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David Moyes West Ham Turnaround Can Give Hope For Southampton Supporters
Tuesday, 25th May 2021 09:11

Saints supporters had to sit back and watch as their team capitulated at West Ham on Sunday and felt a pang of jealousy that this could easily have been Saints qualifying for the Europa League, they were right, but a year ago things were a lot different at the London Stadium.

When David Moyes returned to West Ham United in December 2019 there were some eyebrows raised amongst the Hammers supporters and more than a few dissenting voices , after all this was the same David Moyes who had been sacked as their manager 18 months earlier for the crime of only getting the East London club into 13th place in his six month spell in charge, this wasn't good enough for a section of the Hammers support they felt their club was bigger than that.

At this point Moyes reputation was at an all time low, an 11 year spell at Everton had built a profile as a manager who built clubs in the long term, but after being sacked at Manchester United after only one season suddenly he had become a football nomad, lasting barely a year in a job.

It was a case of deja vu for Moyes when West Ham sacked him for Manuel Pellegrini, the Hammers were going for a big name and glory and that wasn't David Moyes.

His first half season in charge was not a success, they were in the relegation battle when he arrived and when the season finally ended in July last year he had not done much better than his predecessor in terms of points, but he had kept them up and ended the season in 16th place on 39 points.

One place and 4 points worse than Saints left the pitch on Sunday.

West Ham also had one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League having conceded 62 goals, slightly better than the 68 Saints have let in this year.

So after a summer transfer window where the Hammers spent £40 million but sold players for £28 million, the West Ham fans were not hopeful for the coming season at the end of last summer.

The transfers in were hardly inspiring either Vladimir Coufal for £5.4 million, Said Benrahma whose two seasons at Brentford in the Championship were as high a level as he had played at and Tomas Soucek who had been on loan at the club for £13 million.

So in effect Moyes had just two new signings Coufal & Benrahma to try and transform West Ham from a side looking over their shoulder into something bigger and better, the Hammers faithful were not holding their breath.

But despite some fans calling for a big name at the London Stadium , calling for the owners to go and claiming that the club had no ambition, the West ham owners finally go t a dose of reality, quick fixes and changing managers rarely work, give Moyes time to do what he did at Everton and build a dynasty.

That faith proved justified with Moyes showing what he could do if given more than just a season in a job, I'm not a fan of David Moyes, in truth I find him a bit up himself and odious, but I can't question what he did at Everton and that is the type of situation he thrives in.

This season Moyes has shown it is not about how much money that you have , it is about building foundations.

The problem Moyes will have though is keeping Saints there, of the clubs outside of the Big Six, only Leicester have been able to maintain momentum, Saints whose 6th place finish 5 years ago was as good as it got for the rest up to this weekend and a host of other pretenders as diverse as Burnley, Everton & Wolves have all tried to push into the top six but not been able to manage it and more poignantly not been able to sustain any momentum they have got.

How must Everton look on and wish they had appointed Moyes and not Carlo Ancelotti back In December 2019, they went for the big name as the fans demanded with the big money being spent and now face another season with no real progress made.

So parallels can be drawn not just to Saints, but with Ralph Hasenhuttl and what he is doing at St Mary's, over the last 30 years we have had 23 permanent managers, to be more precise even in the last 8 years, a time when we have seen some sort of success, we have had 8 and we wonder why we have not been able to achieve some sort of consistency.

So if West Ham can go from 16th to 6th, then why can Saints not do the same next term, this season's drop from the top 4 at the turn of the year to 15th has been mainly due to an appalling injury list, some poor refereeing and VAR and that all lead to a loss of momentum, when the injury list cleared up we were a team lacking confidence and we could not get than momentum back.

But Ralph Hasenhuttl is a man in a similar mode to Moyes, he is a manager who works to a long term goal and not boom and bust, some Saints fans have lost sight just how difficult it is to succeed in the Premier League, all the BIg Six despite problems finished in the top 8 and the top 4 positions all went to the four biggest clubs, Everton as I said spent millions and could only get to 10th.

If Ralph Hasenhuttl is still manager when the new season kicks off in a little under three months time, then he will become the longest serving manager since 1991 when Chris Nicholl became the first Saints manager to be fired in the club's history after 6 years in charge.

If we are to succeed in what are our achievable targets then we need continuity at the club, in this respect Ralph Hasenhuttl is the most suitable manager we have had since Nicholl, when he came in December 2018 the club was in disarray, we were repeating the mistakes from the past, in the last two seasons we had appointed 3 different managers we were leering from one catastrophe to another.

But a new board steadied the ship and appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl and he has performed well if you consider where our place in the league actually is.

