Wednesday, June 10

Daily WHUFC News - 10th June 2015

Joint-Chairman thrilled by Bilic appointment

West Ham United Joint-Chairman David Sullivan is thrilled with the appointment of Slaven Bilic as the Club's new manager and says it is vital that he understands the 'West Ham Way'. Mr Sullivan, speaking exclusively to, revealed that Bilic is hoping to add a few West Ham legends to his backroom staff and feels the fans will enjoy seeing the passion that he shows on the touchline. Bilic became the 15th manager in the Club's history when he agreed a three-year contract and Mr Sullivan has no doubts he will help get the best out of the players in the squad. Sullivan said: "It is very good for the Club and the supporters. We have taken a man who understands the West Ham Way. It is important how we play and that the players play with passion. "I think he will bring a few of the West Ham legends to be part of his entourage and I think that is very good because it strengthens the bond with the supporters. He will take us into the Olympic Stadium and I think he will be here for a long time. "We all want to pull together as a family and it is fantastic that we have someone who understands that. We have appointed a manager that we know the supporters wanted. He has a desire to win and I love managers who show they are part of the club. "Slaven is a very commanding individual and has watched a lot of English football. He knew our players and came very well prepared for the interview. He knew the players he liked and the positions he wants to strengthen. We know it's a three-year project and said we would love to be in the top eight this season and do well in a cup competition."

Slaven Bilic - The First Interview

West Ham United's new manager Slaven Bilic has revealed his ambitions and targets after being unveiled as the Hammers' new boss. The 46-year-old Croatian arrives in east London later this month determined to help the Club he played for 54 times establish themselves in the new Stadium at the top of the English and European game. However, the law graduate knows he, his staff, players and West Ham supporters will have to work hard together to take the Club where he and they all want it to go.

Here is what the new manager had to say in his first exclusive interview with

Slaven, firstly, what do you recall of your 18 months at the Boleyn Ground in the mid-1990s?

SB: "West Ham is a special club. Wherever I have gone, I have always said that some of the best days of my football life were during my one and half seasons with West Ham. "It is not only business; it is personal, it is emotional. I felt it when I played there when I was at Chadwell Heath, where it was like a big family. With Julian Dicks, John Moncur and Ian Bishop. "Every day was something special and the fans at that point wanted us to not only stay up and win the game but to win in style but they wanted to see good football. It was not just about winning. "I remember one game, we were beating Chelsea 2-1 at home and we were trying to waste a bit of time near the end of the game and the fans were saying we had to play. 'Boom, come on!' So they are special."

Are West Ham's fans among the best you've experienced?

SB: "I'm not objective when it comes to West Ham as I played there. But it's not only me but other people that didn't play for West Ham they all thought the same. It is a special club. All those bits and pieces and have made my decision quite easy, but the most important was the ambition of the Club. "I remember the fans at West Ham. I felt it when I played and that roar at Upton Park, before a ball was kicked, those ten seconds, when you feel something. That stayed in my memory."

What are your ambitions as West Ham boss? What do you hope to achieve?

SB: "I've been in football a long time and wherever you go the ambition is sky high. But with West Ham, I found the ambitions to be realistic and the ambition is right. "The ambition is to try to be top ten, definitely and then improve on that. First season, if we can finish eighth, ninth or tenth. Then, in the space of a few seasons, with the Stadium and everything, with hype, with probably a little bit more budget, with good planning and good play, nobody can stop us dreaming of European places or if we have a brilliant season to try to break into the Champions League places. "To win a trophy, to win a cup. You have to believe in that to achieve it. If you don't believe in that then you're definitely not going to do that. It doesn't have to be an obsession in a negative way. If you don't believe it, who will believe it? "Where it's going to take us, I don't know, but logically if you play well and you improve your squad, if your players are playing more compact and more fluid with the ball, it should get you up the league."

What's your managerial outlook?

SB: "My nature is very optimistic, but realistically optimistic. I hope that we're going to achieve big things with West Ham. "I felt good there, I can hope that I will enjoy it at West Ham and have the success like I had with my previous club Besiktas."

How does it feel to be manager for the final season at the Boleyn Ground?

SB: "It's a privilege. It's impossible to have a bigger bond with a Club in such a small period of time. I clicked with the players, the fans, with everybody. After a couple of weeks, it was straight off and it lasted for one and a half seasons. It was brilliant. "It is a privilege to be in charge of the team for its last season playing in a stadium that they've played in for such a long time."

How much do you know about the squad you're inheriting?

SB: "I had many Croatian players who played in England. I'm a big football fan first of all and like the majority of them, I was following the Premier League as well. So I know a lot about West Ham's current squad and the team is good, it has a good balance. "They were a little bit unlucky last year with the number of injuries in a crucial stage of the season, but the manager has done a good job and is leaving me a good team. I definitely think the team can improve, as I said, last year they had some brilliant games, especially in the first half of the season. It will be my job to improve it and make it better. "Recently, in the last couple of weeks I took in ten West Ham games and I saw them all, when it was not obvious but likely that I might get the job, after the season finished in Turkey. "I didn't want to speak to anyone before the season had finished in Turkey, which was 31 May, because of my respect to my club, Besiktas, and because of course the season hadn't finished."

You've already had plenty of success in England, with Croatia and more recently with Besiktas?

