It wasn’t too long ago since West Ham chairman David Sullivan was giving interviews to the English media stating that he believed the Hammers could finish in the top four. That was back in 2015. Fast forward nearly five years, and what’s gone wrong? If anything, they’ve gone backwards since their controversial move from Upton Park to the London Stadium in Stratford.
David Moyes’ side is enduring a mixed season. Under Manuel Pellegrini at the beginning of the campaign, they were flying after the first few games. Everyone was tipping them for a top-six finish. Now they’re flirting with relegation after a run of defeats and very few wins. In fact, the East London side are as short as 4/1 to go down. If you fancy the price, it’s worth comparing UK licensed betting sites to find the best odds. Let’s take a look at what’s happened at West Ham and whether they can fulfil that potential from a few years ago.
Let’s not go too far back to when they had Icelandic owners – a lot’s happened since then. But the point in which Hammers fans thought they were moving to the next level was when they moved from Upton Park to the London Stadium in 2016.
The curtain came down on a beautiful final season at the Boleyn Ground at the end of the 2015/16 season, and although a lot of fans were sceptical about the move to Stratford, many felt that it would enable West Ham to challenge at the very top. And the owners backed up those thoughts by saying exactly that in plenty of interviews. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The Hammers finished 11th. They actually won their first game in their new stadium against Bournemouth, but they lost four in a row after that which set up what was to be an average season.
They didn’t fare any better in the two seasons after that:
– 2017-18 Season – 13th
– 2018-19 Season – 10th
You’d probably argue that they’ve made the right managerial appointments in the last few years, but something’s not quite clicking. Slaven Bilic, an ex-Hammer loved by fans, had a tremendous first season in charge. However, after qualifying for Europe two seasons in a row, they lost to Astra Giurgiu on both occasions, which seemed like two steps backwards after a promising step forward in 2015.
Bilic got sacked after a poor run of results in November 2017. Step forward, David Moyes. A man who Sir Alex Ferguson heaped high praise upon. A man who’d done so well at Everton before coming up short at United. Surely a manager of his ilk would change the fortunes of the East London club. Wrong. Well, at least he did keep the team in the Premier League. But the owners decided not to give him a long term deal after his six-month contract expired.
Next up was Manuel Pellegrini. A Premier League winner with Manchester City – would he be the man to get West Ham up the table and challenging the big six? No. After signing some big names such as Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller, it just didn’t work out. The potential was there, but the poor results left the owners with no choice. The fans were getting disillusioned too.
Next in the hot seat was Moyes again. He’s back for a second spell and started relatively well. But you can’t help feeling that after all of the great players and managers they’ve had in recent years, whether it’s the owners that are the problem.
It’s a tough one. On paper, their squad is good enough for a top-half finish. But as the Hammers know all too well after relegation in 2003, you’re never too good to go down. If you don’t play well as a team, then it’s always going to be difficult. However, Moyes could well have turned a corner, so to speak. After a thumping 4-0 win at home to Bournemouth in his first game in charge, he may well have won some fans over immediately. But there’s a long way to go until the curtain comes down in May, so let’s see where they end up.
If the Moyes from his Everton days reappears for West Ham, then we could well see them enjoy an excellent 2020/21 season. This year it’s all about staying up. Look at Wolves; they’re right up there after a couple of seasons in the Premier League. If the Hammers get it right, their fortunes may not always be hiding.