If we consider the size of al the clubs above us in terms of ground size, support and size of club, of the 14 teams who finished above us only Crystal Palace are a smaller club than ourselves, that is a fact, 14 clubs in this division have greater resources than us even discounting owners who sanction big transfer budgets mainly loans to the club.

This is what we are up against and we are in rough seas, but we are still afloat and in a far better position than we were when Ralph arrived.

Yes he has made mistakes, he will continue to do so , but he has learned from each one and he is working with less resources than most in the division.

So be careful what you wish for, I can think of a lot worse managers than Ralph Hasenhuttl, indeed I can think of few better that we could realistically get, it is time now to look at battening down the hatches and set small goals and not big ones, the Premier League is far far harder to break into the top six or even 8 than out was 5 seasons ago.

At the moment we are on a slipper slope where I see very little pride in the club from a sizable minority of the supporters, many are happy to turn us into some sort of standing joke, yet we had a better season than 77 out of the 92 league clubs.

This is a time to support the club both on and off the field, I support the club, not the owner or the board but the club, this reminds me of the bad old days of 2008/09 as we slid towards administration, you had to stand up and be counted in the troubled times to enjoy the success that followed.

Photo: Action Images

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vanmans added 09:49 - May 25
Chris Nicholl was a lot better manager than Ralph. He had better tactics and the standard of players was a lot better. The players then played for the club and not just for the money!

TimSaint added 09:51 - May 25
We all thought this season was going to be our year - and it was until the turn of the year. The trouble is WHU picked up and we nosedived !!

Also their recruitment has been excellent for a change, getting in Soucek, Coufal, Benrahma and Dawson.
We got Salisu who didn't play for more than half the season, Diallo who was too young to be a regular starter and then we topped up with Walcott who was good, then injured, the poor, and Minamino who started well but is lightweight and fell out of form.

felly1 added 10:02 - May 25
St Mary's is actually bigger than Wolves and Leicester grounds so we have the 12th largest Prem ground.
Ralph has 10 games next season to save his job in my opinion.
We need to recruit smartly in the summer, and we need to address the failings in tactics otherwise he'll be a goner.
I really hope the club and Ralph get it right because I think he's a good fit for the club, he just needs to be more flexible with his philosophy on how to play and be a little more pragmatic in game management.

teamster1 added 10:22 - May 25
You always find that the best managers were defenders as players. Is that a coincidence?
If we utilise the same defence and defenders as this year the same players that can’t learn from game to game them I think we will be relegated next season. We have goalkeeper coaches why not defensive ones?

darthvader added 10:24 - May 25
We need to concentrate on ourselves .
Phuck the rest to be the best .
We are too nice , to easily bullied out of games .
We need some big tough players, six footers .

Get nasty at times . Moan at the ref when he so often goes against us . We need an enforcer or two .
Make official complaints against var when everyone can clearly can see goal desicions are wrong.
Toughen up

Make the players wages more win bonus related rather than appearance related .

DorsetIan added 10:24 - May 25
No evidence at all that Ralph has learned from every mistake. Quite the contrary. That's why many fans are increasingly frustrated with him.


highfield49 added 11:03 - May 25
It's already been posted by others but the major critical difference between us and West Ham was the quality of goal keeper available. The second difference was the physical strength and "competitive" attitude of specific players. We will never, ever, be able to keep in touch with the top teams whilst certain players, who are regularly picked as starters, shirk their responsibilities to go for the ball either on the ground or in the air when they are allowed to bottle it by the manager. Time to get tough RH and sideline those who would be better off displaying their talent on tv dance shows.

halftimeorange added 11:09 - May 25
I'm still of the opinion that the root cause for our mid-season demise was Ralph's all-game pressing preference which conceivably burnt out some of our players and made them more injury-prone. That, in turn, forced him to play several squad members out of position and then, once the rot had set in, largely abandon the 100% pressing after the first twenty minutes or so as the players couldn't keep it up, which let most teams thereafter overrun us. In essence, there is nothing wrong with the tactic but, only if the squad is large and adept enough to carry it out for the whole season. Putting Salisu at left back in the last game when he's clearly a CB is a reflection of how thin the squad is and is an example that has been shown not to work. Other bizarre decisions such as starting the hapless McCarthy instead of Forster and leaving Tella on the bench whilst continuing with both Minamino and Redmond simply do not make sense to not only me but, the majority of posters on this website. If we're confused how must the players feel? Also, statistics don't lie. Every team in the club has had a disappointing season. We must get in some better quality coaching, some reliable players or change tactics to accommodate the limitations of those we do have. Although Puel was sacked he was described in the press as "a victim of Southampton's admirably unreasonable expectations" for playing boring but, "safe" football. Ralph's fate for trying the reverse with a similarly-sized pool of players might be the same.

underweststand added 11:21 - May 25
I think Ralph has been very patient with some of our "stars" who haven't come up with the goods on a regular basis, because the real problem is there is no-one available to "threaten" them as a replacement. Even allowing for the injury crisis, even our best young Academy talents just aren't good enough for Prem. level on a long term basis.

