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Masterful Moyes has West Ham fans daring to dream

LONDON:

When David Moyes saved West Ham United from Premier League relegation in 2018 his reward was being shown the door with the club saying they wanted a “high-calibre figure” to lead them into an exciting future.
Nineteen months later, with West Ham back in the relegation mire, Manuel Pellegrini was sacked and another SOS was answered by Moyes who again dug them out of a hole.
But Moyes has proved he is not just a crisis manager. In his second spell he has transformed the London club from relegation battlers, to European qualifiers and now into one that looks capable of Champions League qualification.
Who knows what would have happened if Moyes, who has just reached the 1,000 game milestone as a manager, had been trusted to lead West Ham into that “exciting future” in 2018.
Better late than never though as his team are flying high like the bubbles of their club anthem, although unlike in the song they do not look like “fading and dying”.
A gripping 3-2 win over Liverpool on Sunday lifted the Hammers into third in the table, above Juergen Klopp’s side, level with Manchester City and three points off league leaders Chelsea. They have their best points haul after 11 games of a top-flight season since 1975-76 and, after years of angst, the fans have a team to be proud of.
Asked if they are now title challengers, the former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland manager said: “I don’t know. It is too early to say. But fighting for each game as we did today, why not dream?”
West Ham’s move away from their beloved Upton Park Stadium and into the Olympic Stadium in 2016 was supposed to herald the arrival of a glorious new era for the club that has never won the English title but provided Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters to England’s 1966 World Cup winning team.
Until last season when Moyes’s team finished sixth, fans were left feeling as though their club had lost its soul. But on Sunday, with 60,000 fans creating an incredible atmosphere, it truly felt like West Ham were back home.
“Isn’t it incredible now that we have a stadium where the place is going to be sold out, we’re having to increase the capacity to get everybody in and people want to come and watch the team,” Moyes said.
What is all the more remarkable is that West Ham’s remarkable rise has been done without massive investment in players. Instead, Moyes has built a team with a tenacious work ethic around the likes of England’s classy midfielder Declan Rice, hugely-underrated striker Michail Antonio, winger Jarrod Bowen and Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek.
Algerian winger Said Benrahma, signed from Brentford, is beginning to flourish while the signing of French central defender Kurt Zouma from Chelsea is beginning to look like an extremely astute piece of business.
Leicester City are living proof that a side with spirit and momentum can eclipse the big boys in the Premier League and while the odds are against West Ham winning the title, Moyes believes there is more to come from his team.
“We missed out on Champions League football by two points (last season) — so why can we not be there?” he said. “We’re not getting carried away but it is feeling good at the moment.”

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