Luring David Moyes to Celtic: as pointless as it is impossible

By Euan Davidson

March 10, 2021

For the first time in years, links between David Moyes and Celtic are a good thing.

After all, the amiable Scottish manager has rebuilt his reputation. After disappointing post-Everton spells at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland, Moyes’ stock has risen. His West Ham United side at 5th at the time of writing [Premier League]. They look well-placed for European football, above more expensively assembled squads.

It’s a remarkable state of affairs, and I mean no disrespected to Moyes here: his team are above Carlo Ancelotti’s. The serial Scudetti winner and Champions League victor’s Everton are one place behind. Then there’s Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal. Even in this, the strangest of seasons, that’s incredible going.

It’s with that in mind that talk linking David Moyes to Celtic seems incredibly unlikely. The manager, himself, has been quick to quash speculation [Football.london]. The Bhoys reportedly made an approach [TEAMtalk], but it was, of course, rebuffed by the Hammers.

That might actually end up being a good thing for Celtic. Yes, we want Premier League standards, and Moyes has a connection to Celtic. He ticks two very prominent boxes. But he’s still an uncomfortable fit, and there are some big concerns marking a David Moyes Celtic side.

West Ham Manager, David Moyes / (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

David Moyes to Celtic: the fashionable choice?

There are many adjectives to describe David Moyes. That said, “fashionable” doesn’t seem like the one to pick out here, but bear with me.

We need to remember that this is Moyes’ first good season in management in years. He hasn’t lasted a calendar year at any job since Everton, the worst spell coming as he tried to salvage Sunderland from relegation. And as bad as they were in 16-17, Moyes was still able to spend nearly £40m [Transfermarkt].

With that money, he spent large fees on Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji while relying on experience at Everton with Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo. Now, there’s a Netflix documentary about Sunderland.

Yes, he’s shown he can buy shrewdly; his success at Everton shows that. However, football has moved on a substantial deal since then. The point is that he needs to demonstrate he’s capable of creating a legacy at West Ham before we can feel totally secure with a David Moyes to Celtic rumour. 12 months ago, he’d have been an incredibly unpopular choice, and if Celtic supporters are looking for continuity, fresh ideas and attacking football, then he’s not the guy.

Yes, of course we picked this picture. / (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Would he be willing to give up Premier League football?

The relationship between Moyes and Celtic is well-established and well-known. No, he was never a star for the Bhoys, but he did play 24 league games between 1980 and 1983. He, at the very least, passes the Mick McCarthy test.

But would the former Manchester United boss be willing to give up Premier League football? Especially at this moment in time, when he’s doing so well?

If you ask me, no chance. However much Moyes cares about critics is his knowledge alone, but he still has a number to answer. In terms of reputation, much of his excellent work at Everton was undone in one rough spell replacing Fergie. The cards were stacked against him from the start, there. But being the man who saw Sunderland relegated was a huge blow to his CV.

The fact that he’s proving people wrong with West Ham United will be enormous motivation to him. As someone who was an established Premier League name, to the extent where he took the Man United job, he won’t have enjoyed the last near-decade in the slightest.

He could take an un-fancied Hammers team to European football. That’s no small deal. With all the problems behind the scenes, a huge, soulless stadium and a support in revolt, that’s a gigantic success. It’s impossible to suggest he’d give that up to manage Celtic at this particular moment.

Given the scale of the rebuild needed at Paradise, there are plenty of more appropriate fits. While Moyes seems like a decent, hard-working and determined coach, with Premier League standards, he’s just not the man for now.

There’s definitely a future in which Moyes takes the Celtic job, but the Bhoys could arguably do better.

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