Is Moyes the right man to take West Ham forward?

The sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham United manager had an inevitable feel to it after last Saturday’s capitulation against Liverpool.

It was a defeat born of the naivety that saw two points squandered against Crystal Palace the previous weekend, with the game evenly poised until the Reds were criminally allowed to break out and bag the opener following a Hammers corner.

From there on in the result seemed a formality; even the brief hope offered by Manuel Lanzini’s strike to bring the scores back to 2-1 was snuffed out in seconds as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted the away side’s third.

In truth, Liverpool’s four could have been six or seven and ultimately someone had to pay the price, with Bilic promptly dismissed on Monday morning.

I wrote about the Croatian’s potential sacking in the middle of last week and whilst results have not been good enough, one argument I made for keeping Bilic was the lack of an obvious replacement.

With the club announcing David Moyes’ appointment on Tuesday, it seems that many of the Irons faithful share the view that the Scot is not an obvious upgrade on his predecessor.

The 54-year-old found success almost straight away in his managerial career, faring well with Preston North End in the lower reaches of the Football League before being handed his big break with Everton.

Whilst Moyes’ time on Merseyside is often portrayed as an unmitigated success, it is easy to forget that in his second full season in charge the Toffees finished 17th in the Premier League amid poor form and rumours of dressing room unrest.

In the modern climate he would in all likelihood have been shown the door midway through the term, but his record after that disastrous 2003-04 campaign was exemplary, extolling the benefits of giving a manager sufficient time to build a team and turn results around.

When Manchester United came calling in 2013, Moyes leapt at the chance to step up and replace compatriot Alex Ferguson, but he lasted less than a year and departed with the reigning champions seventh in the table having failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1995.

Following an indifferent spell in Spain with Real Sociedad, the former Celtic defender was named Sunderland boss at the start of last season.

Despite keeping hold of most of the squad that had lost just once in their final 11 matches of the prior campaign, Moyes oversaw a complete capitulation with the Wearsiders relegated after accumulating a meagre 24 points.

Supporters were angered when he publicly stated that the club were in a relegation battle after losing their opening two Premier League fixtures and whilst Moyes may claim that he was just being realistic, the fans perceived it as symptomatic of the negativity that surrounded his tenure.

Now, the man who took the Black Cats down has been drafted in to keep West Ham in the top flight.

The fact that, according to Sky Sports Italia, he was not the board’s first choice to succeed Bilic hardly inspires confidence.

The report claims that Carlo Ancelotti, Walter Mazzarri, Paulo Sousa, Ronald Koeman and Sean Dyche were all sounded out for the role before it went to Moyes.

Sky Sports revealed that his contract at the London Stadium runs for a mere six months, suggesting that this is a short-term fix and not one that is expected to produce outstanding results.

It would appear likely that unless Moyes can carve out a top-half finish, he will be let go in May when a more permanent appointment can be made.

For the club, this is a risky move and one that could further alienate fans who are already disillusioned with the direction the current hierarchy are taking them.

For Moyes, however, this is his final shot at Premier League redemption and one that he simply cannot allow to pass him by.