David Moyes has denied that taking over from Slaven Bilic at West Ham represents his last chance in football management and the Scot is confident he can arrest a slump that has left his new side in the relegation zone.
Before Sunday’s trip to face Watford at Vicarage Road Moyes pledged to tackle the indiscipline that has undermined West Ham’s dreadful start to the campaign and led to Bilic becoming the first manager to leave the club during the course of a season since Alan Curbishley resigned in September 2008.
His replacement returns to the Premier League looking refreshed after leaving Sunderland in the summer following their relegation and, at 54, still feels he has plenty to offer despite difficult spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad before last season’s implosion at the Stadium of Light.
“I don’t think it’s my last chance,” Moyes said. “If you look at managers in the Premier League, most have managed 10-12 clubs. Look at Jupp Heynckes, he’s had about 14 clubs and has just gone back to Bayern at 70. It’s possible to manage lots of clubs. Is this my last chance? No.”
After 11 largely successful years at Everton when they consistently punched above their weight, Moyes still has plenty of credit in the bank and, most importantly, West Ham’s co-owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, clearly trust him to turn things round quickly. But a short-term contract until the end of the season is an indication that he has, unlike Heynckes, something to prove once again, having started his management career at Preston in 1998.
Moyes, who will become only the fourth manager after Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and Harry Redknapp to take charge of 500 Premier League matches, admitted he will be under more pressure on Sunday than during his first Everton match in 2002, when the current caretaker, David Unsworth, scored after 30 seconds in a 2-1 win over Fulham. They went on to avoid relegation easily and, in an effort to instil some of his methods, Stuart Pearce – who made 50 appearances for West Ham between 1999 and 2001 – has been added to the coaching staff in his first post since leaving Nottingham Forest in February 2015. Moyes expects him to have a major influence on and off the pitch.
“I think Stuart Pearce will play a big role. He said we need to make sure everyone is connected with the supporters,” said Moyes. “We are not going to play at another stadium. We are playing at our stadium and we are going to be winning games over the years at our stadium and the supporters and the players need to get used to that. Stuart has brought a bit of what was here before; he knows what it was like. I hope we can pull that together. Will the supporters make it easy for us? If we win. If we don’t, it will be a lot harder.”