West Ham United were handed a heavy defeat at the AMEX stadium as they lost 3-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion. This result left the Hammers floundering in 16th place in the Premier League, just one point above the relegation zone. But perhaps it was not just the defeat that stung the supporters the most; it was David Moyes’ response to it that has resulted in some of the fans turning on their former hero.

Many of the West Ham supporters were pleased when Moyes was brought back to the club in December 2019. During his previous stint at the London Stadium in 2017-18, he had guided the club clear of relegation trouble and looked to be building something for the future. His brand of honest, old-school management resonated with many fans, and they appreciated the way he seemed to be restoring some pride and passion to a team that had looked rudderless for too long.

But fast-forward a year, and the mood has changed markedly. Following the Brighton defeat, Moyes gave a rather bizarre interview in which he seemed to absolve himself of any blame. He described West Ham’s performance as “naive”, and bemoaned the fact that the squad was not strong enough. Many fans took this as a thinly-veiled swipe at the board – Moyes was effectively saying that he needed more money to spend on players before he could make things better.

This did not sit well with some supporters, who felt that Moyes was shirking his responsibilities as manager. They argued that it was his job to get the best out of the players at his disposal, regardless of whether or not they were good enough. Some went further, calling for his head and accusing him of being a dinosaur who was out of touch with modern football.

Critics also argued that Moyes’ tactics were too negative, with too much emphasis on defending, and not enough on attacking. They pointed to the fact that West Ham had scored just once in their last five games, and had kept only one clean sheet in their last ten. They accused him of being too cautious, and not giving his team enough freedom to express themselves.

There are also concerns that Moyes is falling out with some of his players. The decision to drop Mark Noble against Brighton was a shock to many fans, and some argued that the captain’s experience and leadership were sorely missed. There were also rumours circulating that Moyes had fallen out with Issa Diop, one of West Ham’s most promising young defenders. If these rumours are true, then it could be further evidence that Moyes is losing the dressing room, and that his days at the club are numbered.

It’s a cruel irony that Moyes’ reputation as a safe pair of hands now seems to be his undoing. Some supporters argue that he is too conservative, too cautious, and too predictable. He seems, at times, to be more focused on avoiding defeat than on winning games. This is perhaps understandable given West Ham’s precarious league position, but it is not a philosophy that sits well with fans who want to see their team play attractive, attacking football.

So, where does this leave West Ham United? The club is now under huge pressure to turn their season around, and to show that they are capable of competing at this level. Their next few fixtures are crucial, with games against Wolves, Arsenal, and Leicester City coming up. It remains to be seen whether Moyes can inspire his team to pick up points in these games, or whether they will continue to flounder.

There is no doubt that Moyes has a big challenge on his hands. He needs to restore the confidence and belief that seems to have drained away from his players. He needs to find a way to get the best out of a squad that many believe is capable of much more than they have shown so far. And he needs to do all of this while dealing with a growing sense of anger and disillusionment from some sections of the fanbase.

It’s not an enviable position, but then again, football management rarely is. Moyes will need to draw on all of his experience and nous to salvage something from this season, and to win back the support of those who have turned against him. Whether he is up to the task remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – he will be under no illusions as to the size of the challenge that lies ahead.