Did David Moyes Do a Good Job at West Ham?

As the 2023/24 Premier League season drew to a close, the managerial merry-go-round continued to spin. Roberto De Zerbi called time on his spell at Brighton, Mauricio Pochettino headed for the Stamford Bridge exit, and West Ham United boss, David Moyes, drew a line under his second spell in charge of the Hammers – swiftly being replaced by Julen Lopetegui.

The 2023/24 campaign may not have gone as well as many at the London Stadium would have hoped, with some in the stands calling for Moyes’ replacement due to the perceived negative style of the side. However, a ninth-placed finish is hardly a disaster, and Lopetegui may have his work cut out to match the feats of his predecessor. Here, we look back on Moyes’ spell in the hot seat, which, whilst featuring its share of ups and downs, represented a definite upgrade on what had come before.

West Ham League Position

West Ham Premier League Final Position

Moyes the Relegation Firefighter

Looking at the past 10 Premier League seasons, an early high point came with the 2015/16 seventh-placed finish under Slaven Bilić. However, by November 2017, the stock of the Croatian had fallen, with West Ham loitering down in 18th position. Moyes was the man brought in to replace Bilić and promptly led the side to nine wins and 10 draws from 31 games and a comfortable 13th-placed finish. A successful, albeit short, stay first time around, with Moyes departing at the end of the season.

Finishing a promising 10th under Manuel Pellegrini in 2018/19, West Ham again began to wobble, sitting 17th in December 2019. Having worked the oracle the last time the Hammers found themselves in a spot of bother, Moyes stepped in for a second time. The results weren’t as impressive this time, with Moyes’ tally of 20 points from 19 games only one point more than Pellegrini’s 19 from as many matches. Nevertheless, that was good for survival, and, this time, Moyes stuck around.

Moyes the Record Breaker

The decision to stick with the ex-Everton boss was immediately vindicated. Finally given a full pre-season to work with the squad and influence recruitment, Moyes forged one of the most impressive Hammers sides seen in years, built around Declan Rice’s all-action midfield displays, and inspired purchases Jarrod Bowen, Tomáš Souček, and Vladimír Coufal. West Ham’s tallies of 19 wins, nine away wins, and 65 points were all Premier League records for the club – earning Moyes the nickname “Moyesiah” and the club a place in the Europa League.

New Contract & Consistency

Understandably impressed with the progress the club had made, West Ham handed Moyes a new three-year contract in June 2021, with the club seemingly headed into a new season on their firmest footing in a decade – the key arrivals coming in the shape of attacking midfielder Nikola Vlašić and centreback duo Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma. It’s fair to say the Vlašić deal didn’t work out, but Dawson and Zouma served the club with distinction.

Remaining solid in a Rice-led midfield, and with Michail Antonio and Bowen each reaching double figures for the season, West Ham continued their good work with a seventh-placed finish, a run to the Europa League Semi-Final, and a place in the following season’s Europa Conference League.

Moyes the Trophy Winner

In years to come, the exact finishing positions of West Ham under Moyes may become blurred in supporters’ minds, but one memory will surely endure – that magical night in Prague on 7 June 2023.

Having safely navigated the Group and knockout rounds, West Ham faced Italian outfit Fiorentina at the Fortuna Arena. Following a back-and-forth opening period, the Hammers were handed the opportunity to take the lead from the spot following a VAR consultation. No mistake from Saïd Benrahma, who fired home high to the right-hand side. Back came Fiorentina, with the West Ham lead lasting all of seven minutes – Giacomo Bonaventura controlling expertly in the right of the area and sending a well-placed effort across Lukasz Fabianski into the bottom left.

And then, in the 90th minute, came the most iconic moment in West Ham’s recent history; Jarrod Bowen springing the offside trap in the left channel to latch onto an exquisitely weighted through ball from marquee summer signing Lucas Paquetá, and, with the backtracking defenders closing in, firing home via a slight touch off the keeper. Cue pandemonium. Chaos in the stands, Moyes on the pitch, as West Ham lifted their first major trophy for 43 years.

Moyes Win Percentage Measures Up

David Moyes
David Moyes (Egghead06, CC BY 4.0 via Wikipedia)

That European success appeared to take a toll on the Hammers league form, with the club slipping to a 14th-place finish in that 2022/23 campaign. However, that is a common symptom of clubs new to European success, and 2023/24 represented a solid step back in the right direction, particularly following the loss of midfield lynchpin Declan Rice to Arsenal.

Overall, West Ham achieved an average League position of ninth over Moyes’ four full seasons in charge, compared to an average of 11th over the six previous seasons, including the two when Moyes staved off relegation. An improvement of two league positions is no mean feat in the most high-profile league on the planet, and Moyes’ win percentage also reads well compared to the previous men in the hot seat.

Manager West Ham Win Percentage
Sam Allardyce 37.60%
Slaven Bilić 37.84%
Manuel Pellegrini 37.50%
David Moyes (overall) 42.75%
David Moyes (second spell only) 44.59%

Moyes Did All That He Could

The 2023/24 campaign may have ended on an underwhelming note, but Moyes’ overall record bears up to the closest scrutiny. Whilst West Ham are one of the biggest and most historic clubs in the land, in the 21st century Premier League, they lie some way behind the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Liverpool in terms of financial might. With that in mind, expecting Moyes to forge a side who are suddenly capable of launching a title challenge was simply unrealistic – as it is for most teams outside of the big six.

To improve the club’s average finishing position – including back-to-back top seven finishes for the first time in their history – record a significantly better win percentage than his predecessors, and end all those years of hurt with that UEFA Europa Conference League Trophy, we would suggest that, not only did Moyes do a good job, but he was the greatest West Ham manager of the 21st century.