By Pete Hanson

21st May, 2023 | 12:03pm

Robbie Fowler delivers sack verdict on David Moyes after West Ham reach Conference League final

David Moyes deserves immense credit for leading West Ham to the Europa Conference League final after he could easily have been sacked this season, says Robbie Fowler.

The Hammers have struggled domestically this campaign, though they can no longer be relegated and are on the brink of winning Europe’s third-tier competition.

A 1-0 win at AZ Alkmaar on Thursday set up a final showdown with Fiorentina and former Liverpool striker Fowler, who was writing in the Sunday Mirror (21 May, page 69), believes West Ham should be proud of being one of six teams left in European competitions this term.

“I’ve banged on so many times about getting to a final, and how important it is, even if it’s in a competition people somehow think is unworthy,” he wrote.

“Well, there are only three European finals you can reach, and West Ham are up there with City, Inter Milan, Roma, Sevilla, and Fiorentina in achieving it. Six teams in the whole of Europe, and they’re one of them.

“Think about that, Moyes could easily have been sacked earlier in the season, he admitted it himself. But the owners stood by him and now they’ve got their reward.

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“Moyes, he’s been through a lot, but again, he’s shown immense character and grit to come through it, and that is reflected in his team. Fair play to him.”

European final should be Moyes’ swansong

It is absolutely right to say Moyes should be receiving all the plaudits for leading West Ham to a European final this term.

But there is still a sense that West Ham are close to reaching a ceiling of what they can achieve under the former Everton and Manchester United manager.

Having done a great rescue job when he arrived for a second spell at the London Stadium back in December 2019, and a seventh-place finish last term – having briefly flirted with Champions League qualification – was an excellent achievement.

It has not been the same story this time around, perhaps because West Ham have had to juggle domestic and European duties, and the West Ham board may be wondering whether it is time to head in a new direction.

For Moyes too, will there realistically be another chance to depart on such a high? Regardless of the result in the final, it has been an excellent achievement by West Ham. If they can win it, then Moyes should take the opportunity to leave with a trophy to his name.