When Marlon Brando built his portrayed mafia empire, ultimately he knew that his power was only as strong as the loyalty of his men and the legacy endowed upon his children. In Moyes, we have our very own Vito Corleone…The Boss…the man with the plan…The Godfather to guide us to premier legitimacy with his Genco Oil silky smooth football…or so we would hope.
With the assured assistance from his Caporegimes in the form of Tessio and Clemenza aka Irvine and McKinlay and the pitbull spirt of his Luca Brasi aka Pearce, Moyes has set to war against his rivals clans and has gone ‘to the mattresses’. There will be casualties along the way, there will be losses but in the end to the victor belongs the spoils and the rest can ‘sleep with the fishes’.
During the early period of the Moyes regime, there was a noticeable absence of some senior players in the starting line up and most notably that of Mark Noble. Mr West Ham it seems was one of those identified as being the weak link in the new plan. Although to the outside world all was well within the West Ham camp…Omerta still respected, there seemed to be a point of order and some players needed to show their worth…they had to prove their loyalty to the cause, they had to prove that they could save the family business.
When Noble returned it seemed the missing link had been found in a midfield that had lost its way and had continued to do so. In his very first game, whilst Vito stood on the touchline coaching his new team, the boss’s son; Michael, took onboard instructions and proceeded to relay those orders to his fellow foot soldiers. Noble soon materialised as the true leader on the pitch and a legacy could now be planned. Vito had seen his son return from the wars and whilst he suffered in a coma after the 4-0 defeat at Everton…Noble would become the man who could save West Ham’s fortunes…he became Michael…The next Godfather in waiting.
Of course nothing is ever truly smooth sailing, especially where the Iron’s will is concerned. Within the midfield battleground there lurked talents that blew hot and cold and others that were veritable no hopers. ‘Sonny’ Obiang and ‘Fredo’ Kouyate were drafted partners to sure up the centre mass but usually missed the target with embarrassing consequences. Moyes…just like Vito, no doubt could see the limitations of his sons and the fragility of his Fredo…but just like any father, he would continue to put his trust in a man never thinking betrayal is just around the corner.
Noble has continued to defy the naysayers of last season and indeed since his reintroduction, he has shone bright and led the midfield with assurance and nurtured a growing creativity. Many would look to the likes of Arnautovic and Lanzini as the orchestrators of our growing fortunes…but one should look no further than the true protagonist of our rise…Mr West Ham himself.
As any fan I get frustrated with our team’s and individual performances and whilst I thought he needed to be rested during his tiresome days, I certainly never felt that he was past it. I always hoped for the wayward son to return to the fold, take out Sollozzo and McCluskey and bring us back to our comfort zone.
We should note the team’s performances when he is absent and being in stark contrast to when he takes the field. Everything clicks…poetry in motion, laying it all on the line and providing that much needed link up play from defence to our strikers. However it is his obvious respect for Moyes and his willingness to follow the code, to point, push and pull the team in all directions that has won my new found respect and admiration.
When he played against Stoke City, his performance was largely overlooked even though he scored a very cool and well placed penalty. A man with a history of success from the spot, stepped up and did it again. When he was substituted in the first half for a knock he received, his replacement in Declan Rice came on to show lots of potential and had another great game. In doing so almost took the much warranted spotlight away from Noble.
With absences in subsequent games, I wondered if we would ever see the puppeteer again, but thankfully the wait was brief and when he returned…he once again pulled the strings with a secured confidence of an experienced campaigner.
We know the plaudits will go to those much further up the field, but we must remember they require service in order to function. In Noble they have found the postman who always delivers and the midfield never looked better. However, there is a big dark cloud that remains with the stubbornness of a cantankerous old fart…what do we do if Noble doesn’t play or has a dip in form?
Whilst he works well with Obiang, affording him to do the basics well, Obiang himself struggles to find form when teamed up with Kouyate. Moyes has tried to introduce some youth in midfield in cup games; notably Cullen, Rice and Quina but yet has he found confidence in a pairing whilst we cannot fathom the continued loyalty to Kouyate, although in fairness even Fredo has shown some meagre signs of improvement in the last couple of games.
Football is a performance based business and ultimately results are all that matter, they contest doubt and confidence which is in a continuous struggle. The final verdict being bestowed on the first fallen, namely being the manger. So it is a puzzle why Moyes still shows solidarity with Kouyate who clearly isn’t at the races. Whilst he may improve in occasional games, his performances are still well below par of his fellow teammates.
Possibly, this is a cunning illustration of a squad that is in dire need of strengthening and Moyes hopes the funds will be forthcoming to attract new signings. However until then we must rely on the new old statesman in midfield, Al Pacino’s Michael to continue the family business, to go to the mattresses until the end of the season and send Fredo out on the boat to put him out his misery. He is the weak link and a shoeing to be placed on the transfer list. That may be cold but that is how the Corleone’s do it…betrayal is always met with an ice cold like vendetta.