Former player rules out replacing Zola at Upton Park
Last updated: 28th March 2010
Slaven Bilic has ruled himself out of the running to become West Ham
United's next manager, insisting he will not walk out on Croatia. Former
Hammers defender Bilic has been heavily linked with the Upton Park position
should current incumbent Gianfranco Zola leave his post. Zola is considering
his future in the hot seat after Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Stoke City
left West Ham only outside the Premier League relegation zone on goal
difference. Hammers co-owner David Gold has offered his support to the
Italian and has stressed the club are not looking to make a managerial
change for the final six games of the season. But reports have suggested
that Gold, and fellow owner David Sullivan, want Croatia coach Bilic to take
over the reins in the summer. Bilic, though, has stated that it is not the
right time to become West Ham boss as he wants to lead Croatia through the
2012 European Championship qualifying campaign. "I love West Ham very much,
but that job is not for me right now," Bilic, who played for the club in the
mid-1990s, told the Daily Star Sunday. "Not today. "I want to qualify for
the European Championships and nothing is going to change that. "I am
staying for all my country's qualifiers."
GIANFRANCO ZOLA READY TO WALK AWAY
News Of The World
By Greg Gobere, 27/03/2010
WEST HAM have been plunged into further crisis after Glenn Hoddle and Graeme
Souness turned down the chance to take charge at Upton Park. Hammers boss
Gianfranco Zola was last night considering his future with those closest to
him fearing he will quit after the 1-0 defeat by Stoke. Zola spoke to
co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold and said: "I'm not getting the best
out of the players. I'll make a decision overnight and speak to the owners
in the morning."
But with no immediate replacement on the horizon, Gold said: "We had a
meeting with Franco. We are right behind him." "I know my duties and I know
right now the situation is not going the way it should," Zola added. "I am
prepared to accept the situation. It is going to be a week in which we will
be talking to each other. The owners are behind us.
"They saw the team tried very hard today. They were supportive and that is a
very good starting point. "The players will appreciate that. The players are
feeling down and I am feeling down and to have that support is very good."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis offered his sympathy to his opposite number. "I will
now go and have a drink with Gianfranco Zola," said Pulis. "Every manager
goes through these times.
"The important thing is that you have a good chairman who will back you and
stick behind you. "Then you need a little bit of luck - as much as anything,
he needs a little bit of good fortune."
CARLTON COLE TOPS ARSENAL'S WANTED LIST
Chamakh doubts emerge
News Of The World
By Aidan Magee, 27/03/2010
CARLTON COLE has leapt to the top of Arsenal's wanted list after they were
given first option on the West Ham striker. The Gunners made their move for
Cole after doubts over Marouane Chamakh's switch from Bordeaux emerged. The
Moroccan hit-man has been a long-term Arsenal target but now they are ready
to turn their attention to £12million-rated Cole. West Ham's board are fully
aware of Arsenal's interest and accept the 26-year-old may have to be
sacrificed to bolster finances, especailly if the Hammers are relegated.
Arsene Wenger has admired the former Chelsea forward for many years despite
having some doubts about his poor record with injuries. Cole signed a
five-year contract less than 18 months ago but the Gunners will be confident
of getting him at a reduced price if West Ham go down. The Arsenal boss has
had him watched since he returned to side at the end of January. Cole has
broken into the England squad this season and has a decent chance of going
to the World CupWenger needs to sign English players ahead of next season
when the Premier League's new rule on home-grown players comes into effect.
The ruling means at least seven of a club's 25 players have to have been
trained and developed in an English youth system. Wenger has also suffered
problems up front this term. Robin van Persie has been out since before
Christmas while Nicklas Bendtner, Eduardo and Carlos Vela have impressed
only in short spells. Cole has again suffered injury problems this season
but has still managed to score nine goals in 18 Premier League starts and is
on course to beat his best return of ten goals since making his debut for
Chelsea in 2002. West Ham co-owner David Sullivan is prepared to lose many
of his higher earners if the Hammers are relegated into the Championship as
he attempts to manage debts which he says have crept as high as £110m.
I'm ready to resign, says Gianfranco Zola after loss
West Ham United manager considering his position after sixth successive
league defeat at the hands of Stoke City
Duncan Castles at Upton Park
The Sunday Times March 28, 2010
GIANFRANCO ZOLA will wake up this morning and decide whether he will resign
as West Ham United manager. The Italian has been under pressure since David
Sullivan and David Gold bought a controlling stake in the club in January
but had refused to discuss the prospect of resigning until yesterday's 1-0
loss at home to Stoke, their sixth league defeat in a row.
