West Ham TV Exclusive - David Moyes passes 1,000 games in management
West Ham United manager David Moyes has joined the League Managers Association’s exclusive 1000 CLUB, taking charge of the 1,000th competitive first-team match of his illustrious career in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Group H fixture at Genk.
Moyes joined the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Sir Bobby Robson Brian Clough, José Mourinho, Sven-Göran Eriksson, Carlo Ancelotti, Roy Hodgson, Graham Taylor, Arsène Wenger and former West Ham United managers Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp in passing the landmark.
It is nearly 24 years since the Scot, then just 34, took charge of his first-ever senior match, when he led Preston North End to a 1-0 Auto Windscreens Shield win at Macclesfield Town on 13 January 1998.
Just 1,618 fans were present at Moss Rose for the start of what has since become one of the most-respected managerial careers in the history of modern English football.
From that Tuesday night in Cheshire, Moyes has gone on to win 425 matches, lead Preston to the brink of the Premier League, Everton into the UEFA Champions League, manage Manchester United and inspire West Ham to a record points total and an historic return to European football.
Now 58, Moyes is widely considered to be one of the best managers of his generation. Despite competition from many of his fellow 1000 CLUB members, the Glaswegian has been voted LMA Manager of the Year three times by his peers – second only to Sir Alex Ferguson – while the job he is currently doing here at London Stadium has surely put him in position to win the award for a fourth time.
As he prepares for game number 1,001 against old adversaries Liverpool on Sunday, Moyes sat down to reflect on a managerial career to be proud of.
I feel really good. You don’t really think about getting to 1,000 games when you first get the job, but through time it started to grow and I saw other managers get to it.
The first one I can remember was probably Danny Wilson, strangely enough, and thinking ‘What an achievement to get to 1,000 games!’, and I would always go to the LMA Awards and see the managers who had got to 1,000 games and think ‘Wow! How many have I got?’.
It was only when I got a bit closer than I thought there might be a chance of getting there myself.
The biggest influence on my career was probably my parents.
My Dad ran a boys’ team in Glasgow called Drumchapel Amateurs and I would hear him on the phone booking the pitches, booking the referees and organising the time to turn up.
Then my Mum would wash the strips and they’d be hanging on the line every weekend, and there would be a lot of people who do the same job in boys’ football.
I would go along to watch the games and help the team out, so that’s where it all started.
As it went on, I became a player myself and I was really lucky that Billy McNeill gave me an opportunity to play in the first team at Celtic for a season or so.
I played with great players and that period and the way it influenced me was incredible, because Celtic’s style was to be attacking and to win.
I used to joke with my friend Jimmy Lumsden, who was youth-team coach at Celtic at the time, that we’d win and Billy would ask the score and we’d respond ‘One-nil boss’ and he’d reply ‘One?’ because Celtic wanted you to win five-nil.
There was a big demand on doing it better all the time, so Billy McNeill for in my early days gave me my opportunity and he was the boss to me.
When I was a young player, he was my first boss and he was really good to me.
In the summer holidays in Scotland we were sent to coaching sessions which were held in Largs [on the Ayrshire coast] at the time.
Largs was a really famous training ground and all the Scottish coaches went down like Alex Ferguson, Jim McLean, Walter Smith, Jocky Scott and Gordon Wallace. Scotland had unbelievably good coaches, and it was run by Andy Roxburgh.
Every summer, as a young player at Celtic, I had to go down at 17, 18 and 19 and I loved it, being around the football coaches.
We were called ‘Runners’ as we had to do all the running around for all the exercises and that’s where I got my first start in coaching and thought ‘I’m really enjoying this’.
I felt Andy Roxburgh at the time was ahead of a lot of the things I’d seen. He was coming up with new ideas on how teams were playing, how players were doing and tricks and things like that, so it really interested me a lot.
Walter Smith, at that time, was assistant to Andy as manager of the Scotland Under-18 team. I was captain, so I had Andy and Walter as my coaches at that time, so that was probably how it started.
