried punt and the finances to match. You wonder whether Moyes has taken West Ham as far as the club can go.

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