David Moyes interview: I’m just getting started at West Ham - I can only see the club growing from here

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

David Moyes never wavered in his belief that he would make it to the milestone of 1,000 games in management.

The Scot struggled at Manchester United, while he left Sunderland after a desperate season which ended in relegation, but he has rejuvenated his career over two spells at West Ham.

In Genk tonight, 999 games on from his first game as a manager — at Preston North End in the Auto Windscreens Shield in January 1998 — he joins an illustrious list of names to reach a notable landmark.

Moyes does so in charge of a resurgent West Ham that are fourth in the Premier League, top of their Europa League group and looking capable of achieving something special this season.

His stock has not been anywhere near this high since he left Everton in 2013.

“Once I was well under way, I always thought I would get there [to 1,000 games],” Moyes says. “Because if the worst comes to the worst I’ll go and manage somewhere, or I’ll take some team to go and get to 1,000!

“You don’t know how it’s flown past, where it’s flown past. When you see how all the managers who have got to 1,000 games feel, it’s a big achievement, and I feel that way.

“But the bigger thing is that when you start out, I never thought when I was starting to become a manager that I would go on to be managing at the top of the Premier League, and that nearly all my games, the majority, have been in the Premier League.

“I was a relatively unknown player but I enjoyed a good career. I always hoped I could stay in football, that I might become a boys’ team manager, or somebody would give me a youth team job, or I would run a social club or something.”

It is safe to say Moyes has far exceeded his expectations of youth management or a social club.

As he reaches the mark of 1,000 games as a manager, joining Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian Clough and Sir Matt Busby in that particular club, the 58-year-old insists he is still only getting started at West Ham.

Towards the end of last season, Moyes talked about working his way back to a level where big clubs would consider him a viable option again, and wanting one final shot at a big job.

But after finishing sixth with West Ham last season and with a team dreaming even bigger this campaign, does he need to go elsewhere for that shot? “This is the big job,” says Moyes. “This is the job that needs to be completed, improved on, grown.

“We all need to know here that, for me, this is the start of where we have to go. The next bit now is can we keep the consistency, can we maintain it?

“Maybe there are reasons why we don’t, maybe we can’t, things go against us, you never know. But I can only see us keeping going.

“The players we have are so good and as long as we continue adding and not going backwards, not believing that we’ve made it, we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Moyes credits West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold for swallowing their pride by bringing him back to the club after he was overlooked at the end of his contract in 2018, having kept the Hammers up.

West Ham moved instead for Manuel Pellegrini, whose tenure will be remembered for overspending on under-performing players and ended with the club sitting just outside the relegation zone before Moyes was brought back to the club.

Being overlooked for Pellegrini is one of the disappointments in his career that cut deepest for Moyes, who had been planning to build something after staving off the threat of relegation.

“That period was tough,” says Moyes. “We thought we had done a good job. We had made plans. I had met a couple of players who I thought were coming in for the next period because I thought we were going on and then, out of the blue, it wasn’t there.

“We didn’t think that we could have done a lot more. We beat Everton on the last day of the season here after we had won at Leicester to stay up. We had finished really strongly, so it was a shock.

“Was it a disappointing time? Yeah, it was. But to get the good times you have to have bad times along the way as well. I don’t think you get it all good.”

Moyes and West Ham are certainly getting the good times now.

From a relegation scrap in the first season of his second spell in charge, the Hammers are now flying higher than anyone could have imagined as he approaches two years in charge of the Londoners.

West Ham have rocketed to the top and there is no desire to slow down.

“We’ll have days when it’s not our day, weeks when we are not as good as we should be,” says Moyes.

“But at the moment I’m not looking at it that way. I’m looking at it as saying we have to keep this going.

“We’re on the fast train as quick as we can go to the top and I don’t want to get off it.”

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