SB: "With Croatia, in the first qualification rounds for Euro 2008, we beat you twice, we got one of the most shocking results, 3-2 at Wembley but then in 2010 you hammered us 4-1 and 5-1, so it's even. "That counts a little but it's in the past. I know where I'm going despite not having managed a club in the Premier League or the Championship, but I know where I'm going and I know it's a very tough league but I can't wait for that."

Tell us about your style as a manager. What sort of team can West Ham fans expect?

SB: "To be successful you have to be good enough in every aspect of the team, you have to defend with numbers, you have to be very compact, very organised but also you have to attack with numbers and be good on the ball. "The teams that I've managed so far, whether that be Croatia, Lokomotiv Moscow, Besiktas or Hadjuk Split, they were all teams with very high aims. To qualify, to top group with Croatia, to win the league with Split and Besiktas, with Lokomotiv top three, top five, so my style had to be dominant. "With Besiktas, in 90 per cent of our games we had more possession, you are the better side, you are the one that is attacking and the opponent is on the counter. But in the games where we had to be compact like against Arsenal, we weren't dominant. So you have to be both. But I like my team to play football, to play good football."

Noble welcomes new boss Bilic

Mark Noble has welcomed new manager Slaven Bilic to West Ham United. The midfielder is the Club's longest-serving player and has played under five full-time managers in his eleven seasons as a member of the Hammers' first-team squad. With that experience behind him, the Academy of Football graduate is looking forward to working with new boss Bilic – a former West Ham player himself and a manager who has cut his teeth during successful spells with the Croatian national side and Turkish club Besiktas. "After four good seasons with Sam Allardyce, who has put the Club in a strong position to move forward, the appointment of Slaven Bilic is exciting for everyone," said the No16. "I'm sure all West Ham fans are looking forward to having one last memorable season at Upton Park, so we need your support more than ever this year. Come on you Irons!"

Noble is the Club's all-time record Premier League appearance maker with 222 top-flight games in Claret and Blue under his belt. He has made a total of 321 appearances for West Ham, scoring 35 goals, and was voted Hammer of the Year in 2014. The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League fixtures will be announced on Thursday 18 June. Keep a close eye on and our social media platforms for all the latest updates!

Slaven Bilic - Ten Fast Facts

Ten Fast Facts you might not know about West Ham United's new manager Slaven Bilic!

- The new West Ham United manager writes his own lyrics and plays in a Croatian rock group called Rawbau.
- As a player, Slaven Bilic was part of the memorable Croatia team which reached the quarter-final stage at UEFA Euro 1996 in England.
- Slaven Bilic has a win percentage of 53.5 as a manager across more than 220 games at domestic and international levels.
- Slaven Bilic will become only the second Croatian boss to manage in the Premier League following Velimir Zajec's brief spell in charge of Portsmouth.
- Slaven Bilic speaks fluent in German, Italian and English and also has a degree in law.
- The new Hammers boss reads American psychology books.
- As a manager, Slaven Bilic helped Croatia reach the quarter finals of UEFA Euro 2008.
- Slaven Bilic is one of four Croatians to have played for West Ham United. The other three are Igor Stimac, Davor Suker and Mladen Petric.
- Croatia lost just eight of the 65 international matches under Slaven Bilic's management.
- Slaven Bilic owns two dogs - an akita and a sharpei.

Cottee hails Slav arrival

West Ham United legend Tony Cottee is thrilled to see his former team-mate Slaven Bilic back at the Boleyn Ground and hopes he will be a major success for the east London Club. Bilic was unveiled as West Ham's new manager on Tuesday and will succeed Sam Allardyce who left the Club at the end of last season. The Croatian coach became a fans favourite during his playing days at Upton Park and has shown his quality as a manager on both the domestic and international stage. Cottee, who played alongside Bilic for a season back in 1996 has no doubts that Bilic is the right man for the job and sees no reason why he cannot follow in the footsteps of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. Cottee said: "I'm delighted he is at West Ham. As an ex team-mate of mine I am absolutely thrilled and I think he will take the Club forward. "He did a good a good job for Croatia. He doesn't have any Premier League experience but neither did Mourinho or Wenger – you need to be given a chance. "The most important thing is that he played for the club and he knows what it means to be a West Ham player. He knows what the fans want and had a great rapport during his short time at the Club. "He knows what style they are wanting to see when they spend their hard earned money to come and watch the team. "He will want them to play entertaining football but at the same time get results. You have got to get the balance right and it is a big task for Slaven. "It is a massive season for the club with the move to the Olympic Stadium next year. "The squad did well last season and other players need to fit into the system. The squad is capable of finishing in the top ten."

Potts' delight at Slaven's return

West Ham United Development Squad coach Steve Potts is looking forward to being reunited with Slaven Bilic following the latter's appointment as Hammers manager. The pair played together at the Boleyn Ground in the mid-90s and Potts believes that the Croatia international demonstrated all the necessary ingredients to make it as a successful manager. "He has always had very, very good leadership qualities. He's an infectious character and he could certainly motivate players around him. He's obviously taken that quality into management. "He's whole-hearted, very honest and hardworking and I'm sure he'll install that in his team. He's got a
great winning mentality as well. So yes, I'm looking forward to working with Slaven again. "It's been a while and he's gone away and managed in different countries, at international level as well. He's quickly got a lot of experience under his belt and that can only be a good thing."