"Right now I'm flat because we lost another game," said Zola. "I will
consider overnight whether I'm doing a good job for this club or not. The
owners and I will be talking." Asked if he was prepared to resign, he
replied: "If the problem is me, why not? I will have to think a lot
overnight. If I see that I cannot do a good job for this club . . . [I will
Zola, inset, has three years to run on a contract worth £1.9m a year, so has
much to lose by resigning. Neither of the co-owners want to pay off Zola or
his No 2 Steve Clarke but while Sullivan has publicly criticised his
manager, Gold went to the home dressing room after the game to back Zola and
his players. "All I can say to you is that we had a chat with him, we
assured him that we were right behind him," said Gold. "We've got six very,
very difficult games and he's got to get some results for us. But we're
absolutely 100% behind him. [If Zola goes] it certainly won't be my decision
as we speak. Because my decision is that he's our manager as we speak."
Sullivan and Gold spoke to former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes about
taking over during the week but were unable to meet his wage demands.
Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, said: "The chairman of West Ham has come out
and said he's going to back Gianfranco, well he needs backing now. This is
when you show your real character. It will be interesting to see now what
backing Gianfranco gets."
Zola set to walk out on West Ham after Sullivan showdown
Published 22:45 27/03/10 By Steve Stammers and Paul Smith
Beleaguered West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola had crisis talks with David
Sullivan last night after admitting he was on the brink of quitting the
Upton Park hot seat. Zola had seen his team lose to Stoke 1-0, the Hammers'
sixth successive defeat. West Ham are now only above the relegation zone on
goal difference. Before his showdown with co-chairman Sullivan, Zola
admitted he wanted to consider his future overnight. Zola said: "Clearly
we have a problem. "It is very painful and I feel very flat. I will think
about what has happened and I will consider what to do. "Let me think a lot
overnight. That is the bottom line. "I have to see whether I am the right
man for the job. "There is no other consideration for me than finding out
what is the problem." Asked if he would quit, Zola said: "If the problem is
me, then why not? I will have to think about it. "As far as I can see the
problem is not that the players aren't trying very hard. The bottom line is
whether I can help them or not. I am trying to be honest. If I am not able
to do a good job, I will tell you. There are a lot of things I have to
consider after this game."
Zola emerged from last night's meeting still in position as West Ham boss.
Sullivan and co-chairman David Gold had lengthy discussions immediately
after the game in the Upton Park boardroom. It was widely expected that
defeat against the Potters would spark the termination of Zola's contract
and the departure of assistant boss Steve Clarke. It was Clarke and Sullivan
who were involved in the angry exchanges last Thursday at the Hammers'
training ground. In front of the players Clarke demanded Sullivan leave
their meeting. Sullivan was annoyed by that snub in front of the playing
staff. Afterwards, and in private, the duo had another heated confrontation.
Zola has three years remaining on his £1.9m a-year contract. Clarke is paid
£1.1m a-year. Relegation would be a savage body-blow to West Ham especially
if it arrived in the wake of the Sullivan-Gold takeover. Zola will have to
make a compelling case that he is the man who can save West Ham from the
drop. Next weekend, West Ham head to Everton.
Zola given stay of execution after board meeting
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent
March 27, 2010
Gianfranco Zola has survived the sack at West Ham United because of an
incredible sequence of events in the last 24 hours, but he will still
consider his future overnight following the Hammers' 1-0 defeat to Stoke.
The Italian was expected to be shown the door if he lost Saturday's match at
Upton Park but Soccernet understand that there isn't universal support to
hire former England coach Glenn Hoddle as his replacement for the final six
games and Mark Hughes believes he can find a better opening. That leaves
candidates such as David O'Leary and Terry Venables, and again there is only
a lukewarm support for either to rush into a fire fighting exercise. So,
after an emergency board meeting following the game, David Gold emerged to
insist he and fellow co-owner David Sullivan were "right behind" Zola
despite the latest crushing set back in the club's fight against relegation.
Gold told Sky Sports News: "We've got six very difficult games left and he
has got to get some results for us, but we are absolutely 100% behind him."
Clearly, Gold and Sullivan are showing public support, but privately Gold is
more supportive, while Sullivan isn't making an issue of kicking out Zola if
his partner is not convinced it is the right move, despite the animosity
caused by the alleged training bust up on Thursday, which should see Clarke
officially reprimanded on Monday morning. Asked if Zola was to go, whether
it would be the Italian's decision or the co-owners' choice, Gold added: "It
certainly won't be my decision as we speak, because my decision is that he
is our manager as we speak."
