Words by Esteban Ramirez
West Ham’s historic performances of late have earned David Moyes the title of ‘Messiah’ amongst West Ham fans.
After keeping West Ham in the Premier League in the 2017/18 season, Moyes was shown the door by David Sullivan, to be replaced by Manuel Pellegrini. In his time, the big-name, highly anticipated Chilean guided the hammers to 17th, just one point above the relegation zone.
On the 29th December 2019, Moyes was reinstated as manager of the club, a moment that can be looked back on as the beginning of a new era. Gone were the days of lacklustre signings, embarrassing performances and scuffles in the stands.
Moyes began to build a foundation and character that has so far brought the club to 3rd in the Premier League after 11 games, top of their group in the Europa League, and have a place booked in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup.
One factor of success Moyes has mentioned in numerous interviews is that of his player signing policy.
Many West Ham fans remember the influx of players brought in after the 2015/16 season in anticipation of Europa League football, and the subsequent lack of cohesion and identity in the squad.
It can be fair to say David Sullivan and Gold have learnt from this mistake. Moyes’ philosophy of carefully selecting players and avoiding panic buys have served them greatly.
The ‘Czech-mates’ Soucek & Coufal were the first to be brought in, slotting straight into the first-team and building the foundations for an East London–Czech partnership that may be solidified in gold with potential investment from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.
In his first season, Soucek won Hammer of the Year, whilst Coufal embodied a classic West Ham character – a hard-headed, brick-wall villain at right-back.
The addition of Benrahma and Kurt Zouma have given instant return, the former shining in the Europa League with 3 goals in 4 games, and the latter forming a formidable partnership with veteran Angelo Ogbonna. Zouma took the spot of the previous season’s signing Craig Dawson, who (paired with Ogbonna) helped West Ham’s defence to not lose by more than 2 goals in 10 months.
At a time when everything seems to be going right for West Ham, they are helped by the development of certain players concurrent with this upturn in form. Pablo Fornals has become a regular midfield-maestro in the midfield, whilst Michael Antonio has turned into one of the leagues strongest and quickest strikers.
Lest we forget, however, the foundations of the team’s success: the emergence of 22-year-old midfielder Declan Rice.
In 3 years, the Bobby Moore-esque current West Ham and future England captain has become one of the best players in the game in his position. Leading his club in all defensive stats, he is the Michel Angelo of West Ham’s renaissance.
In a fairy-tale final season for club hero Mark Noble, and under the guidance of the ‘Messiah’, the Hammers will believe they can achieve anything this season.