After a couple of seasons coaching the U18s, Potts stepped up to the U21 role, where he will be working closely with Bilic once again.
"I think it's great news," said the former West Ham defender and Hammer of the Year. "I'm very pleased for Slaven, and very pleased for the Club because they've made a very good appointment. "Knowing Slaven, he's a very infectious character and a good leader. He's played for the Club so he knows what it's about and he knows what the fans. "He knows that the fans want to see the players give it their all, all the time. He was certainly one of those players. He's not going into the unknown, that's for sure."

With the Hammers season due to start on Thursday 2 July with the first round of UEFA Europa League qualifiers, the new boss does not have too much time before his Claret and Blue charges take to the field. As the Club enters the last season in Upton Park, Potts is expecting an emotional yet exciting 12 months ahead. "It would be nice if he gave some of the younger lads a go in the Europa League," Potts continued. "He's got to come in and make a lot of decisions quickly. I think he'll take a good look at them. It's a massive opportunity for everyone to show what they can do. "The more you think about it, the more you realise how emotional the last season at the Boleyn Ground will be. We've got the Europa League which is something the West Ham fans will love but also the final season at Upton Park. In particular, that final game will be very emotional."

2014/15 Season Review - November

West Ham United's impress early season form continued into November with a win, two draws and a defeat. However, the Hammers got November off to a slow start away at Stoke City as the Potters stormed to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf. The travelling Irons refused to be cowed and Enner Valencia's diving header, his third goal of the campaign, gave his side a lifeline. With the tide turning, England international Stewart Downing slammed home an equaliser, much to the travelling fan's delight.
Up next for the Hammers was a home tie with Aston Villa. Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession and bombarding the Villan's goal the Hammers were denied time and again by an inspired Brad Guzan. In a match which saw Andy Carroll make a welcome return to action following a lengthy absence through injury, the American goalkeeper made a string of outstanding saves to secure his side a point.

Unfortunately, the Hammers unbeaten run of five games came to an end on Merseyside with a 2-1 defeat to Everton. A sense of déjà vu engulfed Goodison Park as Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku scored against the Hammers to break the deadlock. Second-half substitute Mauro Zarate made an instant impact as he netted the equaliser with a cultured finish however Leon Osman was on hand to stab on the Toffee's winner with little over 15 minutes remaining. However, the Hammers bounced back to finish November on a high by beating Newcastle United 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground. In a highly entertaining affair, the Irons overcame the Magpies thanks to Aaron Cresswell's first goal in a claret and blue shirt. The left-back burst into the box, latching onto to Cheikhou Kouyate's mishit shot to steer past Rob Elliot with the composure of a seasoned striker.

Pre-season Dev Squad fixtures announced

West Ham United's Development Squad will prepare for the upcoming 2015/16 season with a series of three friendlies. The young Hammers will make the short journey to play Vanarama Conference South Division outfit Chelmsford City in their first friendly on Friday 17 July, kick off 7.30pm. They will then play AFC Bournemouth U21 at Rush Green on Sunday 26 July, kick off 12pm. The third friendly sees the Dev Squad's play Vanarama Conference side Welling United on Friday 31 July. Kick off from Park View Road is 7.45pm.

Potts in the frame for Bilic assistant role
Filed: Tuesday, 9th June 2015
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United Under 21s manager Steve Potts could be set to join Slaven Bilic as part of his new-look management team. Potts, who played in the same West Ham team as Bilic in the mid-1990s is a long-term friend of the new West Ham United manager, whose appointment on a three-year contract was confirmed at lunchtime today (Tuesday). And KUMB has learned that the 48-year-old is already in the frame for the vacant assistant role, despite having been in charge of the Under 21s for just five months. Potts, who made 399 first team appearances for West Ham in a career spanning 16 seasons returned to the club in 2012, when he was appointed as Under 18s manager. Previously, he had been working as a London cabbie, having drifted out of the game following his retirement in 2003 after a season at Dagenham & Redbridge.
In January of this year, Potts was promoted to the Under 21s, having proved a major success within the Academy. However he has continued to assist with the Under 18s and Under 16s under the new regime at Chadwell Heath, led by Terry Westley.

Manager 15: it's Bilic
Filed: Tuesday, 9th June 2015
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United have announced that Slaven Bilic is the club's 15th full time manager. The 46-year-old Croat has been installed as the successor to Sam Allardyce two weeks and two days after Big Sam revealed he would be leaving the Boleyn Ground. Speaking to this morning, Bilic said: "I'm really glad to be back with West Ham. It's a big challenge where 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 a big club – there is something special about them - they are cult clubs.

Harry Redknapp ✔@Redknapp
Slaven Bilic will be a great signing for West Ham, he's the favourite and looks like he's going to be...

"It is a great place to play and I felt like I was at home. It is a privilege and a big responsibility to 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 showed their determination and ambition to make what is a big club even bigger. "I saw their determination and passion. 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."

Obiang begins the Bilic revolution
Filed: Tuesday, 9th June 2015
By: Staff Writer

Slaven Bilic's claret and blue revolution has begun - with the signing of Sampdoria's exciting young midfielder Pedro Obiang. Obiang is expected to be unveiled by the club as the first new arrival since Bilic's appointment was confirmed earlier this afternoon (Tuesday).

Jack Sullivan @jsullivanwhu
95% that we will announce our first big signing of the summer tomorrow. Keep checking @jsullivanwhu to get the news first
7:25 PM - 9 Jun 2015

The uncapped Spaniard will cost West Ham in the region of £4.5million and is set to be announced as the club's first (new) signing of the summer, following successful negotiations between his current club and West Ham. Obiang, who passed a medical earlier today began his career with local club Athletico Madrid but moved to Italy in 2008 to join Sampdoria, for whom he has made in excess of 100 first team appearances.

