Thursday, June 11

Daily WHUFC News - 11th June 2015

2014/15 Season Review - December

In December, three wins and a draw took the Hammers to the heady heights of third before the festive fixture schedule bought a dose of reality. West Ham kicked off December with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on a freezing Wednesday night in the West Midlands.
Craig Dawson headed the Baggies into a ten minute lead before a well worked corner fell to Kevin Nolan who equaliser via a trademark close range finish. Having weathered the early storm, the Irons grew into the match, James Tomkins rose highest at the back post to claim maximum points. Onto the next game and another slow start from the claret and blues. Ivorian international Wilfried Bony broke the deadlock triggering an almighty response from the hosts.

Andy Carroll stepped up to the plate, bagging a brace before Diafra Sakho slammed a shot past Lukasz Fabianski to seal the win. For the Hammers third game of December, the long journey to the North East. For the third game running, the Hammers fell behind as Jordi Gomez scored from the penalty spot after James Tomkins was adjudged to have fouled Adam Johnson. In keeping with previous games, the Irons never-say-die attitude stood them in good stead as Stewart Downing steered the equaliser in from the edge of the box. A cultured finish from one of the Hammers in form players.

In the last game before Christmas, West Ham strolled to a 2-0 win over Leicester City. The Foxes were on a poor run of form and it looked set to continue when former Hammer Paul Koncheskey played a short backpass. Andy Carroll raced onto it and delicately chipped over Ben Hamer. The towering No9 wheeled away in delight with the fans in raptures. The party really got going when Stewart Downing notched for the second game running, lashing a goal-of-the-season contender from the edge of the box.

The Hammers found themselves fourth almost halfway through the season, ensuring a very Merry Christmas all round. However, the festivities did not last too long as a Boxing Day trip to Stamford Bridge proved to be a rude awakening. Jose Mourinho's side were ruthless in their efficiency, hardly giving the travelling Irons a sniff on goal. A strike either side of half-time from veteran John Terry and danger-man Diego Costa were enough for the Blues. As for the final game of 2014, the fixture list was not much kinder as a classy Arsenal rolled into town. Fans were treated to an enthralling affair, and the atmosphere reached fever pitch from former Gunner Alex Song volleyed in from 25-yards, only for it to be chalked off somewhat controversially.

Tactically speaking - Slaven Bilic

A look at how Slaven Bilic's managerial style, based on his management of Turkish Super Lig club Besiktas

The Formation

During his second and final season with Besiktas, Slaven Bilic favoured an attacking 4-2-3-1 system in 23 of his 34 Super Lig matches in charge.

Indeed, if he begins life at West Ham United utilising anything other than a flat back four, then that will be a huge surprise, seeing as he used four defenders in all 34 league games and ten UEFA Europa League matches.

The 4-2-3-1 shape is based around two attacking full-backs, two deep-lying midfielders to protect the back four, three fluid, creative and goal-getting attacking midfielders and a versatile, mobile and clinical centre forward.

The Playing Style

Besiktas were one of the best teams in the Turkish Super Lig under Bilic's management, finishing in third place in each of his two seasons in charge and dominating the majority of matches they played in terms of possession.

As you would expect from a player who learnt his trade in Croatia, Bilic's Besiktas favoured a short passing game and possession football, controlling the game in the opposition half of the pitch.

On average, Besiktas enjoyed 55 per cent of the ball and completed 81 per cent of their passes last season in the league – compared to 46 per cent possession and 75 per cent pass completion enjoyed by West Ham in 2014/15.

Passing-wise, Besiktas averaged 370 short passes per game, good for 80 per cent of their overall passes made, along with 70 longer passes and 22 crosses.

Perhaps an even stronger indicator of the different style of play adopted both by Besiktas and in Turkish football as a whole, Bilic's side won 11.9 aerial duels per game, compared to West Ham's 22.9 per game.
Encouragingly, Besiktas were a balanced attacking unit, going forward with purpose and width on both flanks, creating and converting plenty of chances. Last season, Besiktas attacked exactly the same percentage of the time – 38 per cent – down the right and left side of the pitch.

That approach produced 55 goals in 34 league matches and an average of 5.2 shots on target per game. Of those 55, some 41 came from open play, with the other 14 coming from set pieces or penalties.

Like West Ham, Besiktas were also blessed with a prolific Senegalese striker. For Diafra Sakho, read former Hammer Demba Ba, who plundered 18 goals in 29 league games.

Defensively, Bilic's side were compact and well organised, conceding less than a goal a game and finishing among the Super Lig leaders in tackles, blocks, interceptions and clearances made.

If they had any weaknesses, Bilic's side could be caught out by opposition teams playing on the counter-attack, while their offensive attitude and high defensive line sometimes made them susceptible to attackers breaking their offside trap.

One other issue might be discipline – Besiktas players were shown TEN red cards in league games last season – but West Ham fans certainly do not mind their team putting their foot in, if the popularity of Julian Dicks and Tomas Repka were anything to go by!

From the Newsroom - 'Bilic is an excellent choice'

Evening Standard correspondent Ken Dyer believes Slaven Bilic is an excellent appointment. The experienced journalist, who has covered West Ham United for over 40 years, described his delight upon hearing the news that the 46-year-old Croatian had been named Hammers boss. "I'm delighted," he confirmed. "With all the names mentioned and there were some very high profile names been talked about, I always thought Slaven Bilic was a really good candidate. "I remember him as a player when he played for us in the mid-90s, he has a big, big personality. He's very charismatic and intelligent."

