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the take

If David Moyes is the answer then what is the question for relegation-bound West Ham?

This week's 'The Take' picks through the burning pile of rubble formerly known as West Ham

And in a puff of cigarette smoke, the aforementioned ‘Super Slav’ disappears.

David Gold and David Sullivan (dubbed the ‘dildo brothers’ by Sporting CP’s president) have invoked the spirit of the increasingly inarticulate Sir Alan Sugar by firing Slaven Bilic after a series of calamitous events.

The end of the road

REUTERS
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The end of the road

The Croatian boss may be privately pleased about being pushed off the sinking ship that is West Ham; he can now drift away in a lifeboat and watch on with the rest of us as it sinks towards the inevitable depths of the Championship.

At the time of writing, the bookies’ favourite to replace Bilic at the helm is David Moyes.

And if Moyes is the answer, then what the hell is the question?

David Moyes is the favourite to become Everton boss - for a second time

Rex Features
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*insert Andy Tate quote here*

Bilic departs with the best points-per-game ratio (1.33) of any permanent West Ham manager in Premier League history.

However, the fact that many Hammers fans have welcomed the decision to get rid of him says a lot about the velocity of the club’s decline since leaving their beloved Upton Park.

The magnificence of Dimitri Payet propelled West Ham to a 7th-placed finish in 2015/16, losing fewer games than Liverpool, Chelsea and both Manchester clubs.

Looking back, perhaps the inspired genius of Payet drew the attention away from some fundamental flaws in Bilic’s approach.

Dimitri Payet West Ham

Getty Images
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Blessed feet and aching shoulders

The French playmaker has created the most chances in Europe’s top five leagues since 2012/13 and his peak form for West Ham was truly breathtaking.

He was labelled a sulk and a snake for the actions that ultimately led to his departure but perhaps his annoyance was justified.

Players who appeared of potential top-six quality were left found wanting once Payet stopped waving his wand.

When a one-man team becomes a zero-man team, results will only ever go one way.

Dimitri Payet forced a move away from West Ham last season

AFP
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Few fans could have predicted how damaging Payet’s exit has been

I am being harsh on the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and Pedro Obiang; three players who have pulled their own weight in recent times.

But too many in the squad have been somewhat exposed since the forever-blown bubble burst.

Manuel Lanzini has proved he can flourish in the Premier League with West Ham

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One of a few players who has stood up and been counted in recent times

Bilic’s activity in the transfer market, or at least his handling of new signings, must also be questioned.

Jose Fonte instantly became half the player he was the moment he traded the south coast for east London.

Simone Zaza’s disastrous loan spell continued the theme of centre-forwards who can’t score that has plagued the club for an inexcusable length of time.

And Marko Arnautovic is equal parts luxury and liability — players with such a makeup are not conducive to a dogfight.

Italian striker Simone Zaza flopped at West Ham last season

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Zaza has rubbed salt in the wounds by scoring for fun in La Liga for Valencia this season

The signing of a rapidly declining Joe Hart and some naive defensive tactics means that after 11 league games, no team has conceded more goals than West Ham this season.

We’re talking about a club with a 66,000 capacity stadium, a large, passionate fan base, and strong sense of identity and history.

The fact that Moyes is even being considered for the role of manager, after his pessimistic effort in charge of Sunderland last term, is laughable.

David Moyes is being linked with a stunning move back to Everton

Rex Features
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A particularly uninspiring candidate

A reminder here that Javier Hernandez (a signing of which Bilic CAN be proud) left Man United when Moyes was in charge at Old Trafford.

The pair disagreed on pretty much everything and if reports are to be believed, the Mexican international is utterly unconvinced with the Scotsman’s credentials.

The appointment of Moyes risks upsetting the very player upon who the club’s survival in the top flight may now depend.

Hernandez’s form will be crucial going forward

Getty Images - Getty
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Hernandez’s form will be crucial going forward

As it stands, West Ham are in ruins.

Next month, they face Man City, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal twice — a run of fixtures that has the potential to extinguish any hope of a vaguely positive season.

Now is the time for the players and the next manager, whoever he may be, to prove their character.

If nothing else, they owe it to the fans.


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