West Ham in talks to sign Sampdoria's Pedro Obiang
By Jamie Weir
Last Updated: 08/06/15 3:53pm

West Ham are in talks to sign the Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang, according to Sky sources. The 23-year-old, who joined the Serie-A club in 2010, has had an excellent season, scoring three times in 35 appearances. Obiang is a former Spain U21 international who was released by hometown club Atletico Madrid's youth team in 2008 and worked his way up through Sampdoria's academy.

West Ham United appoint Slaven Bilic as new manager
Last Updated: 09/06/15 3:47pm

Slaven Bilic has been appointed as the new manager of West Ham on a three-year contract to replace Sam Allardyce. The 46-year-old Croat, who becomes the 15th full-time manager in the club's 120-year history, joins the Hammers having left his previous job as head coach of Besiktas at the end of the season. Bilic has an affinity with West Ham supporters having played over 50 times for the club during the 1996-97 season, and had maintained a strong desire to manage in the Premier League.

Slaven Bilic has a tough job ahead, say former West Ham players
Last Updated: 09/06/15 3:23pm

Tony Gale believes Slaven Bilic faces a tough job making West Ham's heavy schedule work when they play in Europe for the first time in nine years next season. Gale, a player at Upton Park between 1984 and 1994, is happy with Bilic's appointment as manager and expects the Croat to ensure his side entertains fans. He also anticipates a tough workload for the former defender, however, as his team juggles domestic duties with playing in the Europa League. West Ham will play in the competition after they topped the Premier League's Fair Play table and will start out in the first qualifying round on July 2. They last played in the event when it was the UEFA Cup in the 2006/07 campaign and Gale thinks a top-half finish in the Premier League after they return to that stage would represent success. He said: "I think the fans expect exciting football. If you're not going to win trophies, and let's be honest there's only a certain amount of teams who can do that, you want to be entertained. "I think it's going to be difficult for him because he's got the Europa League as well and the games might cause a bit of fatigue. "Getting to the second half of the season and getting used to playing on Thursdays and Sundays is going to be a tall order. The top 10 would be a major achievement"

Iain Dowie played alongside Bilic during the Croat's 15-month stay at West Ham from February 1996 to May 1997. He has also reacted positively but thinks his old colleague has a hard act to follow after previous manager Sam Allardyce's departure. Dowie said: "Slaven is obviously someone they think can maybe come in and give a little bit of spark. I've got to say, it's not an easy job. "Sam Allardyce, in my opinion, has done a really good job. I'm a West Ham fan but sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for."

New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic looks to sign Andre Ayew, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Pedro Obiang
22:30, 9 JUNE 2015
"My first priority when choosing a club is to look at its ambition. They showed their determination to make what is a big club even bigger" says ex-Irons defender
The Mirror

Slaven Bilic will look to wrap up deals for Marseille duo Andre Ayew and Andre-Pierre Gignac and Sampdoria's Pedro Obiang after he rejoined West Ham as manager. French striker Gignac was waiting to see who the Hammers appointed to succeed Sam Allardyce before deciding upon his next move, having already received a huge contract offer from West Brom. The 29-year-old striker, who scored 21 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances for Marseille last season, is available on a free. Southampton, Stoke and Newcastle are also interested in him. Winger Ayew, also a target for Serie A side Roma, is said to be in talks with Swansea but West Ham have offered him £70,000 a week.

And the Hammers have already lodged a £5.75million bid for Spanish midfielder Obiang. The 23-year-old box-to-box midfielder was tracked by Hammers scouts last season as he scored three times in 33 Serie A games for the club. Obiang, capped by Spain at Under-17, U19 and U21 level, is also a target for clubs in Italy as well as his homeland, where he started his career in the Atletico Madrid youth set-up before leaving for Genoa-based Sampdoria at 16.

Former Hammers defender Bilic insisted he could not turn down his old club - even though he was one of the last men they looked at for the job. Bilic, 46, has signed a three-year deal at Upton Park following spells with Croatia, Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas. He said: "I could feel that they really wanted me so it was an easy choice. My first priority when choosing a club is to look at its ambitions.

New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic up against it from the off despite the club's and fans' support
20:00, 9 June 2015
The former Hammers defender's record as a club-level boss pales in comparison to those of candidates they approached ahead of him but couldn't sign
The Mirror

He will get money to spend, support from the club's top brass and goodwill from the fanbase. But Slaven Bilic will be well aware that he is a man up against it right from the off at West Ham. He served the club well in 58 appearances as a defender in 1996 and 1997. As Croatia coach, he led his country to the European Championship finals in 2008 and 2012 and is credited for a revival of his homeland's national team. And his charisma almost guarantees his new employers will not struggle for column inches on a week to week basis.


West Ham courted the likes of Rafa Benitez, Jurgen Klopp, Unai Emery and Marcelo Bielsa ahead of him for a reason: their records in club management are all superior to his.

Bilic, 46, was sacked by Lokomotiv Moscow after his only season in charge ended with their worst League finish - ninth - since the Russian championship was formed in 1992. He parted company with Besiktas last month after finishing third in the Turkish Super Lig - a division where the main rivals are Fenerbahce and Galatasaray - thus failing to land a coveted Champions League place.

