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Irish Hammer 11:42 Sun Oct 3
Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
Enjoy your Sunday all, here’s looking forward to three points today !

How David Moyes and his staff have transformed West Ham’s coaching culture

When West Ham United were on the hunt for a goalkeeper, Xavi Valero put together a presentation that was so compelling David Moyes and his backroom staff were in agreement Alphonse Areola was the best option.

The club failed in their attempts to sign West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, and Valero felt Areola was better suited to playing in the Premier League. During the presentation, West Ham’s goalkeeping coach highlighted Areola’s attributes, his one-year spell at Fulham and why the Frenchman and Lukasz Fabianski would be an ideal pairing.

In July, Areola arrived on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain. Although Fulham were relegated to the Championship, Areola was voted their player of the season by supporters. The 28-year-old kept nine clean sheets, one fewer than Fabianski, in 36 league appearances. The former Villarreal and Real Madrid loanee made his debut in the 1-0 Carabao Cup win at Manchester United. He also kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 victory against Rapid Vienna.

Moyes has always surrounded himself with an experienced coaching staff — and his trusted circle of Valero, Stuart Pearce, Paul Nevin, Kevin Nolan and Billy McKinlay have been hugely important behind the scenes. Valero’s role in Areola’s switch to the London Stadium is another reminder why the club is on an upward trajectory. Moyes has the final say on transfers but he will always canvass the opinions of his colleagues.

Moyes and his coaching staff signed three-year contract extensions in June. One month before, Alan Irvine stepped aside from his full-time position as assistant manager to become technical advisor. Irvine may have stepped back to have a more overarching view but Moyes and his staff regularly speak with the former Preston North End manager as much as three times a week. They use this opportunity to analyse the team’s performance and discuss progress the players have made.

McKinlay, 52, returned to the club in July as a first-team coach, having worked under Moyes during his first spell in charge in 2017-18. The former Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City and Scotland midfielder also worked alongside the Scotsman during their spell at Real Sociedad in Spain.

Pearce and McKinlay sit next to each other in the stands on match day. Effectively they are Moyes’ eyes from above and communicate via an earpiece to Nevin, who stands next to Moyes on the touchline. Given they have a better vantage point, occasionally McKinlay will head down to the technical area, which was the case in the season opener when they twice came from behind to win 4-2 away to Newcastle United, and pass on feedback to the manager.

Nevin, Nolan and Moyes are often deep in conversation during matches (Photo: Robin Jones via Getty Images)
All of Moyes’ backroom staff have been managers, barring Valero. Nevin managed New Zealand Knights FC and Aspire Academy in Qatar. Pearce had managerial spells at Manchester City, England Under-21s, Team GB’s Olympic football team and Nottingham Forest, while also having a caretaker role with England.

Nolan has held player-manager roles at Leyton Orient and Notts County. Of the noticeable clubs on McKinlay’s managerial CV, he had brief spells at Watford and Norwegian side Stabaek. It is a hugely experienced coaching staff.

When Moyes was reappointed manager in December 2019, Nolan, who was out of work, was keen to enhance his managerial acumen under him. Two months later, West Ham announced the appointments of Nolan and Nevin as first-team coaches until the end of the season.

“I’d been with David at the LMA awards with Sam Allardyce the season before,” Nolan tells The Athletic. “I’d been on their table and we had a couple of drinks together. I gave Moyesy a call and said, ‘I’m trying to get back in, I’d love to have the opportunity to come and work with you and gain experience’. I’d done the management side of it and I just thought it would be a fantastic opportunity for me to put myself in front of someone different and learn.”

Between Nevin, Pearce, McKinlay, Valero and Nolan it is the latter who has a close bond with the players. During his four-year spell at West Ham between 2011-15, Nolan was captain and scored 31 goals in 157 games. It has become a trend for the club to appoint former players as coaches. Steve Potts, Carlton Cole, Paul Konchesky and Zavon Hines — who made a combined total of over 900 appearances — have coaching roles at the club.

Nolan will often join the discussions on the touchline whenever he has made observations during games. It is his role to give instructions to substitutes before they enter the field, whether gesticulating the runs they need to make, or showing them on an iPad. But it is Nolan’s influence on the academy that rarely goes unnoticed.

He attends all the under-23s’ home and away games when it does not clash with the first team. During their 4-2 defeat away to Brighton & Hove Albion, Nolan offered words of encouragement when he shouted: “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Come on lads.” Shortly after Thierry Nevers scored a goal-of-the-season contender from 25 yards.

