There will be no Klopp-like festival, but David Moyes deserves an appreciative farewell

David Moyes applauds the West Ham fans at the London Stadium
During David Moyes's lap of appreciation at the London Stadium last week there was none of the end of an era sense that will pervade Anfield - Charlotte Wilson/Getty Images

This afternoon at Anfield, things are going to get emotional. The entire event will centre around one thing: saying goodbye to a great. After the final whistle sounds on his last game in charge of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp will be serenaded to the skies. There will be guards of honour, fist pumps, ecstatic conducting of the Kop choir. It will be a stage managed farewell of magnificent scale, full of showbiz razzmatazz. Possibly things will conclude by naming a stand after him. Whatever happens, of this we can be sure: there will be tears.

It was not quite like that at the London Stadium last weekend. After West Ham had beaten Luton Town in their final home game of the season, the team, many accompanied by their families, undertook what is now termed a lap of appreciation. Among them was David Moyes. Like Klopp he too was parting company with his club and this was his chance to say farewell. His, though, was not an ostentatious goodbye. He walked round the pitch politely applauding the crowd, offering the occasional sheepish smile. Still, there was warmth emanating from the stands towards him. A couple of bedsheet banners were flourished:

“Moysie thank you, three years in Europe and champions,” read one. On another was written “Moyes’s kings of Europe.”

But, unlike what we will see at Anfield, there was no wailing or gnashing of teeth. The fact his contract was not being renewed had not sparked collective protest. The feeling in the stadium was one of gratitude for what he had delivered in his couple of spells at the club, latterly a four-and-a-half year stint, but that the future now lay ahead. There was none of the end of an era sense that will pervade Anfield. More a general agreement it was time to move on. Thanks for the memories David, let us see what is next.

Afterwards Moyes was asked about whether he felt he had been ungratefully treated by the club’s owners, given what he had achieved for them. Typically, he was philosophical.

“There are a lot of things in football that could be done better,” he said. “Look, at the moment I’m really comfortable with the situation, comfortable with the board, everything’s fine. That’s football.”

He also pointed out that spending the week in a hotel in east London while his loved ones remained in the family home in Lytham St Anne’s on the Lancashire coast was not entirely satisfactory.

“I’ve been away for a long time from my family, I think it’s the right decision for both parties, we’ll go our separate ways having had a good four-and-a-half years.”

And with that he was gone. Quietly, fuss-free, without ceremony or drama. How very unlike Anfield. This is not to suggest that Moyes’s achievements were on an equal standing to Klopp’s. His trophy haul does not come close to matching the German’s. Over nine seasons at Liverpool, Klopp won the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup twice. Across his time at the London Stadium, Moyes’s one success – in the Europa Conference League – does not bear comparison. But that is not the point. He was manager of West Ham, not Liverpool.

The thing about Moyes is he is not flash, he rarely writes headlines, nobody has ever described him as a great disruptor. What he offers is steady-as-she goes stability, an approach that does not endanger any nearby trees with instant uprooting, but keeps things under control. You might think many a club would crave his delivery, his consistency, his lack of fuss. But football is not like that. A hint of hope, ambition and promise are needed in every manager’s portfolio.

At West Ham, while there were many fans happy to express their gratitude for Moyes’s service, there were few imploring him to stay; no one was demanding the board resign en masse for failing to keep him. In truth many Hammers supporters had long tired of his tactical pragmatism, craving a bit of foot to the floor excitement.

It was the same when he was at Everton. For most of his 11 years on Merseyside, he kept the side in the elevated sections of the Premier League, breaking into the top four once. Yet fans complained of his tactical timidity against top clubs, of his inability to land deals in the transfer market, of his all round caution. Many a blue was more than happy when he left to go to Manchester United in 2013. Be careful what you wish for: in his stead came the chaos of Bobby Brown Shoes, Roberto Martinez.

Football club chairmen too seem continually diverted by the idea that there is a more lustrous sheen on the grass over the road. Thus it is that at West Ham, Julen Lopetegui will take the reins. He will come bearing promises of flowing football, of upwards progression, yes of trophies. It will neatly tally with the board’s own stated aims. Yet the interesting thing will be how long it takes for those in charge of the club to be disturbed by a man far less inclined to keep quiet about internal concerns.

Abrasion is not something football club owners relish. The good news for them is that, should their lawns be scorched by the abrasive Spaniard, they need an interim Mr Fixit they have David Moyes number on speed dial. After all, his calm rationality has come to their rescue before.

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