Moyes In: West Ham Know There's No Longer A 'New Manager Bounce'

David Moyes hasn't been sacked because the Hammers know there are no guarantees
14:00, 10 Mar 2023

Only David Sullivan knows the real reason why he is resisting the urge to sack David Moyes. But dressing up as Joseph Stalin for every game does suggest that West Ham United’s eccentric chairman does not follow fashion. For if he were to take a quick look around him in the bottom five of the Premier League, it is clear that the struggling Hammers are bucking the trend of ditching the manager as soon as things get a bit sticky.

The four teams languishing below Sullivan’s mob in the top flight table have all axed the coach this season - in Southampton’s case twice. Unlikely as it sounds, maybe diddy David knows something everyone else doesn’t. The fact Bournemouth, Saints, Everton and Leeds United have all changed the man picking the team this season yet are still fighting for survival undermines one of the oldest theories in football - that of the new manager bounce.

Swapping coaches is supposed to provide an instant hormone rush to squads who are flatlining. Having to impress a new manager to keep your job is the tried and trusted way to re-energise complacent players. A metaphorical cattle prod up the backside to stop overpaid sportsmen getting too comfy.


It’s worked a treat before: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s installation at Manchester United in 2018, Thomas Tuchel taking over from Frank Lampard at Chelsea lasted all the way to the Champions League trophy three months later. Lampard himself won three of his first six games when he assumed control of a comatose Everton squad from Rafa Benitez, under whom they had won just one of the previous 15. However, like many things this season, the ‘new manager bounce’ has gone out of the window along with common sense, perspective, faith in VAR and Tottenham Hotspur winning a cup.

When Gary O’Neill was handed the Bournemouth job as caretaker boss in August, there were a couple of wins. But once he got a permanent deal at the back end of November, the Cherries needed 10 games to register a victory for the new gaffer. They are bottom of the Premier League and destined for relegation - no better off than when O’Neill’s predecessor Scott Parker was binned after a 9-0 defeat at Liverpool.

Southampton decided Ralph Hassenhuttl had worn out his welcome at St.Mary’s in early November. A 4-1 home defeat by Newcastle United, the richest club in the world, bringing an end to his four years in charge. His replacement, Nathan Jones, won just one of his opening half a dozen games in charge and that was a narrow EFL Cup victory over the might of League One Lincoln City. Jones’ curious and short-lived time in charge was over by mid-Feb.

His successor Ruben Selles is the only man who can lay claim to stirring up any kind of positive reaction from his team. As temporary boss he clung on for a narrow win against a Chelsea team in crisis in his first game. After then losing to wobbly Leeds, he beat a Leicester City team in a full-on nosedive during the second half of the season. Saints still sit second bottom and two points from safety. The smart money is on them going down along with their south coast neighbours Bournemouth.

Leeds United’s football is about as decipherable as a press conference under their new manager Javi Gracia. The mumbling Spaniard is clearly not getting his message across in any format because having got those vital three points against Southampton on his debut in the dugout, Leeds have lost their next two games.

From all that it is possible to draw a conclusion that the ‘new manager bounce’ is a thing of the past - much like reasonable kick-off times, cheap tickets and Spurs winning trophies. It’s highly unlikely that David Sullivan has studied the stats in depth and decided to stick with Moyes because the science is on his side. Most probably he has realised that getting rid of a manager halfway through a crap season costs a fortune and now it doesn’t even help.

If you’re going down, you may as well do it on the cheap and save that pay-off cash to help rebuild the club the following year.


*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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