Soccernet understands that an "amicable" meeting took place between Zola and
the two Davids after the match, so there was some surprise that Zola told
reporters that he was on his way home to think over his position. Zola said:
"The players are trying hard for us. The bottom line is to see whether I can
help them or not. I will consider overnight whether I am doing a good job or
not." Zola must know that the board have been considering their options and
reviewing the alternatives, which might prompt him to resign.
However, Zola might want to see the job through to at least the end of the
season to try to save the team from relegation - and to prove a point about
his managerial credentials.
Vinny's Stoke Report
Vinny - Sun Mar 28 2010
West Ham Online
West Ham United 0 Stoke City 1
A sixth straight defeat sees West Ham fall further into the relegation mire
as Stoke ended a quite miserable week for everyone connected to West Ham
United. This I would say is the most difficult match report to write this
season. After the Wolves games I was very angry and shocked at the result
and the performance but after this game I just feel pretty numb and
disillusioned with it all. Stoke always looked the more dangerous and played
a type of football we found just too difficult to deal with. In the second
half we offered nothing and never looked as though we were going to score.
The rumours flying about seem to indicate that manager Gianfranco Zola will
leave the club following this defeat and although there may be just six
games left his departure cannot make matter any worse than they surely are.
When West Ham were nearly relegated in 2006/07 and managed to survive I
really did not envisage us going through the dogfight for a long time. Why I
thought this was obviously due to the money the Icelandic owners were
throwing about and the fact that we had a decent side. But here we are again
fighting for our lives. Actually, scrap that - here we are p*ssing away the
season with poor performance after poor performance. Our players seems to
have just given it up as they stroll around playing terrible passes left
right and centre. We were out fought and Zola was actually tactically out of
his depth. Our performance played into the hands of Stoke who like Bolton
and Wolves came with a game plan and stuck to it.
Owner David Sullivan called our performance against Wolves 'pathetic'. I'm
interested to hear what he will say about this gutless display. Gianfranco
Zola made a host of changes to the side who were beaten 3-1 last Tuesday
evening. In defence James Tomkins was out with injury and replaced by Manuel
Da Costa who was returning from a three match suspension he picked up in a
reserve game. Fabio Daprela was surprisingly dropped to the bench as
Jonathan Spector came in at left back to replace him. In midfield Kieron
Dyer returned from nowhere and replaced Alessandro Diamanti who found
himself on the subs bench. Dyer started the game on the left wing with
Behrami on the left. Also in midfield Radoslav Kovac was dropped with Mark
Noble coming back into the centre of midfield alongside Scott Parker. Up
front Benni McCarthy was replaced by Mido with Guillermo Franco injured. On
the bench was Danny Gabbidon with Junior Stanislas not even included in the
18 man squad. Starting for Stoke City was former Hammer Matthew Etherington
who played over 160 times for the club scoring 16 goals and was also a
former Hammer of the Year in 2003/04 season.
Despite what the fans witnessed against Wolves the atmosphere was good as
the game kicked off with the majority knowing that we must get behind the
team no matter what. So with this game at the forefront of our minds,
Bubbles rang out loudly and the players were cheered on as we kicked off.
Neither side started particularly well although it was clear that Stoke
wanted to get the ball into our area as quickly as possible with a number of
high balls being played into our area. From an attacking point of view we
struggled to get going and did nothing of note during the first fifteen
minutes with only a Jonathan Spector run into the area showing any sort of
ambition. Stoke were close to taking the lead when a corner went to the back
post with Abdoulaye Faye hitting a shot which was blocked by Mido and put
away for another corner. From this one Stoke again won the ball but the
header from Faye went just wide of Robert Green's goal.
A good move involving Parker and Cole saw the ball spread out to Dyer and
his decent cross was met by Mido but the attempt went high over the bar. Our
tactic is usually giving it to Scott Parker and letting him run forward and
that did not seem to have changed with Parker again being the main threat.