Fan polls had Bilic way behind some of his rival candidates for the job, whose CVs stood up far better to scrutiny. Benitez, however, was snapped up by Real Madrid, depriving West Ham of a huge coup, Klopp wanted to wait for a better offer and dual Europa League-winner Emery opted for a new deal at Sevilla.

Bielsa - who made an impact with Chile's national team, Spanish side Athletic Bilbao and now France's Marseille - split the Upton Park board with his radical masterplan to get the club into the Premier League top six. So Bilic has it all to prove at a club where failure, in their final season at Upton Park ahead of their move into London's Olympic Stadium, is not an option.

In his favour is the fact that West Ham intend to push the boat out this summer with five to six new players coming in. Already in their sights are Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang and Marseille winger Andre Ayew - a free agent who has already been offered a £70,000-a-week contract. Ayew's team-mate, France international striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, is another being chased by the Hammers, who intend to ensure that injuries up front do not rob them of their ambitions as they did in the last two seasons.

If Bilic is able to foster the sort of relationship with his players he had at Croatia - who lost just eight games in six years under him - he will give Hammers fans cause for optimism. He is a coach who will embrace the Europa League, a competition in which West Ham want to punch their weight next season to increase their commercial appeal, when their campaign kicks off in just over three weeks.

And he will be backed through the bad times by supporters who never really accepted predecessor Sam Allardyce, even when the club raised expectations with an impressive start to last season. He will need to improve on that record, however, to give them something to shout about. The pressure of meeting those raised expectations is on.

Dark days are gone…the feelgood factor is back
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 9, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

It feels good …very good indeed.

The dark days are gone…a Hammer is in charge of our club again – he understands us and our dreams and hopes. Tonight I and probably millions of others feel they have come home to West Ham United. We have our club back!

Ok, It was long and it was torturous and as I wrote update after update I wondered whether it would ever happen but at nearly midnight on Monday June 8, 2015 an e mail from inside the club convinced me that Slav would get the job.

Five words that I had never seen before from this particular source convinced me. They merely read "DON'T WORRY – it's all okay."

It wasn't enough to stake your life on but it was enough for me to go to bed a happy guy – West Ham was on its way back to us.

This morning of course all the media outlets wanted to be first with the news although I wasn't entirely sure why. By that time it got round to 11 am it was all pretty well a given.

By 1 pm David Sullivan had given us at ClaretandHugh his view and welcomed back a "well loved member of the unique West Ham family."

For the first time in two or three years the feel good factor was back and that the former defender was now in charge felt so natural you asked yourself how it could have ever been otherwise.

There will of course be reservations among some and 0k he wasn't the first second third or even fourth choice but for me he is the right choice.

And let's get one thing clear. Slav did not leave this club under a cloud. He was sold to Everton for £4 million and despite passing a medical played very few games afterwards before an early retirement. As stated once before here, there was no betrayal of West Ham by the big fella.

Changing managers is always a risk. That goes without saying but start preparing for a big change of style under a man who played primarily 4-2-3-1 at Beskitas and made sure there was no stranded lone centre forward!

He's a very fluid and adaptable tactician and we are about to go back to the future and rediscover a West Ham some thought had been lost forever.

No doubt there are some out there who will be ready to tear this piece apart but tonight I don't care…I'm full of hope, full of optimism, full of positivity. I believe we have a great manager on our hands and the fun is back.

It's Super Slav's claret and blue army!


Major signing within 24 hours
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 9, 2015 in Whispers

We should expect the announcement of our second signing within 24 hours. The chairman's 15 year son Jack Sullivan has taken time off from his Duke of Edinburgh award to reveal on twitter. "95% that we will announce our first big signing of the summer tomorrow. Keep checking @JsulivanWHU to get the news first" Not to be outdone by the youngster West Ham's official twitter channel followed suit an hour later confirming : "BREAKING: West Ham United hope to announce a major new signing within the next 24 hours. Watch this space! #WHUFC" The announcement is expected to be official confirmation of the 23 year old Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang. Media reports suggest the final deal cost West Ham £4.4m and the player himself favored one West Ham fan's comment on twitter that a deal was close. Obiang passed a medical earlier this week and despite rumours that Spurs and AC Milan tried to hihack the deal it appears the Hammers have finally got their man.

Slav's work permit sorted
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 9, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

Slaven Bilic's work permit to take over as West Ham boss is expected to be a formality and be readily approved by the Football Association.

The fairly typical social network negativity started this evening suggesting that there was a chance Slav's application may be rejected but there's little chance of that happening.

A source said: "It may take a few days to come though but that's because we are dealing with red tape and civil servants. Everything is fine."

Bilic is back in Croatia
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 9, 2015 in Whispers

New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic took time out of his family holiday to visit the Croatian national team today. Croatia play Italy this Friday at home in the European Championship qualifiers and Bilic is expected to attend as a guest of honour.

Bilic was previoulsy appointed head coach of the Croatian national team back in July 2006. In the Euro 2008 qualifiers, he led Croatia to a very successful campaign in a group consisting of England, Russia, Israel, Macedonia, Estonia and Andorra.

Bilić managed to lead Croatia to a first place finish in the group, most notably masterminding home and away victories against England, who consequently didn't qualify and sacked their then-manager Steve McClaren. It became England's first ever loss at the new Wembley stadium. Croatia suffered an exit in the quarter finals against Turkey and Slaven admitted that the defeat would haunt him and his squad for the rest of their lives..

Croatia failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa after finishing third in the qualifying group, but Bilić decided to stay with the team for at least two more years.

