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Premier League: West Ham…Be Careful what you Wish for.

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David Moyes is set to leave West Ham United at the end of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign and his departure will signal the end of a short but significant era in the history of the East End club.  

After a sustained period of mediocre entertainment and low achievement the Hammers have enjoyed something of a renaissance under Moyes and, last season, they won the Europa Conference League, a first piece of major silverware since they won the FA Cup way back in 1980.  

Okay, the Hammers have been edged out of the top six race this season but it seems odd to this SBOTOP writer that many of the West Ham fans are so keen to see a change at the helm. Sure, there’s always a case for constant evolution; nobody can stand still in the fast moving world of the English top flight; but at the end of the day it’s Premier League 2024 highlights that matter and Moyes has consistently delivered throughout his four year tenure at the London Stadium. 

And, after beating Luton Town in his last home game in charge the wily Scot was warmly applauded as most of the 60,000 crowd stayed log after the final whistle. Moyes was waving happily to the fans and signing autographs; though this was a far cry for the criticism he has received during a poor run of results in the New Year.

But fans can be fickle and they certainly have short memories.

When Moyes was helicoptered in back in December 2019 the club was in a mess, battling in a relegation fight and with the fans openly hostile. Since then the Hammers have had three European campaigns and won their first trophy in 43 years.

Doubtless the supporters who have been calling for the manager’s head were not around when their club picked up that 1980 FA Cup. And, back in the present, the Premier League 2024 betting odds pitched the Hammers as ninth favourites and that’s exactly where they currently stand.

But even last summer, with the Europa prize in the trophy cabinet some fans were not happy, and now they have got their wish.

So Moyes is on his way and he will surely pick up another big job…if he wants to. But who will be the next manager through the doors at the London Stadium…and will he stay as long as the Scot did?   


Premier League: Julen Lopetegui ready to take the London stadium
West Ham to take Julen Lopetegui as their next manager

Former Sevilla and Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui has become the red hot favourite to take over at West Ham and he has the European pedigree, having won the Europa League with Los Sevillistas; but he left Wolves after just a year in charge due to disagreements with the board. He has apparently agreed to join the Hammers but the contracts have not yet been signed; and fans are concerned that he may ditch their club too if he falls out with the owners.  

Lopetegui is rumoured to have players lined up to join him already so it seems an appointment is just around the corner.

But the book hasn’t closed just yet and two young English managers have also been linked in recent days. Former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter might be ready for a return to the Premier League after his ill-fated year at Chelsea. He became known for his free flowing football and tactical innovations as manager of Swansea City and then the Seagulls, but the madness of Stamford Bridge was too much for him and he has since been linked with both the Sweden national coach job and the manager role at Ajax of Amsterdam.

Potter may be a better long term bet than Lopetegui but is seems the Spaniard is at the head of the queue.   

Former Hammers player Michael Carrick has been mentioned too. After he retired from an illustrious playing career with Manchester United, winning five Premier league titles and a Champions League winners medal, Carrick joined the coaching staff at Old Trafford. He took over as caretaker manager after Ole Gunnar Solksjaer departed and he recorded two wins and a draw in his three match reign.

In 2022 Carrick took over as head coach of Championship side Middlesbrough, guiding them to fourth place before losing a play-off semi-final against Coventry City. This season Boro have finished eighth and they will be in the group of favourites for promotion next years.

Maybe Carrick needs another year at this level before he takes a Premier League job.      

So for now it’s goodbye to Moyes, who is among the group of managers who can rightly claim they have made a difference at their clubs in the Premier League.

He will be a hard act to follow and I wonder how the fans and the club will react if the new man makes a slow start…


 

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