Matt Beard’s time as head coach for West Ham before today’s Hammer blow
On a day of managerial mayhem in the WSL, London clubs have been making headlines with Matt Beard leaving West Ham via mutual consent, and Karen Hills and Juan Amoros both shown the door at Tottenham Hotspur.
For Beard, it spells the end of a two-year stint with the Hammers that reached its pinnacle with an FA Cup final appearance at Wembley.
The 42 year-old was named manager of West Ham in June 2018, the same year the team were granted a license into the WSL.
He had previously spent time at top-flight clubs Chelsea and Liverpool, before a move to the US and the National Women’s Soccer League with Boston Breakers.
In his first year at West Ham, the team finished in seventh, winning seven games.
Beard’s biggest achievement came during his debut year when the side reached the FA Cup final after a dramatic win on penalties against Reading in the semi-final.
But the dream finish to his first campaign was dashed by Manchester City.
In the Continental League Cup, Beard led his side to the quarter-finals before they were knocked out by Manchester United.
The following season descended into chaos, not just for Beard but for all clubs in the WSL.
The 2019/20 season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then cancelled altogether in May with Beard’s side sitting in eighth off the back of a 4-2 win against Liverpool.
Prior to the Covid interruption, Beard’s team had played their first game at the London Stadium for the first time - a 2-0 defeat to Spurs.
They had also reached the fourth round of the FA Cup before they were knocked out by Arsenal.
But it was a different story for Beard’s side a year later in the Continental League Cup after they failed to advance to the knock-out stages.
They finished just one point behind Reading in the group stages and two behind Chelsea, who later went on to win the title over Arsenal.
During his time at the club he signed England international Gilly Flaherty, German star Julia Simic, Sweden’s Alisha Lehmann and Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold.
He also got on board and spray-painted his hair pink during the club’s campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer during October last year, which also saw the team wearing pink shirts.
Today, as Beard headed for the exit, his team have just four points after just one win in seven matches - against Birmingham City.
The club are also set to enter the FA Cup in the fourth round proper at the end of January next year. An opponent has not yet been confirmed.
And ironically, his final act was to steer the side to a Continental League Cup quarter final spot, after beating Charlton Athletic last night.
West Ham have announced that goalkeeping coach Billy Stewart and first-team coach Paul McHugh will take temporary charge of the team.