Moyes set to Hammer out 1,000th game as a manager
David Moyes clocks up his 1,000th match as a manager tonight — but the West Ham boss admits there was a time he did not expect to even make it to double figures.
As the Hammers prepare to face Genk in the Europa League, Moyes can look back on a managerial career packed with highs and lows.
Under the Scot’s leadership, the East Londoners have gatecrashed the Premier League’s top four this season and are unbeaten in Europe.
Moyes, 58, would prefer his personal landmark to come and go with the minimum of fuss — but his achievements at the London Stadium cannot be overlooked.
The Hammers boss, who has also guided his side to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals this term, said: "If it had taken West Ham six years to get to this point [instead of two], West Ham supporters would probably have accepted it.
"Now we have to keep it going. Keep challenging, keep chipping away at it. We're on the fast train to the top and I don't want to get off."
Moyes will become the 35th member of the League Managers Association's 1,000 club, having made his managerial bow as Preston boss in a 1-0 win at Macclesfield in January 1998.
And he openly admits things have changed considerably since he took charge at Deepdale at the age of 34.
Moyes added: "When you are younger, you manage with less baggage, you nearly don't care. You just get on and do the job.
"There's been a strong change at clubs. Dealing with agents and players has become more difficult.
"Before, players would hardly have come to the manager's door but now they go to the owner's door directly. I don't think that's a good thing.
"In terms of the actual game, it is in a really good place. There are a lot of young, exciting footballers coming through and there are styles of football that we are all enjoying.
"There are an awful lot of games and there is an argument about that but it's because the demand is so great, with so many teams and players making people want to watch football even more."
After a four-year stint at Preston, Moyes moved on to Everton in March 2002.
And he remained in charge at Goodison Park until Manchester United came calling in 2013.
Sadly for Moyes, who had been hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson as the legendary manager’s successor, he was sacked after just 10 months in the Old Trafford hotseat.
He said: "I got offered the job from Sir Alex. In many ways he is the pinnacle of what people see in football in this country. To get that opportunity, it was something I felt I had to take."
After leaving United, Moyes had brief spells with Real Sociedad and Sunderland.
And although he did not last long in LaLiga, the Scotsman clearly enjoyed his time in Spain.
He said: "It was an unbelievable feeling to go and work in a country where we've got to say the best footballers come from.
"The journey from there was great and it was a really good time. Sometimes you have to have the bad times to get some good times and get the opportunities.
"I don't know if there are many managers who have gone through it where it's been plain sailing. Maybe Sir Alex — but even he had some bumpy times."
Moyes received his first call from West Ham in November 2017 after Slaven Bilic was axed with the club in the Premier League relegation zone.
Having guided the Hammers to safety with two games to spare, Moyes felt he had done enough to secure a longer deal.
He had even spoken to a couple of prospective signings as he started planning for the new campaign.
But a day after the 2017-18 season finished, he was told his services were no longer required — and former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini quickly replaced him.
Moyes said: "That period was really tough. We thought we had done a really good job, finished strongly and were making plans. Then, out of the blue, it wasn't there."
Hammers chiefs David Sullivan and David Gold came knocking once again 19 months later when Pellegrini’s reign turned sour.
As before, Moyes was asked to keep the club in the top flight — but this time he received guarantees about what would happen if he succeeded.
The rest, as they say, is history and West Ham have gone from strength to strength during the Glaswegian's second spell in the capital.
But the man himself insists there is no room for complacency.
Moyes said: "The game will come back and get you if you don't keep trying to improve and challenge yourself.
"You need people around you doing it as well. West Ham is a good club for me and I am really grateful to the owners for bringing me back.
"Sometimes it's very hard to fight back but the owners have given me a chance and I am going to keep throwing some punches."