So, our worst fears came true, West Ham were completely outplayed by the League 1 leaders and the problems only further compounded by a nasty looking injury to Obiang and a 6 game ban for Masuaku following his sending off. The reaction to the defeat seems either to be complete apathy (not bothered about the up anyway) or blind fury (Moyes out, the Board out etc). Let’s be clear, Moyes did not save many for Tuesday mainly because he couldn’t. We face so many injuries that I think he put out somewhere close to the strongest side available to him, West Ham were abject, lacking leadership and coherence, a gutless performance is the only way to describe it. What this does is highlight the split between what the supporters want and how a manager is appraised by his board whose parameters for success are driven by other factors.
For clubs like West Ham Premier League status is everything, it keeps them in the top table, where the huge sums of money are split between the aristocrats of not only English football but World Football. In the recently published Deloitte money League West Ham are placed 17th I have seen people rejoice in this but what does it mean for club like West Ham, for Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid etc it means they have the money to buy the players to keep them winning trophies, to invest in the club, improve scouting to employ the best coaches. For West Ham it is the endless struggle of the upwardly mobile, the struggle to stay in the game for the board this is the key League table. For a fan however it must be about silverware about the glory of winning something, we live in a world where 17th in the Premier League is a greater achievement than an FA Cup or League Cup win why? because of money. For David Moyes Tuesday’s result will have a greater impact on his longer-term employment than Saturday’s ever would, it is not David Moyes fault and I think he is doing a great job but for me it’s the parameters of how a manager is judged is wrong.
Our League Cup game against Arsenal was a dull affair with both teams playing out a turgid game in a half-full stadium, it really had the feeling that most people would have rather been anywhere else, this is a local derby in the quarter final of a cup competition. If you compare the fact that a club would receive 100 grand for winning the League Cup and 97 million for finishing 20th in the league you can perhaps have some sympathy for the money men, in the cold light of day it makes financial sense. But here’s the thing; most supporters don’t care about the money, in truth, finishing between 17th and 7th makes very little difference, it’s the chance of glory that we want, a cup run, nothing to do with money and people who aren’t connected to the club in the way the fans are will never understand it. Like most things in life, we need a bit of both; a bit of cold hard business acumen but not at the expense of the dreams of the supporters. I don’t blame Moyes or the board really, it is how it is and it won’t change.
On to Crystal Palace, this is a tough game no doubt against a rested and very well drilled team, West Ham are four points clear of the relegation zone, their main strength has been their ability to score, losing Lanzini and Arnautovic along with Carroll and Sahko, leaves us with Martinez and Hernandez. Hopefully Joao Mario can hit the ground running and be a creative influence that will be lacking without Lanzini. I expect Cullen to keep his place and Noble to return. The loss of Masuaku is another destabilising factor, that level of stupidity must drive managers to distraction. The one positive is that West Ham will be forced to give the youngsters a chance, I hope they can take it with both hands. We have a number of very winnable games ahead, the players owe the fans a performance and I’m hoping they deliver on Tuesday.