Although Croatia qualified for the Euro 2012 championships they didn't proceed past the group stage after being beaten by reigning champions Spain. However, the national team under Bilic subsequently garnered widespread domestic praise for their tournament performance, and were greeted by a large crowd upon their return. Upon his formal departure, Bilić was praised for his long-standing service to the national side. Local media labelled him as Croatia's only manager to depart on such positive terms and credited him for his strong revival of the national side during his six-year tenure.

VIDEO: Slaven is a big time rocker
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 9, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

Slaven is a rocker!

West Ham's new manager describes music as utterly essential to his life and proves it here with his band Rawbau.

He's a bit of a hero on rhythm guitar and is a man of many parts as a qualified lawyer and committed Socialist politically.

Football however, is his first love and one of his most famous quotes is: "With the reatest respect to women, football is the most beautiful thing in the world!

Outside of the game Bilic is fluent in German, Italian and English and holds a degree in law but his passion for music is demonstrated in our video.

He plays a red Gibson Explorer on "Vatreno Ludilo" ("Fiery Madness") for the Croatian national team at Euro 2008. His love for music extends into the locker room as well, where he encourages players to listen to inspirational music before games.

At the end of 2004. they recorded their album:"Rawbau", with 10 songs. Before Rawbau, Bilic played in the group NewEra.

CandH Exclusive: DS welcomes "much loved" Slav
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 9, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

They hunted high and low but in the end the two Davids brought in the man who was always closest to the hearts of the Hammers fans.

Slaven Bilic – even whilst the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Rafa Bentez were being touted around – was always close to the top of ClaretandHugh's polls for next boss.

And having settled for the 46 year old former Croatian national team, coach co chairman and chief shareholder David Sullivan was in ebullient mood as he spoke exclusively to ClaretandHugh about the appointment.

He said: "West Ham is a very special club that is like no other, we are part of the community of East London and Essex.

"BilicSlaven was a much loved member of our family and we welcome him back.

"We hope over the next few months to bring in 5-6 players who'll dramatically improve the strength of the team and competition for places."

Forty six year old Slav become the 15th full-time manager in the Hammers' 120-year history, returning to the Club he played for 54 times, on a three-year contract.

Slav will arrive at the Boleyn subject to a work permit being issued. He becomes the second Croatian to manage in the Barclays Premier League, and has an outstanding career win percentage of 55.16 per cent.

He defies the general image of footballers beloved in the media being a law graduate and multilinguist who takes a meticulous approach to management.

Slaven Bilic will try to lure Loic Remy away from Chelsea as new West Ham manager predicts 'great things' for 'special club'
West Ham named former player Slaven Bilic as manager on Tuesday
Former Besiktas boss signed a three-year contract worth £3million a year
David Sullivan and David Gold have also promised attacking football
Bilic is keen to add new faces and will try to lure Loic Remy to east London
PUBLISHED: 22:35, 9 June 2015 | UPDATED: 22:35, 9 June 2015

When Slaven Bilic was confirmed as West Ham's new manager on Tuesday it ended a process which had seen the club try to lure some of European's biggest names to Upton Park. Jurgen Klopp, Rafa Benitez, Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelo Bielsa, David Moyes, Unai Emery, Lucien Favre and Garry Monk were all approached and considered. But 46-year-old Bilic, undeterred that so many had turned down the chance to replace Sam Allardyce, predicted 'great things'. Having just left Besiktas in Turkey, Bilic was open about his desire to take charge at a club where he played for 18 months from January 1996. He has a three-year contract worth about £3million a year, thought to contain a release clause if they are relegated. 'I'm really glad to be back,' Bilic told West Ham's website. 'It's a special club. I love these special clubs. Besiktas was that kind of club. They're cult clubs.' His priority will be to stay in the Premier League — seen as essential when West Ham go to the Olympic Stadium next year. But owners David Sullivan and David Gold have also promised attacking football in what they consider the 'West Ham way'. Joint-chairmen David Gold (left) and David Sullivan have promised fans attacking football Approaches have already been made for Sampdoria's Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang and Ghana striker Andre Ayew, available for free after his Marseille contract expired. Bilic will also try to prise Loic Remy from Chelsea. The former Croatia coach, who will finish a family holiday before starting work, is expected to bring in Besiktas No 2 Nikola Jurcevic but there could also be a promotion for West Ham Under 21 coach Steve Potts, a friend of Bilic from his days as a West Ham player.

Slaven Bilic's strength is man-management, the new West Ham boss treats his players as friends yet still retains their respect... and Luka Modric can testify to that
Slaven Bilic's philosophy is that players given confidence off the pitch will ultimately take responsibility in big matches
Former Croatia boss helped turned Luka Modric into one of the best midfielder's in the world
Bilic grew up in Croatia with Toni Kukoc who played NBA basketball for the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan
In keeping with the rock star image, he'd enjoy the odd crafty cigarette
While his West Ham team-mates went dog racing at Romford, he flew to New York for one night to see a Guns N' Roses gig
PUBLISHED: 14:01, 9 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:20, 9 June 2015
Daily MAIL

Having given his Croatian under-21 team the afternoon off during a tour of Sweden, Slaven Bilic was perturbed to see his best player Luka Modric loitering with best mate Vedran Corluka by the team coach rather than going into town to have a coffee or chat up the local girls. Bilic, appointed on Tuesday as the new manager of West Ham, went over to investigate but discovered there was nothing sinister in the teenagers' behaviour, they just didn't have any money. Without a moment's hestitation, the manager dipped into his own pocket and sent them on their merry way. Neither Modric nor Corluka ever forgot it and repaid Bilic many times with many outstanding performances, most notably when the senior Croatia team beat England at Wembley and reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

