West Ham boss David Moyes breaking new ground on road to redemption as he eyes Europa League glory

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·3-min read
West Ham boss David Moyes breaking new ground on road to redemption as he eyes Europa League glory
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David Moyes has had little time to reflect on his remarkable renaissance at West Ham, but tonight the Scot deserves a moment to take it all in.

While tonight’s Europa League semi-final, first leg, against Eintracht Frankfurt is a huge moment in West Ham’s history, it is also new ground for Moyes.

The former Everton manager will be taking a team into the semi-finals of a European competition for the first time.

This is a new high that few could have envisaged when Moyes was cast aside and branded a dinosaur following his exit from Manchester United eight years ago.

It has been a long and winding road to redemption for the 59-year-old, which even included West Ham turning their backs on him before swallowing their pride and bringing him back to the London Stadium in December 2019.

The rise since then, from relegation fights to European nights, has been a remarkable rebuke to those who wrote Moyes off.

David Moyes has transformed West Ham from relegation battlers to Europa League contenders (REUTERS)
David Moyes has transformed West Ham from relegation battlers to Europa League contenders (REUTERS)

“I look back and I think I felt as if I could make this level and be there,” Moyes said. “I wanted to be competing against the elite managers, whether that was in Europe or the Premier League, I wanted to put myself in that position.

“But you have to have a team that is capable — and we’ve got a really good team here. All managers need the players to come and build and get better.

“If you think where we were two years ago, with the style of play, so many have improved. I always felt that if I could get it going here, I did think that I could get a team challenging. The job to keep it going is the hardest bit.

“You don’t get longevity in football if you don’t put the hard work in. What you hope is that you win a few trophies along the way.

“To bring West Ham from where we’ve been to where we are today is huge. To get to the semi-final of a European competition and give ourselves a real chance of getting to a final is something really special.

“It is a great moment for me to lead a team out in a semi-final... but a final sounds even better!”

Moyes inherited a club which was constantly fire-fighting. Just as he had done in his first spell, he delivered some home truths before pulling everyone in the same direction.

West Ham captain Mark Noble has seen the highs and lows first-hand and is clear on what Moyes has brought in order to realise the potential of the club he holds so dear.

“Honesty,” Noble said. “That’s one thing he doesn’t lack. If you’re not doing it, he will tell you. That’s what footballers respect.

“You get players who come into the squad and sometimes it just clicks. People like Craig Dawson, who has been phenomenal for us this season. You need players who will pull up their socks — and we’ve got a lot of those players.”

It is that sort of mentality which ensures, whatever the result tonight, West Ham fans know they will be watching a side that will leave everything out there in pursuit of success.

Moyes is back at the level he always thought he could be. Over 11 years at Goodison Park, he worked wonders, but the next few weeks could be the crowning glory.

“It certainly would, yes,” said Moyes. “But I’ve always thought that the good times were still to come and I still think I am growing and getting better.”

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