His excellent run forward and saw him put a great pass through the gap for
Cole to run on to but the striker did not try to take his shot early as the
keeper went down the ball bounced off Cole and out for a goal kick. Without
a doubt out best chance of the half (and the entire game) came moments later
as it seemed that we were starting to get a foothold on the game and create
some chances. It was really down to some good work from Cole who received
the ball into this feet, shrugged off the challenges and hit a powerful left
foot shot at goal which the keeper Sorenson could not handle and Mido was on
hand to score from just a few yards out except he didn't. Some how the
Egyptian striker made a complete mess of the rebound and fluffed his chance
It was a sign of striker who has not score in a long time and a sign of a
striker who was not even able to get into the side of Championship
Middlesbrough. At the other end Stoke looked dangerous at times and the
throw ins from Rory Delap were always cause for concern. It was a poor first
half with neither side playing football. Instead the game was contested in
the air and we were playing into the hands of Stoke as this type of football
suited them. It was an tactic to unsettle us and although defensively I felt
we were coping we had nothing to offer going forward. Noble had not got into
the game and although the pace of Dyer was unsettling for Stoke we had not
found any flow to our football.
Zola made one change at half time taking off Kieron Dyer and bringing on
Alessandro Diamanti. This change was greeted by jeers from the crowd who
presumed Dyer was injured again. As of now I am not aware why Dyer was taken
off. It surely could not have been tactical. The second period was similar
to the first in that it was very stop start with Stoke setting out to
disrupt any type of passing football we even thought about trying to play.
Our first chance (if you can call it that) of the second half saw the ball
fall kindly for Carlton Cole and from around thirty yards out the striker
tried an audacious shot which had the accuracy but no power and was easily
claimed by Sorenson. Stoke made a change on 67 minutes bringing off
Etherington and replacing him with Ricardo Fuller who in the reverse fixture
had taken our defence apart and this was to be much of the same. Fuller had
only been on the pitch for two minutes when he was to score a quite
brilliant goal. Our defenders could only watch as he danced his way through
to score a really good goal.
The move started from our throw in which was for some reason just thrown
back to a Stoke player who of course lumped it into the air. Fuller
controlled the ball holding off Da Costa in the process, was allowed to turn
and face the goal and then skipped past the poor challenge of Da Costa then
past Upson who had turned his back and hit an unstoppable shot from inside
the area past Green. It was just what we didn't need and seeing that we had
offered so little in the second half and that we never looked as though we
were going to score our position seemed all the more desperate. There was no
reaction from our players who looked shell shocked and beaten just as they
did when they conceded against Wolves. There was no fight or desire to get
back into the game and if anyone was going to score it was going to be
My fear had been if we had conceded the first goal in this game as judging
from last Tuesday the head seem to drop so quickly and there is no one to
get the players going and get them fighting. Even earlier in the season we
had a bit of this but the team seem to have given up. A needless foul from
Diamanti on Tuncay saw Stoke win a free kick which they took shot with
Tuncay receiving the ball and he hit a really excellent shot on goal which
Green could only knock out toward the group of players running in but
luckily Upson got there first and put it out for another Stoke corner. An
unlikely source attempted to get us back into the game with Jonathan Spector
running forward beating his man and hitting a shot which went way wide but
at least was something positive.
Benni McCarthy was brought on for the inept and anonymous Mido who had been
poor throughout the game. McCarthy nearly found a way through shortly after
coming on as Behrami played a pass into this feet and he turned well but the
ball was nicked off his toes and away for a corner. A cross from Spector
found the head of Cole but under a challenge with Huth his flick went wide
of the goal as we struggled to create another meaningful chance from then
on. Our football throughout the game had been slow. We needed to find some
tempo but with players such as Mido and Diamanti this was never going to
happen. Even with Spector when the ball found him he always had to check on
to his right foot which slowed any type of counter attacking move down.
A very depressing result and relegation surely looms.
A bit more of a commanding performance from Green who was excellent in the
air and did not drop any of the difficult catches that he was required to
make. Nothing at all he could do about the goal given at how close a range
the shot came from.
Apart from one near fatal mistake right at the end of the first half he was
solid for most of the game. His crossing into the area when he got forward
was often poor but this is to be expected as he is at right back because his
attacking ability is so poor.
Slated the other night and rightly so. Has had a lot to say during the week
which is odd as he doesn't seem to say anything to anyone on the pitch. His
display was a lot better and he won a lot in the air. Saying that he turned
his back on Fuller shot which let the striker score.
Manuel Da Costa
Back in the team with Tomkins injured although I would expect he may have
started regardless. He did not have bad game but he was taken apart by
Fuller for the goal. Everything about Da Costa's defending was wrong as let
him control the ball in the first place and turn to face him. Then he made a
poor attempt at a sliding challenge which Fuller simply avoided. It was a
good goal, but Da Costa's defending made it easy.