The story is instructive about assessing what kind of manager West Ham are getting. Yes, Bilic can deliver an entertaining press conference in several languages, but his main strength is man-management; treating the players as friends yet still retaining their all-important respect. When Manchester City introduced the word 'holistic' into the footballing vernacular, they could have been describing Bilic. His philosophy is that players given confidence off the pitch will ultimately take responsibility in big matches. For someone like Modric, the transformation from an introverted child refugee from the Balkans conflict into a self-assured superstar, is perhaps an example of how Bilic can help. With West Ham planning their move to the imposing Olympic Stadium in 2016, you can see why David Sullivan and David Gold have turned to the Croatian.

'I always told Luka there were better-known midfield players but for me he was the best,' recalled Bilic. West Ham fans will hope some of that encouragement will rub off on their players who stumbled so badly under Sam Allardyce in the latter half of last season. Judging by previous comments on management, he wants his players to be grounded as people but retain the commitment that English football is famous for. 'Croatians don't live in mansions, we like to mix with people. We drink our coffee with friends from childhood, not in five-star hotels,' he has explained. 'If you can give players composure but without losing the passion and positive craziness, that is impressive. If you put a wild horse in the movies, you usually kill some of the wildness. But to organised without killing the passion or spirit, that is the trick.'

Bilic's own passion for sport was learned young in the seaside town of Split, then part of communist Yugoslavia but now the second city of Croatia. The people of Split are tall and sporty. From the age of five, Bilic became buddies with another boy from across the hall in their block of flats. He turned out to be Toni Kukoc who played NBA basketball for the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan. Former Wimbledon champion is Goran Ivanisevic is another sporting great from that generation in Split. Unlike some footballers, Bilic refused to be one-dimensional. He played in a rock band and whenever the game took him to quiet hotel rooms far from home, he'd fill the void playing his guitar. He also studied to be a lawyer in case the football didn't work out. The split-up of Yugoslavia and birth of Croatia as an independent nation allowed sportsmen greater opportunity for travel. Bilic first moved to Germany but fell in love the moment he arrived at West Ham, in 1996. He only stayed 15 months and played 58 games but his influence on the club and vice-versa was far greater than those statistics would suggest. He mentored a young Rio Ferdinand who also played in his position of centre-half. The others admired his individuality. While they went dog racing at Romford, he flew to New York for one night to see a Guns N' Roses gig. In keeping with the rock star image, he'd enjoy the odd crafty cigarette. He still does but has cut down drastically.

His manager at Upton Park during the time, Harry Redknapp, also had the traits of getting the best out of players whatever their characters. Bilic has stayed in touch. 'Harry liked to take risks as a manager, to try and give talented players their freedom,' said an admiring Bilic subsequently. 'I had some great arguments with Harry when we were at West Ham. But once I became a manager myself, I realised just how good he was at his job. 'He seemed to get inside ever player's head to get the maximum out of them and that is what being a manager is about. My only criticism was that he used to get so low after losing games, it was like the end of the world. But I later understood the pressures of management.'

Bilic's move from West Ham to Everton in 1997 was meant to be a step up, they had won the FA Cup two years previously. But it didn't work out. Persistent injury problems meant he struggled to get on the pitch. Though certainly no prude, he found the drinking culture under, and sometimes led by, manager Howard Kendall, difficult to contend with. On one occasion following a team-bonding trip, Bilic was left hiding with Kendall and the other players in the team coach with all the lights turned out. The plan was to drive into the training ground at Bellefield but once Kendall realised there were autograph-hunters waiting, he ordered the coach to park round the corner and impose a blackout because it was so obvious they were the worse for wear. Bilic was one of the few who hadn't been drinking and argued with his manager to let him out. Everton narrowly avoided relegation and Bilic's play-acting at the 1998 World Cup which caused Laurent Blanc to be sent off and miss the final wasn't his finest hour. He retired at the age of 32 in 2001.

But as a manager, those people skills he'd demonstrated as a player blossomed. London tourists were astonished to see the Croatia players shopping and sightseeing on the day of their big match at Wembley in 2007 while the England players were trapped in their hotel stressing. Croatia won 3-2 and were one of the most popular teams at Euro 2008 the following year, beating Germany in a group game and only going out on penalties after a dramatic quarter-final against Turkey. Although he never earned more than £80,000-a-year the patriotic Bilic stayed in charge of the Croatia national team for a further four years. They reached the finals of Euro 2012 where they were unluckily drawn with both eventual finalists Italy and Spain. He regretted not qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but went anyway and took his eldest two children on safari.

Despite several offers, Bilic went to Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia to restart his club career. He followed that with two seasons in Turkey with Besiktas. The buzz of big cities like Moscow and Istanbul appealed to him, even when camera crews would wait for him to come out of restaurants to get their shots. The buzz of people is why London and West Ham has appealed to him for a long time now. Last season, he faced Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool in European competition and always thought about returning to the Premier League. With a six-month-old daughter with his new partner, he may be persuaded to live in suburbia rather than Chelsea Harbour where he bought a flat first time around at West Ham. But life isn't going to be dull from now on, either for Bilic or West Ham fans.