Roughly twice a week, Nolan will visit academy staff at their offices to discuss the development of the young players. He will report on their progress to Moyes and some will be invited to train with the first team. One of the reasons why Moyes played Freddie Potts, son of former defender Steve, in the friendly win away to Leyton Orient is because the young midfielder was the fittest under-23s player to return for pre-season training.

One of the biggest frustrations during the Manuel Pellegrini era was that he barely took an interest in the youth team. These days the youngsters are spoilt for choice with who they can turn to for advice. Similar to Nolan, Pearce also has regular communication with academy staff. He attended the under-23s’ emphatic 6-1 win against Arsenal. He speaks weekly to academy director Ricky Martin and occasionally captain Mark Noble will join staff to discuss the progress of the players and those out on loan. After the meeting, a plan is put in place to focus on how the club can develop the up-and-coming prospects.

In August, it was confirmed Nevin would be rejoining England senior men’s coaching staff. It was Gareth Southgate who reached out to Moyes who gave the move the green light.

In October 2018, Nevin was invited by Southgate to join his coaching staff, and he remained with the senior team through to their third-place finish at the UEFA Nations League finals. Nevin made a good impression on the England manager and continued to scout for the FA after his placement had ended. The 52-year-old mainly worked on domestic scouting, which included working on individual player reports.

On the eve of the Euros, Alan Russell, the strikers coach, left his position and Newcastle United coach Graeme Jones was brought in as his replacement, but it was only temporary. A week before England’s World Cup qualifier against Hungary in September, Southgate informed staff at St George’s Park Nevin would be returning to the coaching staff in a part-time role.

McKinlay starts matches in the stands but pops down to Moyes to pass messages on (Photo: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)
One player who has aspirations of forcing his way into the England squad is Jarrod Bowen. The winger is yet to score in nine appearances this season but, with his work rate, a goal is just around the corner. After the 2-1 win at Leeds United, Moyes said: “If you asked me in pre-season who I thought looked the fittest and in the best condition, it would be Bowen. He came back a bit lighter than before and was in great nick.”

Having helped West Ham secure Europa League group stage qualification last season, some of the established first-team players enjoyed well-earned summer breaks. Pablo Fornals and his partner travelled to his native Spain, Ryan Fredericks went to Cornwall with his loved ones, Noble and family travelled to Portugal and Angelo Ogbonna, his partner and two young children travelled home to Italy.

But Bowen opted not to go on holiday so he could improve his fitness. He trained by running in the fields in Hereford, something which has helped strengthen and tone his calf muscles. Last season, Bowen scored eight goals in 38 league appearances and won 54 fouls, the most by any West Ham player. The winger wants to make his legs stronger and is determined to once more be a key performer.

Moyes has added to the staff behind the scenes with the confirmation on Friday of Rob Newman as the new head of recruitment. It is arguably the club’s most important appointment. Newman was involved with first-team recruitment at the Etihad Stadium and worked alongside Txiki Begiristain, James Smith, Brian Marwood and Gary Worthington, all of whom are key figures in City’s extensive scouting department.

He worked with the analytics team, and was assigned to scout young talent in Spain and France. The former defender, who made almost 250 appearances for Norwich City in the 1990s, is known for being a hard worker, active, with a bulging contacts book, popular among the scouts and a people person.

Moyes and his backroom staff have not only transformed the club over the last 18 months, but they have helped change the culture. Whether it is Declan Rice returning for pre-season training earlier than scheduled, fringe players not moaning publicly about a lack of game time, or the squad relishing the double sessions — West Ham have become the envy of many teams in the league.

“It’s a place where you wake up in the morning and you look forward to going in and having breakfast with the lads,” said Rice. “You look forward to having a laugh and you look forward to training. It’s like a big family. The gaffer said it before, we’re all like a bunch of kids. Honestly, it’s such a great place to be around.”

When it comes to assessing West Ham’s progress, Moyes and his coaching staff have shown teamwork makes the dream work.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Lato 9:20 Wed Oct 6
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
Thanks Irish

Another good read!

chim chim cha boo 11:58 Tue Oct 5
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
A great read, thanks Irish.

GreenStreetPlayer 11:40 Tue Oct 5
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
They maybe the odd set back, but hopefully the trend will be in the right direction.
We shouldn’t look at one match in isolation.

Thanks Irish 10:37 Tue Oct 5
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
Thanks Irish

Rio or Anton or Les 10:29 Tue Oct 5
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
Fantastic article and should be read by every Hammers fan.

The moaners should read this and be proud of where we are at the moment, long may it continue.


the exile 1:55 Sun Oct 3
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
Great article. Cheers Irish.

gph 1:21 Sun Oct 3
Re: Good read on how Moyes changed the culture at the club.
Thanks, Irish

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