There was a time when David Moyes was de rigueur. There was a period in the 2000s when his assiduous attention to detail was the trait people ascribed to him. Nowadays, it's Marcelo Bielsa or Pep Guardiola, the man Moyes faces in this afternoon's early Premier League kick-off, who are held up as bastions of fastidiousness.

On one occasion, a well-respected broadsheet sent their chief sportswriter to Everton's Finch Farm training ground just to breathe in the sights and sounds of a Moyes' training session, such was his stock. Today, he would be the hipsters' choice, his team did not necessarily play swashbuckling football but it was effective, the durable whole that was greater than the sum of its constituent parts.

So what happened? Manchester United that's what. Moyes' ill-fated spell at Old Trafford cost him his reputation as a progressive and astute manager.

It is a little more than six years since he vacated a job that has proved beyond Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and, now, seemingly Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It is a period as a manager that left an indelible mark on not just Moyes but football's collective psyche. One local Manchester newspaper referred to the appointment of the Glaswegian as Sir Alex Ferguson's second biggest mistake as United manager. The first, apparently, was Fergie's decision at the start of the 200-01 season to announce his retirement.

Much as his successors have found Moyes was cast on to the rocks by the haphazard nature of working with the Glazer family and chief executive Ed Woodward. The Maroune Fellaini saga in 2013 encapsulated Woodward's failings, allowing a deadline which would have allowed United to buy the Belgian for £18m to elapse before going back for the player and paying £9.5m over the original asking price. If that has echoes with this summer for Solskjaer, Moyes has endured similar frustrations in the transfer window at West Ham. He and his squad were dismayed at the ease with which exciting England Under-21 winger Grady Diangana was allowed to join West Bromwich Albion last month. The manner of his exit bore the hallmarks of another frustrating departure from the club – that of Jeremy Ngakia, the right-back, who made five hugely impressive performances before he joined Watford on a free transfer after failing to agree terms on a new deal, despite Moyes' appeals for him to stay.

Moyes wanted Burnley defender James Tarkowski to shore up his backline but only Vladimir Coufal, a right-back, arrived on a permanent deal while muscular midfielder Tomas Soucek's loan was made permanent.

If the similarities between the penny-wise, pound-foolish hierarchies at United and West Ham are operating in different financial spheres, it is their respective managers who have found themselves in the crosshairs of irate supporters.

For failures in the transfer market not of his doing, Moyes found himself under the microscope at Old Trafford and he has been subject to similar scrutiny at West Ham. Certainly, in his first spell there was a section of supporters who were unconvinced by his methods. In his second incarnation at the London Stadium, he has proved a more shrewd operator.

Having flirted with relegation for most of last season, they returned after the Covid-19 enforced re-start struggling to remain afloat. However, following defeats by Wolves and Tottenham, the ship was steadied sufficiently that they suffered just one more loss in the final seven games, notching up a win over Chelsea and a draw at Manchester United to ensure survival.

Evidence of the lengths Moyes goes to ensure he leaves no stone unturned came with the revelation last month that he had had plans in place since March should he be unavailable due to Covid-19. When he subsequently tested positive, a seamless transaction occurred, with long-time assistant Alan Irvine taking over and Moyes watching sessions at his London flat via a network of cameras at the training ground. Despite the inconvenience the pair oversaw one-sided Premier League wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City and a Carabao Cup thrashing of Hull City.

That said, the losses column this season already looks overburdened following three defeats after just five matches but two of those reverses came against teams in form: table-toppers Everton and a newly resurgent Arsenal. The performances in their last two games – the come-from-behind draw at Tottenham, where just four months earlier they had lost 2-0 and the aforementioned drubbing of Leicester suggest Moyes is doing more right than wrong.

This is the 57-year-old's lot. A team seemingly heading in the right direction but chronically afflicted by inconsistency. The off-field distractions presented by West Ham's owners, Messrs David Gold and David Sullivan, not to mention Karren Brady, the vice-chairman, who is prone to using her column in The Sun for embarrassing proclamations from the pulpit, do not help. Perhaps Moyes has managed to prise free a tap that has too often been stuck on cold. While the aftermath of their draw at Tottenham was ascribed to complacency on the part of Mourinho's side, it did the Hammers and Moyes a disservice. Even at 3-0, there was a flow to West Ham; they were causing Spurs problems and more crucially they stuck to their task, suggesting Moyes has their trust.

In today's early kick-off, their new-found confidence will be given another stringent test against Manchester City – a team they have failed to beat at home in any competition since 2014. Moyes has not got the better of Guardiola in seven attempts and West Ham's overall record since that 2-1 win six years ago makes for grim reading: City recording 10 wins to the London club's two with the total number of goals – 36 to eight – weighted heavily in their favour.

Recent results and a last-minute scramble on last Friday's English domestic transfer deadline, that allowed the Scot to add some numbers to his group, bring hope.

They should have Said Benrahma, the exciting attacking midfielder on loan from Brentford, and an out-of-the-box Premier League defender in Craig Dawson, available to them today. If the former has the impact that another exciting wide man from the Championship had in Jarrod Bowen then West Ham's bubble and Moyes' chest might yet puff out a little bit more later this afternoon.