David Moyes is a good football manager. What he is not, however, is an elite football manager.
He illustrated this clearly five seasons ago when he was given an elite job at Manchester United and failed miserably at it.
He then failed miserably at the slightly less elite Real Sociedad before going on to fail miserably at the even less elite Sunderland, whom he relegated at the first time of asking. Of the five managerial jobs he held before West Ham, he failed miserably at three of them – that’s a solid 60 per cent of miserable failure.
And yet, Moyesy has recently come out and said that he is “capable of doing the job at any club in the world.” For Davey, it’s obviously a complete mystery as to why he is in charge of relegation-threatened, trophyless-since-the-eighties West Ham United rather than Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Conveniently, he appears to have wiped his memory clear of those abject, pathetic reigns at Old Trafford, the Anoeta and the Stadium of Light. Sadly for him, however, no-one else has. For most people, the legacy of Moyes will be his spending £27m on Marouane Fellaini and masterminding a seventh-place Premier League finish for England’s biggest team a year after they were crowned champions.
It’s hard to see him shaking off the reputation he has garnered over the past half-decade, starting with that iconic spell in Manchester. And that’s because he has done quite a lot to earn that reputation. Sure, there were mitigating circumstances at United, but you still have to show a serious level of incompetence to turn perennial title challengers into mid-table anonymes.
The responsibility of managing the Red Devils was clearly too much for Moyes.
He just wasn’t, and never will be, good enough to take charge of a club like that.
There’s no shame in this: such a statement would apply to 99.99% of people. But, of course, 99.99% of people aren’t loudly claiming they’re capable of managing any club in the world in the face of fairly overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
A wide chasm separates the likes of David Moyes from the very few coaches who are truly suited to working with the planet’s best players and moulding them into a group who go out and win 70% or more of their matches. No matter what the lunatic fringe says, the biggest clubs are rightly the preserve of the very best; the most innovative, technically and strategically adept managers.
It takes an entirely different skillset to that possessed by Moyesy and his ilk to succeed at that level – quite simply, Pep, Conte and Co exist on a higher plane. What works at, for example, Everton or Burnley, probably won’t work at Barcelona or Bayern or PSG.
That said, at this stage in his career you probably wouldn’t even trust Moyesy to take charge of the aforementioned Premier League middleweights. For quite some time now, he has looked a beaten man, a figure who was once a bright young thing but who has since fallen behind the times.
Granted, he has started well at West Ham, but you wouldn’t be confident of that state of affairs continuing for too much longer.
The Moyes Renaissance is unlikely to extend beyond the limited boundaries of the New Manager Bounce.
Rather than allowing his own hubris to call attention upon himself and thus expose him along with his team to ridicule, he would have been better served by just shutting up and enjoying the brief hiatus from humiliation while he still can.