Every side buys a "dud" now and again, but we still have 4 or 5 very expensive, highly paid players who playing elsewhere, but still on long contracts and who - on past form - , would be unlikely to be seen as starters - even if they were still with the club.

I think Ralph may have to "make-do" for another season before we see any light at the end of the tunnel. Right now ...looking to next season, another 15th spot, or even a top half finish does look like very attractive proposition. Whilst we still have these over-valued, highly-paid men consuming huge amounts of the (now) almost non-existent income that the club has available most part due to the Covid " fan-ban".
Until these players are all " off the books"- we will not be able to "splash the cash" on the type of player who can instantly come into the team and be a "gamechanger".

We must hope that the scouting staff can unearth a few more " diamonds in the rough" during the summer. What I wouldn't give to see a new Pelle, or another Mane....(!)

ElijahK added 12:13 - May 25
One massive difference between the two teams, is that at least West Ham actually got something called “investment” if any of us Saints fans can remember what that means!

SaintPaulVW added 13:14 - May 25
I agree with a lot of the above. We need a few good recruits, a more competitive approach in the spine of our team and a rethink of over stretching tactics that seemed to give us short term success for long term failure.

It also really shouldn't be ignored that approx £60 million, at cost, of Saints players sit on other teams benches on loan. This waste of depreciating transfer money and a chunk of their wages is a dead weight on our transfer activity that still needs another season to unwind. I am not aware that other clubs of our size have a similar problem to manage.


SanMarco added 15:37 - May 25
I think Ralph has now been with us for 2 and a half seasons. I get the concept of appointing for the 'long term' but surely the rewards for such patience should be coming soon? My worry is that the squad doesn't look in the 'final tweak and onwards to 6th place' mode - it has more of a 'wholescale changes needed' look. Ralph will need to show us that the confidence placed in him is merited. Not in two or three seasons time but next season.

I agree with all comments based on our squad being light-weight and not fit for Ralph's purpose. You've got to sort it out THIS summer Ralph. Puel went after 48 pts and 8th, including a very good Wembley performance...

underweststand added 18:43 - May 25
To San Marco (above) of course you're right about the Puel situation, but one has to admit that even a couple of good Hasenhuttl-attacking displays are more exciting than the dire menu of possession play that Puel served up with goal-less and point-less home games when we appeared to be playing for a draw from the first minute.

The money that Ralph needed to strengthen the squad had already spent on the the half-dozen misfits we bought on long contracts in Reed's time and who ended up being farmed-out to other clubs in order to lower the salary bill a tad.

YosemiteSaint added 19:02 - May 25
halftimeorange has got it spot on. Ralph's naivete with respect to managing _time_ torpedoed our season. The timing of his substitutions verges on bizarre at times. But this is a local manifestation of a larger problem—that, as Liverpool showed this year as well, Heavy Metal Football only works if you've got a deep, capable squad over the course of an entire season. Once you've burnt out your players, you lose your shape and imperil your future matches bit by bit until it becomes epidemic in proportion. Heavy metal bands—Motorhead excluded, of course!—know that every few songs you need to slow it down and break out the acoustic guitar, lest the rest of the show becomes overbearing, unlistenable, and unsustainable. The same rule should hold for Heavy Metal Football (unless we can reanimate and sign Lemmy—if we can do that everything will be OK).

felly1 added 19:12 - May 25
Yosemite saint...You win some , you lose some, it's all the same to me..the ace of Saints , the ace of Saints!

felly1 added 19:12 - May 25
Yosemite saint...You win some , you lose some, it's all the same to me..the ace of Saints , the ace of Saints!

AirFlorida added 22:38 - May 25
Our problem is two fold: one we've got Ralph (and his naive tactics), two we're stuck with Ralph (as we can't afford to sack him) 😢

aceofthebase added 22:43 - May 25
I would feel sorry for RH if he was sacked. Who would employ him, certainly not a premier side, not a championship side nor a league one side. European sides wouldn't give him an interview. He would be unemployable.

SanMarco added 10:01 - May 27
I agree underweststand but what I am saying is that Puel was given one season and by November Ralph will have had three!! We were dull under Puel but we will never know what a third second or third season under him would have been like. Ralph HAS been given that opportunity - we need more than the off 20 mins of good football next season...

underweststand added 11:55 - May 31
In no way can Ralph be considered worse then Puel, Pellegrino ..or Hughes (!).

He hasn't had the money available to buy who he wants, and talk of sacking him should breed patience amongst those fans who need the record books to remind them that Lawrie McMenemy oversaw our relegation in his first season. In time even he came good.

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