Had a decent game. I don't know what people expect of Jonathan Spector at
left back but this is pretty much it. Did not do a lot wrong, a few passes
went astray but you could say that about just about every player. Worked
hard, not a left back, not a right back, not a player I like seeing playing
and with Daprela fit there was no need. But Spector does his best with
Managed 45 minutes which I guess was a shock in itself. Taken off at half
time with what must have been an injury. Never really got into the game. His
pace was unsettling for Stoke but he was hardly ever on the ball to create
I was pleased at his inclusion but he really never got into the game. Never
was able to stamp his authority on proceeding and just seemed to give the
ball away a lot. People say he should not have come off for Ilan but we
needed to bring on another attacking player and Noble was letting the game
pass him by.
Continues to look better than most of our players but this was not a great
performance from Parker. He struggled to make anything happen and in the
second half even his head seemed to go thus was the inevitability of the
Work rate was top notch but everything else about his performance was just
dreadful. The epitome of his display was when he ran nearly the full length
of the pitch only to put in such an awful cross that it went out for a goal
kick. He was poor when on the ball, his passing was shocking, and generally
Behrami showed nothing of the player we saw last season.
I though he actually did alright. When the ball came to him he looked
dangerous and most of our (few) chances involved him in someway. As the game
wore on he looked very unfit and it seems to me that we may now have all
these strikers but none of them can actually last over an hour.
Alessandro Diamanti (on for Dyer 46 mins)
When you are looking to get out of trouble a player like Diamanti is not
going to help you. He hides, and when he does get the ball he gives it away
with an awful pass or attempting some wild shot. I would rather Stanislas.
Ilan (on for Noble 76 mins)
You know it is very easy to forget that he even came onto the pitch.
Benni McCarthy (on for Mido 83 mins)
Came on, did little, looked fat.
Subs Not Used: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Daprela, Kovac
Man Of The Match: Scott Parker
Attendance: 34,564 (3rd biggest of the season)
They said that the game against Wolves was the lowest point of the season.
Well I think we have just hit the murky undergrowth beneath because I now am
convinced that West Ham will be relegated. Even though we have struggled all
season I always maintained that we would get out of it as we would win the
home games needed to scrape by. But having lost the last two games and
suffered our sixth defeat in a row (a club Premiership record) I see no
light at the end of the tunnel although I do see Blackpool. I have little
more to say on Gianfranco Zola. I lost all confidence with him after the
Wolves game and the sooner this inept clueless smiling Italian tactically
unaware c*nt gets out of our football club the better.
Next Game - Everton (a)
Ah well it's a trip to Goodison Park, a place where three points is always
attainable for West Ham. If anyone can tell me how we are going to get
anything out of this game I would be intrigued to know because we have a
horrible record here, we are playing horrible football and we have nothing
in our team to hurt a side like Everton . We have fallen down against well
organised teams in recent weeks and they don't come more organised that
Everton who have a top manager and he has shown over the years that you can
get the best out of any set of players. I wish I could be more positive and
I apologise if I have sent anyone to suicide but I am totally fed up and
disillusioned with everything West Ham at the moment. I can take relegation,
so can a lot of the supporters. We have seen it before, we know what it's
all about but I am shocked that this has happened to us this season and if
we do go down this could really be the start of a number of years
languishing in the lower divisions. I'll leave you with Zola's words of
"I have no other agendas other than doing a good job for this club, so I
will consider overnight whether I am doing a good job or not." "The players
are behind us. I just think we need to change something to be more helpful
to them. "Six defeats with a difficult game coming on Sunday is not great,
but as I said, looking out there, the players are committed and we're going
to be working on making that commitment more effective." "We had better team
shape and we tried really hard. [Stoke scorer Ricardo] Fuller made a
difference when he came on with a piece of quality. Sometimes in games,
especially when they are in a tight situation like this one, one bit of
quality can make the difference and that was definitely the case. "Looking
at the results, I can honestly say no [I'm not getting the best out of the
players], but there are circumstances. As I said, that's one of the
considerations that I have to make. I'm not looking for excuses - we are not
performing as well as we should and I take responsibility for that, so we
need to improve them.
"Right now, I'm flat because we lost another game and that was the sixth
game in a row that we have lost and that's not good for me. I have to see
what the problem is. I'm not doing any other considerations other than
finding out the problems. "The fans have been very good and I have to say
'Thank you very much' to them. That was a good response. It was a pity we
could not give them what they were looking for."
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