Our Greatest Managers – Part 4 (2015-2019)
Part four of my search to find the greatest ever West Ham manager continues with the period between 2015 and 2019, covering three more managers.
If you haven’t read parts one, two and three yet then it is probably best that you do so first. Part one explains how each manager’s performance will be judged and the formula.
SLAVEN BILIC 2015-2017
A returning hero, not the first choice on the list, but the right choice, in my opinion, to carry us through the emotional last season at Upton Park. A great player for us under Harry, he blotted his copybook in the eyes of many fans in the way he left us to join Everton. Still, with the way the Allardyce era ended, Slav was just what the club needed, as he understood the club and the fans; bringing Julian Dicks in with him was a great move as well.
Many fans now look back at the success of his first season as being achieved because of Payet, but that is harsh on Slav and his team. While we only finished 7th, he achieved the most points we had ever had in the P.L., the third highest for West Ham since 3 points for a win was introduced in 1981 and missed out on top 4 and Champions League football by 4 points.
The last night of the Boleyn will live with us all forever, and his tears at the final whistle showed the emotion we all had that night. If his first season was a breath of fresh air, the second wasn’t the dawn of the new West Ham the ownership had long claimed it would be. How much input he had into the club’s raft of signings is unclear, but most are considered failures.
11th place looks like a reasonable finish, but after the joys of the previous season, the first in the new stadium set the tone for what would follow in the future. A 4-1 defeat at home to Liverpool in November 2017, leaving us in 17th place with only 9 points after 11 games, would be his demise. David Moyes would replace him to keep the club in the top flight, but that would be on a contract until the end of the season.
Super Slav managed us for 87 games in the P.L., winning 30. Half of those were won in his first season. He drew 26 and lost 31. We scored 123 times at 1.41 P.G. and conceded 138 at 1.59 goals per game.His average league position was 12th
DAVID MOYES (PART ONE) 2017-18
In caretaker Moyes’s first spell in charge, he achieved what was asked of him: keep West Ham up. Defeat in his 1st game, Watford away, where fans’ protests against the owners increased. It was in his 5th game, against Chelsea, that we tasted victory under him for the first time with a 1-0 victory.
Payet left in January to be replaced by Jordan Hugill, which sums up the club at that time. The team never had a run of victories together to ease the fan’s fear of the drop, and off the field, it seemed a civil war between fans and ownership had broken out, with protest marches planned, which resulted in the scenes at the Burnley game in March.
That day may have galvanised the club in the final 8 games of the season, we had only 2 defeats, and they were against Man City and Liverpool. Achieved a respectable 13th position on paper, but with only 42 points, the same amount Roeders West Ham was relegated with, in 2003. A paltry Thirty-Four points would have kept us up that season.
His contract finished; would he be rewarded with the job full-time?? No was the answer. Played 27 games, won 8, drew 9 lost 10 scored 37 conceded 55
MANUAL PELLEGRINI 2018-2019
The most decorated manager West Ham had ever appointed and the first to have managed a club, Man City, to the league title previously. His pedigree was first class, taking lesser clubs in Spain into Champions League football, and the owners hoped he would do the same. The start couldn’t have been any worse; he lost his first 4 premier league games, leaving us rock bottom in 20th place.
His first victory was away to Everton, but at the cost of injury to new signing Yarmalenko. Another new signing excited the crowd: Felipe Anderson from Lazio, but like many before him, his talents would maybe be dulled by the rest of the team around him. A top-10 finish with 52 points pointed to a great start to Pelegrini’s career with us, and fans hoped for better the following season.
In true West Ham style, the following season failed to meet our hopes. Pellegrini’s downfall can be linked to just 1 player. The goalkeeper, Roberto. On the 28th of September, West Ham faced Bournemouth away, sitting third in the league. An injury to Fabianski led to the introduction of Roberto, signed by Pelle that summer. By the 28th of December, West Ham was now 17th
In the 7 games Roberto appeared in, we lost 6, drawing the other with Sheffield United. While it may be harsh to put the downfall on the head of one player, if Fabianski had not been injured, I doubt we would have found ourselves in the position we were in. Fab’s returning didn’t stop the rot, and two defeats at Christmas were the final straw for the board, who fired the Chilean.
Who would the board turn to to save us again?
Pelle had 57 games, winning 20, drawing 11 and losing 26. We scored 73 goals at 1.28 P.G but conceded 87, 1.53 PG. His average league position was 13th.
Part five will look at our manager since 2019.