David Moyes almost certain to keep West Ham United job with Europa Conference League win - Martin Samuel
Premier League survival will not be enough to save David Moyes’ West Ham job but a Europa Conference League “almost certainly” would says Martin Samuel.
The Hammers’ fairly serene progress through the third-tier European competition this season has been heavily at odds with their stuttering descent towards relegation domestically.
Moyes has come under pressure from the stands and the dressing room but has so far retained support from the board room, but Samuel believes it will now take more than beating the drop to keep him in a job past the summer and a first ever European trophy would do it.
Writing in The Times on Tuesday (14 March) Samuel said: “West Ham have not won a competition of significance since the 1980 FA Cup; and the club has never qualified for Europe three years in succession.
“So if Moyes could be the first manager to deliver that, almost certainly he would stay. If he doesn’t, it is hard to see how he can.”
He went on: “Even if West Ham survive, a stay of execution on goal difference or by the odd place will not be enough to prevent change.
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“It is becoming increasingly clear: the Europa Conference League may be the object of derision elsewhere, but winning it is about the only card Moyes has left to play.”
Last chance saloon
The manager’s ability to juggle league and continental commitments is surely going to be under the microscope after this year whether he lifts the trophy or not.
Advancing to the semi-final of the Europa League last season was a memorable experience for this fanbase, but the club paid for it with a miserable run of form through 2022 in the league which saw them fall out of Champions League contention and finish seventh.
Performances in all competitions have left plenty of room for improvement in the current campaign, but at least in the Conference League West Ham have been getting results, which can’t be said with any regularity in the top flight.
Logically it would be difficult to boot out a manager just after he’s emulated Jose Mourinho and lifted the trophy, but it would hardly be the first time in football.
And it will surely depend on just how close to the wire it gets with regards to relegation, because even if he wins the Conference League he would surely be gone at the first hint of a repeat league performance to start next season.
The board don’t appear to be in any mood to make a change so if he stays up he could be given a second chance either way, and perhaps he deserves the opportunity to prove this season was an aberration in that case.
But the hierarchy are going to need to be totally sure that he can turn things around if they stick with him in the summer, because starting a new year and only then changing the manager will rob the new one of a valuable pre-season.