West Ham United officially confirmed today that they’d appointed former Croatia head coach Slaven Bilic as their new manager.
It’s been a long, arduous process, but the owners finally have their man.
Updates were provided on twitter in the lead up to the official statement from David Sullivan Jnr and later the official twitter page.
The 46 year old will be West Ham’s 15th Manager in their 120 year history, returning to the club that he played over 50 times for, scoring 3 goals.
Bilic is currently on his holidays, but has reportedly already set the wheels in motion for his brand new project.
Speaking exclusively to whufc.com, Bilic reiterated his desire to manage the football club he once played for;
“I’m really glad to be back with West Ham United, It’s in the Premier League, which is among the best in the world. It’s a big challenge and you are competing with the best and what better club to do it with than West Ham.
“I remember West Ham as a special club. I love these kinds of special clubs. My last club, Besiktas, was that kind of club. It’s not about the size – West Ham is big Club – there is something special about them – they are a cult clubs.
“It is a great place to play and I felt like I was at home. It is a big privilege and a big responsibility to now be manager and I hope that I will prove it to the Board, players and fans.
“My first priority when choosing a club is to look at its ambitions. When I spoke to the Chairmen and Karren Brady, they made clear that it is not only the fantastic new Stadium we are moving into, but they showed their determination and ambition to make what is a big club even bigger.
“I saw their determination and passion that they want to do that. That was the number one reason. I could feel that they really wanted me so it was an easy choice.
“I would say to the West Ham fans that I will give my best and together we will achieve great things.”
It took a while for the appointment to be made official after a number of other targets rejected the role, but Co-chairman David Gold is convinced they’ve got the right man.
Speaking on his official twitter account, he explained;
“From meeting Slaven it quickly became clear that he has a real passion and affinity for our Club and a real desire to become its manager”
Former team-mate of Bilic at West Ham, Tony Cottee is also a big fan of the appointment, explaining on TalkSport radio that this appointment has be waiting to happen for as long as 6 or 7 seasons.
“The board have made the right call. In my opinion there was only one outstanding candidate and I’m delighted Slaven Bilic has got the job.
“He’s managed in the Champions League and the World Cup. People are pointing the finger and saying, ‘he’s never managed in the Premier League’, but how do you expect him to do that without giving him a job?
“West Ham have got the right man.”
Only time will tell if this is the correct appointment for West Ham, and it will be interesting to see where his focuses lie, considering the Hammers’ season starts next month in the early stages of Europa League Qualifying.
Many will say the main target is to be in the top flight when they move to the Olympic Stadium, hence a lot of question marks, from the outside, over Sam Allardyce’s sacking.
Here’s how their records compare:
|Sam Allardyce||Slaven Bilic|
|Team||Win %||Team||Win %|
|Preston North End||25.00%||Hajduk Split||64.71%|
|Bolton Wanderers||41.24%||Lokomotiv Moscow||38.71%|
|West Ham United||37.57%|
By those win percentages, you could be excused for expecting West Ham to easily avoid relegation. But a lengthy Europa League run could cause the same problems as what Everton endured last season, who until the final 2 months of the season were in real relegation danger.
But that doesn’t mean it will happen to West Ham, and Bilic has vast European experience.
Writer’s View: What a great appointment, people have been saying since Big Sam went that the club made a mistake with the timing of the sacking. But with the football they were playing, there were absolutely no guarantees that they’d have survived even with Big Sam at the helm.
I think he’s going to do a fabulous job at a growing club, we could well see West Ham as European regulars this time in 5 seasons, but he’ll need time.