West Ham set to target Liverpool misfit after Slaven Bilic appointment
London 24
13:58 09 June 2015 Jack Green

West Ham have appointed Slaven Bilic as manager and he will reportedly make Liverpool's Dejan Lovren his first signing. RELATED ARTICLES Nine things West Ham fans need to know about new manager Slaven Bilic Former Spurs boss reveals West Ham and Newcastle target will join Swansea The Hammers announced Bilic's appointment after a prolonged search for a new manager. They missed out on Sevilla's Unai Emery and Marcelo Bielsa is set to stay at Marseille, leaving Bilic as the clear frontrunner. And he will immediately delve into the transfer market to bring fellow Croatian Dejan Lovren to the club, according to the Telegraph. Lovren moved to Liverpool from Southampton last summer for a fee in the region of £20m, but the defender had a difficult first season at the club. He struggled to adapt to Brendan Rodgers' system with three centre-backs in defence and did not exhibit the same calm demeanour at the back that made him a success for Southampton. The 25-year-old could now be offered a way out of Anfield, however, as Bilic is reportedly keen on signing him. It remains to be seen what price Liverpool would accept for him, but they will surely be looking to get back a decent portion of the sizeable fee they paid for him. West Ham have already signed goalkeeper Darren Randolph from Birmingham since the end of the season and they are reportedly lining up moves for Andre Ayew and Pedro Obiang.

Slaven Bilic appointment at West Ham could prove inspired - but it's enormous risk at crucial time for club
Croatian has charisma but does he have experience to run club heading for what they define as two of the most exciting years in their entire history?
Jeremy Wilson By Jeremy Wilson1:37PM BST 09 Jun 2015

One thing you cannot fault is the ambition and excitement of the West Ham United owners. The judgement and decision-making of David Sullivan and David Gold, however, is far more open to question following the departure of easily the best of their three managers since taking control of the club in 2010.
"From our point of view there isn't a more exciting job in the Premier League at present," said Sullivan and Gold, within minutes of publishing a statement to say that Sam Allardyce's contract would not be renewed.

The qualities that they would require from the next manager were then laid out. He should be ambitious in the belief that he can take the club to the next level. He should believe he can win trophies and he should understand the club's fans and culture. He should also look to promote from within the academy and play in that slightly mysterious style known as 'The West Ham Way'.

West Ham were clearly confident that the lure of moving into the 54,000-seat Olympic Stadium next season would place them in the market for the most successful managers in world football.
It was not an unreasonable assumption but the reality over this past month has been rather different. Rafael Benitez was close to answering the call but then Florentino Perez decided to ask him to manage Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp were evidently more attracted to a sabbatical than the "most exciting job in the Premier League".
David Moyes, Unai Emery, Michael Laudrup and Marcelo Bielsa also appear to have made the respective decisions that Real Sociedad, Sevilla, Lekhwiya and Marseille were more enticing than the "most exciting job in the Premier League".

And so it is that Slaven Bilic, whose club CV only includes permanent spells at Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas, has been appointed West Ham manager. It could prove inspired – Bilic has a personal charisma that guarantees an initial connection with supporters and players - but no one can pretend that this outcome was the result of careful planning. You really have to wonder whether Sullivan and Gold would have handled Allardyce's situation as they did if they had known that the replacement would have such an unremarkable club record. It is now three years since Bilic left his job in international management with Croatia, where his work was outstanding. He spent one season with Lokomotiv Moscow but was sacked after leading the club to their worst league finish (ninth) since the Russian championship was formed in 1992. He then joined Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig. Besiktas are historically very clearly the third biggest club in Turkey after Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.

They won the title as recently as 2009 and had also won the Turkish Cup four times in the proceeding eight seasons. They finished third in the season before Bilic arrived. They finished third in the two seasons under Bilic, while also losing in the last 32 and then last 16 of the Turkish Cup. It is hardly evidence of a manager likely to meet the job spec of propelling the club to the "next level", which is presumably beyond the regular mid-table Premier League finishes that Allardyce accomplished after the club's previously regular flirtations with the Championship. Three factors should still give West Ham hope. The first, obviously, is the imminent move to Stratford in 2016. The guarantee of far greater matchday and associated commercial revenue from next year will mean that the club can safely begin upping their spending and wage bill from this summer.

Bilic should have a budget superior to that of Allardyce and the lure of playing in the Olympic Stadium from next year will clearly be useful in attracting a higher quality of players. The considerable achievements of Bilic with Croatia between 2006 and 2012 also cannot simply be discounted. Yes, he had a very good crop of players but Croatia lost just eight games in six years under Bilic, peaking with their run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 and knocking out England in qualification. Having visited the Croatian training base just outside Zagreb in 2008 when his team were close to their peak, it was easy to sense Bilic's strengths. He seemed like a big brother to the players and the mutual loyalty was obvious.

The sense of momentum and pride in playing for Croatia was also brilliantly harnessed, as was the support of a fervent crowd. Something similar could be achieved at West Ham, where Bilic is assured of a honeymoon period when he begins with Europa League qualifiers next month. The West Ham fans never took to Allardyce and, beyond delivering promotions and an extremely sound body of results, there was no particular effort from his side to appease supporters still longing for a certain philosophy from their manager. Bilic will begin with considerable goodwill. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine West Ham appointing him were he not a former player with such a strong past affinity to the supporters. It is an appointment, then, that it is as much grounded on emotion as cold hard logic. That also makes it an enormous risk ahead of what the club itself has described as two of the most exciting years in their entire history.


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