My first club when I moved to England in 1983 was Cambridge United, who were in the equivalent of the Championship at that time.
I took coaching there with some boys’ teams on the rec and I moved to Bristol City after that and I took one of the pub teams and trained them during the week.
Then I had the same when I went to Shrewsbury. Somebody asked me to go and take one of the private schools [Concord College] so I used to coach them, so it was all part of me becoming a coach quite young and I enjoyed it.
I wasn’t doing it because I thought I was going to end up with 1,000 games in football management, I was doing it because I probably needed a bit of extra cash, I wanted to be around football people and I really enjoyed going and seeing how I could do taking training.
My time at Preston North End was brilliant.
I started as a player, became a player-coach, became a player-assistant and eventually became player-manager at the age of 34 and went on to become manager, so I went through all the stages there.
I’ll always be grateful to Preston for the way they treated me. The people at the club were really good.
I said in an interview the other day that young coaches need people who trust you and give you the chance without questioning all your moves, and I worked with chairmen at Preston called Bryan Gray and Derek Shaw.
They were two completely different people in the way they were – Bryan was very straight and the amount of things he taught me, while Derek was the opposite as he was hard to get money out of, which he won’t forgive me for saying as we’re friends – but they were great people for me because they trusted me and put me in charge at the time.
I wouldn’t say it wasn’t expected, because I was sort of being groomed to go on and coach somewhere. I had already had a few offers to take up other jobs which I had chosen not to, because the big thing for me was that I was playing and I didn’t want to stop.
When I first got the job, I said to Bryan Gray that I didn’t want to give up my playing contract in case he didn’t think I was a good enough manager.
I tried to do both and, to be honest, I didn’t play well in the games, so I thought I had to make a choice and they said they wanted me to be manager, so I gave up the playing.
It was the best thing I’ve probably done.
I went everywhere to learn about coaching and management.
I wasn’t earning loads of money as a player, so it was very difficult, and I am grateful for the help I got from the PFA to do my coaching courses.
The courses are great and I did my badges in Scotland when I was quite young. I fully qualified and then when I moved down to England I decided to do it all again, so I have actually done it in two countries.
So, when I got the job at Preston, I was ready to enjoy it and take it on and the people I had around me were very good.
Everton was a brilliant club for me to choose and I was really fortunate.
Again, talking about the people I worked with, it was incredible because I was so lucky to work with Bill Kenwright and Sir Philip Carter – men with real integrity who would stand up and not take any nonsense and always be very supportive.
The biggest thing I did was the day I got the job, Walter Smith had been sacked. As I’ve told you, Walter was my youth-team coach in Scotland and I knew him well, so I went to his house in Lymm and knocked on the door and went in.
This was a manager who had just lost his job and I said ‘I’ve been offered the job at Everton’ and he said ‘You’ve got to take the job as it’s a great job and a brilliant place to go’, so the man he was, he didn’t have any grudges and he didn’t give me anything but positivity in anyway about Everton.
That was before I took the job at Everton, then I had players like David Ginola and Paul Gascoigne, huge world-class players who would look me and think ‘Who is this boy? He’s done quite well at Preston, but he’s come here and got the job here’.
It was a great job, and I have to say it was a really good time in my career and a really big part of my 1,000-game journey, really.
I’ve got a level of pride about winning three LMA Manager of the Year awards, as it means you’ve had to have a successful year and people have recognised your work.
I think it’s something where people see you’ve not worked necessarily with a lot of money and a lot of the awards go to someone who has overachieved.
I’ve got to say, I’m really proud of them. I’d like to have a bundle of FA Cup winner’s medals and Premier League trophies and all that, but I’ve not been able to get that, so what gives me a bit of satisfaction is that other people have seen the work we’ve tried to do has been good.
I think I’ve dealt with challenges well, as my background gave me a bit of inner strength and the ability not to think too much about them and move on quickly and work out how I could improve.
I’m not sure I looked at what I’d done wrong, but things I could and should have done better.
