West Ham favourite Joe Cole has defended the club’s reappointment of David Moyes as manager, with the Hammers preparing to resume their Premier League relegation battle against Wolves this weekend.
Manuel Pellegrini was dismissed from the Hammers’ hot seat just after Christmas following a string of disappointing results, prompting a return to east London for Moyes. The Scot had previously been overlooked for the permanent manager’s role, despite steering the club away from relegation trouble at the back end of the 2017/18 season.
Moyes – who enjoyed a successful decade-long spell with Everton, prior to shorter stints at Manchester United and Sunderland – has won just two of his ten Premier League games since returning, though performances before the enforced coronavirus break suggested things were heading in the right direction.
Exclusively speaking to 90min, BT Sport pundit Cole – who enjoyed two separate spells at his boyhood club as a player – revealed his trust in Moyes’ reappointment, providing an insight into how West Ham’s board could begin to rebuild their relationship with the fans after months of protests against the day-to-day running of the club.
“The RB Leipzig model is perfect for West Ham”
Cole said: “Premier League survival is essential. I think there’s a simple answer to what needs to improve – the communication from the top to the bottom, in any organisation, needs to improve. David Moyes has come in and that underwhelmed the fans a lot, as they saw it as just a ‘we’ll get over the line’ appointment because David’s a great manager and he’s done it before.
“I think with David, the interesting thing if you listen to his press conferences and talk to him, is when he mentions the time he spent at RB Leipzig in between jobs and he talked about the young players they’ve got there and the system they’ve put in place. Because if you do your due diligence on that model of play, it is perfect for West Ham.
“High speed, youth, exciting players, buying them at a young age. Getting them in, building a club – and now RB Leipzig are playing Champions League football, beating Spurs and selling players every year for massive money.
“I think for West Ham, I love the fact that David’s talking about that and I think there needs to be a strategy in place to implement that. If you bring the fans with you and on board with that, and say we’re not going to be buying any players of £30m+ because they’re a big name, [instead] we’re going to buy this kid from Germany, this kid from Brazil, players from the lower leagues and we’re going to put a system in place to coach them and improve them.
“There might be some heavy defeats along the way because we’re asking young players to be consistent and that’s tricky, but we’re going to do that – and as we go up the levels, we might sell one at some point, reinvest that money, get more and more and then we build it.
“Eventually – if you do it right – it’ll come down to recruitment, getting the coaching in place and reinvigorating the academy. I know they’ve just done up Chadwell Heath, but you have to bring the fans on the journey.”
Cole admitted that the highly controversial switch to the London Stadium – which uprooted the club from their Boleyn Ground home in order to move into the 60,000 capacity venue previously used for the Olympics – caused significant discontent among fans, stating that friends and family had felt disillusioned with the decision.
But he revealed his belief that the bond between the fans and board could be strengthened by further transparency about the direction the club intends to go in.
“A lot of my friends and family are West Ham fans and they feel a bit disenchanted because of the move to the stadium,” Cole continued. “I like David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady, I think they’ve done a good job in that sense. But I think going forward, if they were to communicate more with the fans the plan, I think that will help them, help the club, help the players, and help David.
“I was linked to a coaching role at West Ham but I was never spoken to about it.”
“I think the West Ham fans are not demanding in that sense, they want to see exciting football and players really digging in and fighting, and if they put a team like that onto the pitch, they’ll have a chance.”
Cole also touched on the Hammers’ current crop of talented players, indicating that progress could be made at the club if Moyes is allowed the time to implement some of his learnings from abroad. He also spoke on media reports that previously linked him with a coaching role at West Ham, confirming that no formal conversations ever took place.
“The group of players there are really talented, I was speaking to [Mark] Noble at the start of the season and there’s a lot of talent in that team,” Cole said. “Your Anderson’s, your Declan Rice’s, I think they’ll stay up and I’m hoping David is allowed to implement a system – a form of it, because you can’t copy it – within West Ham’s structure and I think we’ll be alright.
“I was linked to it [a coaching role] in the media but I was never spoken to about it. I’m very happy with BT at the moment, doing what I’m doing. I’m looking to go on study visits and speak to great managers around the world, spending time at clubs and maybe spending time in and around David at West Ham would help as well.”
The Premier League returns to BT Sport on Saturday 20th June with Watford v Leicester City and BT’s first televised 3pm fixture, Brighton v Arsenal. Watch all 20 BT Sport Premier League games contract free with the BT Sport Monthly pass, just £25 per month.