It had been arguably the toughest six months of his career but, at last, David Moyes knew — West Ham was the place he wanted to stay.
Never mind that back in November he had arrived to little more than apathy.
Never mind he was taking over a club plummeting towards the Championship.
After 27 league games in charge, he had not just regained his pride and rebuilt his reputation, he had steadily grown to believe he could do great things with the Hammers.
It was a dream which did not even last 24 hours beyond the final Premier League fixture of the season.
And while the Scot bears no resentment to those who decided there would be no long-term role, it remains a huge regret.
Today Moyes bares his heart for the first time since leaving the London Stadium, after turning round fortunes on the pitch and the fans’ view of him off it in a few dramatic months.
In November, the one-time Manchester United and Everton boss had arrived at a club in the relegation slots. They finished the campaign in 13th place, and signed off with their first win in a decade over his old Goodison pals.
By then Moyes was so keen to stay, he had already drawn up a hit-list of players to take them even higher, and was ready to sit down and discuss a permanent contract with the owners.
Instead, when his phone rang the next day, it was David Sullivan thanking him — but explaining they were going to go with other options.
Moyes has never spoken about not even getting the chance of an interview — until now.
He freely admits: “I have to say we couldn’t have done a better job.
“That’s why I was disappointed not to be offered the opportunity to stay. I’d taken it to the end of the season to see how I did and how the owners felt.
“From where they were to get them living and breathing again, was probably as successful a season as I could have had.”
Moyes reveals he would consider USA job
DAVID MOYES would consider becoming an international boss — if the right job in the Premier League does not come up.
Moyes has taken time out after his six-month rescue act saved West Ham from the drop last season, yet is now keen to get back into management.
He has already been linked with the USA national job, with Dave Sarachan currently the interim chief, and has also been tipped for the Scotland job.
He admitted: “I would have to consider the USA job if I was approached because it’s one of the big nations in world football, with massive growth potential.
“They have a constantly improving league, you’ve got David Beckham’s team coming into Miami and Nashville as well, so if it came up I would have a real interest.”
Moyes, who has previously been linked with jobs at Stoke and Aston Villa, would also be interested in working in Europe again.
He kept Real Sociedad in La Liga during a spell there and added: “Our mission was to keep the club up. We achieved that and we beat Barcelona in the process.
“I really enjoyed it, had the chance to see a different side, and would be interested in working in Spain again — or any of the other major leagues in Europe.
“I recently went out to see the Red Bull model at Salzburg and I’ve been keeping busy watching games and would be interested working in Europe again if the opportunity arose.”
His achievement was even more remarkable given he did it all while actually making a profit for West Ham in the January window. Moyes added: “By the end I’d decided I wanted to stay if the owners provided me with the funds to strengthen the squad.
“It disappointed me I didn’t at least get a chance to talk about it.”
Instead, the Hammers plumped for Manuel Pellegrini, a title winner at Manchester City, who got £100million for TEN new summer signings.
Yet so far the only different direction they have taken is downwards and they remain pointless after four games.
Moyes added: “If we’d have had the chance to spend I think we’d have got a successful team.
“The biggest strengthening had to be at the back. They needed reinforcements but every manager has their own thoughts.”
Ironically, Pellegrini has cited the “hangover” of last season as a reason for the dismal start to this — an argument Moyes finds easy to disprove.
He added: “We finished with two wins and a draw, and beating Everton — a real string of upbeat results.”
Certainly more upbeat than the horrible day in March, when a 3-0 home loss to Burnley saw fans storm the pitch and hundreds hurl abuse at the owners in the directors’ box.
Moyes was criticised for taking the players for a week in America the next day. Yet he maintains that was the break which turned things around for good.
He explained: “It was all booked and we took the decision to carry on. I knew it was vital we all recharged our batteries, built team spirit and came back ready to fight for the crucial games ahead.
“We flew to Miami early on the Sunday morning and that was the first time I got to really know the players.
“We trained hard but had really good down time, a good sing-song, all the old fashioned stuff.
“That really helped galvanise the team for the battle ahead. Burnley was the low point, in the dressing room afterwards it was very down.
“But those few days in America really pulled us all together.
“We came back and it flipped us into good form. Going to the States proved to be absolutely the correct decision — and the results proved it when we ended the season on a high.“
This afternoon Moyes comes face to face with TWO of his old employers, when he works as a Sky pundit on the Hammers’ trip to Everton.
It was his 11 years at Goodison — including eight top-eight finishes and three Manager of the Year awards — which earned the chance to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
He was axed after just ten months at Old Trafford and subsequently had spells with Real Sociedad and Sunderland before West Ham.
Now he is raring to go again and added: “Only Sir Alex, Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp have won more games in the Premier League than me.
“I would still consider myself in the elite group of managers. If it was me against someone else I’d trust myself.
“I’ve had my down times, as every manager does, but I bounce back pretty quickly.
“I now have the same excitement, determination and hunger as I’ve ever had.
“You get knocks but you get back on the horse — and I am ready again.”
ON THE MAN UTD JOB
IN hindsight, people think it was the wrong time, but the opportunity was one I had to take.
No one gets the United job without a level of success and that came from my 11 years at Everton.
If I got offered the same today, I would say yes.
I enjoyed my time but would have liked more of it to turn things around.
That team needed to be evolved, but it couldn’t be done in ten months. I don’t care what manager came after Sir Alex Ferguson, I think they’d have found the same difficulties.
People would say having Sir Alex watching over couldn’t be good, but I thought the exact opposite. Both he and David Gill were really supportive.
But I know we are in the business of results — and I didn’t get enough of them.”
MY BEST DEFENDER
I HAVE worked with some great centre-halfs, but of all of them the best was Nemanja Vidic.
Even in the short time I was at Manchester United, he was the most outstanding.
That was him at the end of his career, too. He was a real man in the way he worked, the way he played.
MY GREATEST GAME
THIS was when Duncan Ferguson scored the winner against Manchester United at Goodison Park, in the year (2005) we qualified for the Champions League.
In the run-in we had to win one of the real big ones and we beat United 1-0. That was a big statement and we finished fourth.
MY SPELL AT SUNDERLAND
IT really is a brilliant club with passionate supporters, but they had big financial problems.
We didn’t have the funds required to rebuild the team and it was also difficult to attract a level of player to make the difference.
We couldn’t get it going, but lots of good managers couldn’t either. After I left, it sadly continued on a downward spiral.
PUTTING ARNAUTOVIC UP TOP
WHEN we got to West Ham he hadn’t scored and people said he wasn’t running, but Marko was fantastic.
After the first game we moved Arnautovic from the wing to centre-forward and for a period he had the most sprints and distances.
For someone seen as the complete opposite, that was great and he deserves credit for the work he did. He was a massive threat to the opposition.
MY BEST SIGNING
NIGEL MARTYN, because I took him from Leeds for nothing. It’s so difficult when you think of the likes of Steven Pienaar, Mikel Arteta, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Tim Cahill, Phil Jagielka, John Stones . . . all really top players.
But I would have to say Nigel was probably my best value for money signing because he was free and great for Everton at the time.
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