The memory is as clear as day.

Text messages from West Ham supporting friends lighting up my phone on that December night in 2019.

To say that those text messages were steeped in dismay is an understatement.

Elsewhere, fans were whipping out bedsheets and permanent markers to make up some more banners. Message boards were inundated with angry supporters lashing out at what they saw as the latest saga in a catalogue of errors since Davids Sullivan and Gold completed their takeover of the club back in January 2010.

Fourteen months on those fans are eating their words.

File photo dated 18-10-2020 of West Ham United manager David Moyes. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 17, 2020. David Moyes’ first game back in charge of West Ham ended in a 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth. See PA story SPORT Christmas January. Photo credit should read Clive Rose/PA Wire.
David Moyes has had critics claiming his appointment was a bad one in December 2019 eating their words

West Ham really are competing for a Champions League place which would represent the stuff of fantasy. Whether they make it or not, Moyes is surely a live candidate for Manager of the Year.

The Scot has rebuilt his reputation after failed spells at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland. He has rejuvenated the perception of Jesse Lingard, a man many had written off after his exile from the United team.

Moyes has changed West Ham’s squad mentality, transforming the flaky underachievers into battle-hardened leaders. He has worked wonders in the transfer market with the recruitment of Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma.

Jesse Lingard, on loan at West Ham from Manchester United, has been reborn under David Moyes.

He has transformed Michail Antonio from an inconsistent right-winger into a centre-forward whose hold-up play and work rate sets the bar for his team-mates.

Last month Moyes persuaded one of the toughest fanbases to please in the country to trust him when he sold flop striker Sebastien Haller at a loss at Ajax without bringing in a replacement.

Surely ex-TOWIE star Mark Wright, who chimed in with the chorus of disapproval when Moyes was announced, can’t still the hump now.

Right now, West Ham are the highest-placed London club in the Premier League.

Moyes inspired them to wipe out Spurs on their own ground last weekend without a recognised striker.

They are an outfit normally fighting relegation. This season they are the highest-placed London club in the Premier League with so many others spending more and boasting far deeper squads. Declan Rice, a player they feared they'd have to surrender to a Chelsea or Manchester United in the summer, could be playing Champions League football at the London Stadium next season.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is now dreaming of Champions League football in east London

Were it not for Moyes, Pep Guardiola would be a shoo-in for the Manager of the Year award his outstanding work with Manchester City.

Earlier this season, when his injury-hit side were smashed up 5-2 at home by Leicester and held at Leeds and West Ham, many believed we’d reached the end of the Guardiola cycle.

No top flight boss had rebuilt a side since Sir Alex Ferguson had stepped down at Manchester United. Guardiola was still leaning on players the club had bought before his arrival in July 2016.

The widely-held view was that he’d one again miss out on the Champions League success he’d been brought in to achieve.

The resurgence has been incredible. At this rate Guardiola’s record-breakers could have the Premier League title wrapped up with several games to spare. You wouldn’t bet against them in Europe either.

The only rider you’d add is that, asked about the secret of his success, Guardiola said this week: “We have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players. Without them, we cannot do it.”

And there’s the rub. We still should pay tribute to his tactical nous, his man-management and Guardiola’s powers of motivation.

But with just a fraction of that wealth in this craziest of campaigns, Moyes is on course to break into a top four club normally dominated by a select few.

If that can’t win him the Manager of the Year this season then he’ll probably never win it.