Overall, all the people and clubs I’ve worked with have been brilliant.
Everybody is thrilled to be working at a football club and they’ve all helped – obviously the players have to perform, but I’ve also worked with great Chief Executives, great secretaries, great media people and people who have really made it a lot easier for me.
Sometimes as a football manager you need a bit of luck to get good people around you and I think I’ve been a little bit lucky.
At West Ham United, I do think what we’ve done really quickly is really, really good.
I would have thought if you said to me ‘If this took six years, would West Ham supporters accept this level of progress?’, I think most would accept that and we’d work to that.
We’ve got to this level really quickly and I don’t want to put a ‘but’ to it because I want to grow the Club and I want the supporters to see something that is exciting and forward-thinking.
I’m getting to and age and have done 1,000 games and I want to be really positive.
We won’t win all the games, nobody does, but I have had my years of fighting, like we’ve had here at West Ham, and games where we’ve only been thinking about how we can stay away from the bottom.
I don’t know what the secret is of building a club, but I drive it on myself and give myself high demands and I press the players and staff on it.
I demand that we do everything we possibly can to get the best out of the players and that’s the bit for me that I’m always trying to get the best out of the players.
There have been two or three where I can think I’ve tried and done everything I can, but I couldn’t get the best out of them.
I can think of loads more who have benefitted and gone on to be international players or have really good careers and I’m thrilled for them because I keep in touch with so many of the players I’ve worked with over the years.
Here, Marko Arnautović, when you think with what happened with him at this Club, Marko was great and he’s been in touch with me a lot.
He got changed from being a wide player into a centre-forward – he did it, not me – and I’m sure, looking back, he thought ‘The manager pushed me and challenged me’.
I enjoyed the challenge of Marko because he was a difficult character, but he tested me to see how I could get the best out of him.
Coming back and staying up has been my biggest achievement at West Ham so far.
It would be fair to say that not every West Ham supporter thought I was the right choice to come here, and I can understand that a little bit, but overall I’ve got to say, I thought the position we were in when I came back was bleak.
I know the time before I thought ‘My goodness, we swam the Channel to stay up, we really did’, but this one I felt was much more difficult.
I thought we were in a more difficult position and because of that I had to come in and put myself in a position where I was probably risking a bit myself.
But again, and I’ve said this a few times, I think the owners thought ‘Did we miss something in the end?’ and I hope it wasn’t that they thought I was only good at keeping clubs up because, in truth, I don’t think my 1,000 games have been that.
Most of my 1,000 games in my eyes have been teams challenging at the top of their leagues, not those around the bottom.
Coming back I felt showed they were big enough to say ‘We might have got this wrong, so let’s try again’.
We came back and it was nearly January  and we were coming into a terrible run of games where it didn’t look like we’d get many points and, as it was, we didn’t.
I remember we went up to Manchester City and I didn’t want to lose by five or six and we lost two-nil and when we did go into lockdown in March time, we stayed out of the bottom three on goal difference.
When people asked what happened, I go back and say it’s because we didn’t lose five-nil at Man City. I thought our goal difference could take us down and at that time we didn’t know in lockdown if the league was curtailed and the bottom three would go down.
What I did know was that we weren’t in the bottom three and it couldn’t be us for that reason, so as far as I was concerned that was an important time for me.
The key for me was that I got to know the players well and really get their fitness up when I was taking the players every day in 40-minute sessions and I really enjoyed it.
All those things made a difference.
I want to win one trophy with West Ham and then I want to win another one!
Look, we all work at a football club now which we see real signs of growth and we hear positive stories coming out of West Ham at the moment, and we’ve got an incredibly positive stadium with supporters in it.
I see so many young kids coming to West Ham at the moment and it thrills me because I see so many of them with their jerseys on.
I think people are more proud to say they’re a West Ham supporter than perhaps they have been in recent years, so there are so many positive things going on and we have to keep building on it.
If we can win something, great, but I see my part of the job is to get West Ham back up to where we should be and let’s see where we go from there.