West Ham Women Expert: How Matt Beard went from superb summer to November exit
We’re delighted to welcome Michelle Irons as our exclusive West Ham Women’s expert. Each week she’ll be giving her views on the biggest talking points at Victoria Road…
Matt Beard went from hero to zero very fast at the start of the season at West Ham, according to Women’s football expert Michelle Irons.
Beard, 43, had been in charge of the Hammers since June 2018 and took the club to the FA Cup final a year later when they lost to Manchester City at Wembley.
He’d even made positive additions to the squad last summer, welcoming Emily van Egmond from Orlando Pride and Rachel Daley from Houston Dash.
However, Beard’s impressive work in East London fell to bits in the first few months of the season, culminating with him quitting West Ham in November.
Speaking to West Ham Zone, Michelle Irons summarised the opening few months of the 2020/21 WSL season.
She said: “At the start of the season, I was so excited as during the summer months we looked good, the camp looked positive and was raring to go.
“We also made some fantastic signings in van Egmond and Daly, who both came over from America. It was a coup by Matt Beard to sign Daly and we would see her at her absolute best.
“Come September we started well at Spurs but were unlucky not to come away with three points. Season ticket holders received a huge boost as our next game against Arsenal was chosen as a pilot even to host fans.
“Now this game was a fantastic spectacle for the game at the start, but the game was affected hugely by Gilly Flaherty getting sent off by an overly enthusiastic referee. That game I would like to forget mostly because of a huge scoreline for the visitors.
“That started a run of some terrible losses for us during October where we looked dejected and lacked confidence.
“November came and the pressure was starting to build for Beard as we barely scrambled three points against an unpredictable Birmingham team. This was followed a week later by another defeat at home against Brighton which concluded a few days later with Beard leaving.”
Liverpool appointed Beard as their manager this week, six years after he originally left Merseyside to move over to the USA.
Speaking after his decision to quit West Ham, Beard told the Offside Rule Podcast he felt as though he – and the club – “needed a change”.
We wish Beard all the best at Liverpool but his decision to leave West Ham left the club in a bit of a lurch and Olli Harder, who replaced him, only just managed to guide the Irons to WSL safety in the end.
In other West Ham Women news, our expert has been raving about the potential of this young Irons loanee.