Despite playing in a claret and blue shirt for a little under two seasons, Dyer remembers his exploits well. "He was only here for a short time but he was very popular. All fans like to identify with what they think is one of their own. I think he enjoyed his time at the Club and it was one of the happiest, if not the happiest time, in his playing career. "I've followed his career ever since then. He broke into management and I interviewed him after Croatia played England at Wembley in 2008. "I also went over to Croatia to speak to him a few years later at a training camp and he remembered me. He's very charming and good to the media. I think it's an excellent choice."

Following Bilic's time in east London, he made the move to Everton, where he would stay for three seasons. Dyer expressed his belief that it was this connection to the Club and the experience of playing in the Premier League that attracted the Croat back to England. "He regards London as one of his favourite cities. I've heard Igor Stimac being interviewed talking about how much affection he had for the Club. He knows the fans and he knows what they want. "He's very passionate, he'll get his teams playing attacking football within a framework. He knows what's needed. He knows that the priority is Premier League football. He's not going to get carried away. "I think he'll play through the midfield, he's worked with some very good players, and that's what he did with Croatia."

With the managerial announcement widely celebrated by Hammers fans, it won't be long before Bilic takes to the Hammers' dugout for the first time as they are due to start their Europa League qualification campaign on Thursday 2 July. However, this is a fact that Dyer believes can work to the Irons' advantage: "He's going to have to hit the ground running but he knows the Europa League which is an added bonus. "At the same time, he's only got three weeks until it starts so he hasn't got much time to hang about. He'll have to get straight in there and plan it sensibly. "We've seen the pitfalls that the Europa League can bring, if you look at Everton last season. But he should know about that with his time from Besiktas, he's got that experience."

Stimac - 'I know how much Slaven feels for West Ham'

Igor Stimac has backed his former West Ham United and Croatia defensive partner Slaven Bilic to make a success of being Hammers manager. Few know Bilic better than Stimac. The defensive duo played alongside one another many times for Hajduk Split before helping their country to reach the quarter-finals at UEFA Euro 1996 and finish a superb third at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Stimac later followed Bilic to the Boleyn Ground, joining West Ham for a two-year spell in 1999 before succeeding his compatriot as Croatia manager in 2012. The 47-year-old, who was recently appointed manager of Croatian Second League club Vadar himself, says his ex-teammate has all the tools to do a successful job in east London. "I know how much Slaven feels for West Ham and that is very important," said Stimac. "We both used to play for the Hammers and we had a great time with the Hammers. "I know that the supporters will accept Slaven in the right way and he has everything to be successful there – the language, the experience and tactical knowledge. "He knows what the supporters expect. He is a great character, a great personality."

Stimac says West Ham fans will be excited by the style of play and approach to management that his former colleague will bring to the Boleyn Ground. Under Bilic's management, Croatia lost just eight of his 65 games in charge and qualified for two UEFA European Championship finals in 2008 and 2012. Since then, the Split-born coach has led Besiktas to consecutive third-place finishes in the Turkish Super Lig and UEFA Europa League victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. "When he was manager of Croatia he played very exciting football and this is important," Stimac continued. "Slaven is a long-term manager, you know, and he might not produce something immediately, but the way he works, his contribution to the club's success is wonderful."

Sullivan praise for Obiang

West Ham United Joint-Chairman David Sullivan believes the Club may have found a real superstar in the making following the arrival of Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria. Obiang became the first signing under new manager Slaven Bilic and arrives with a big reputation having been one of the star performers for Sampdoria in Serie A last season. The Spanish Under-21 international agreed a four-year contract with the east London club and Mr Sullivan was thrilled to fend off interest from a number of top clubs chasing his signature and feels he can become a major player at the Boleyn Ground. Sullivan said: "He is a top player. He is an athlete and played every game for Sampdoria last season. He is a box-to-box player who can operate in a number of positions. "He has played for Spain's Under-21 side and you don't play for them unless you are a good player. "He is a fantastic footballer and will keep possession of the ball and tackle. He has got many qualities that will be admired by the West Ham supporters. "We hope that if we can improve him a little bit we could have a real superstar."

A season not to be missed

Our final season at the Boleyn Ground will be a special one, a season like no other.

Throughout that final year the Club plans to give the ground the fitting farewell it deserves. Working in consultation with supporters, plans are being put in place for themed matchdays to pay homage to the Club's legendary figures, honour our famous Academy graduates, celebrate the greatest goals and relive those special moments which had to be seen, to be believed.

Further details will be announced following the release of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League fixtures.

Following Tuesday's announcement, Hammers fans can now look forward to the farewell season with Croat Slaven Bilic at the helm, a man who knows just what it means to grace the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham United Joint-Chairman David 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. We all want to pull together as a family and it is fantastic that we have someone who understands that."

It will come as no surprise that Season Tickets for 2015/16 have been running at a record rate and the Club can categorically confirm that Season Ticket sales will not reach general sale.

The Ticket Office is currently working through final Season Ticket payments following the deadline to pay the balance. However, should any payments not be completed, seats are being allocated to supporters on the 2015/16 Season Ticket Waiting List.

While a place on the waiting list cannot guarantee a Season Ticket, it remains the only chance of securing a place for the final season.

If you are not on the waiting list and want to be in with a chance of a Season Ticket for the final season at the Boleyn Ground, you can join the Final Season Waiting List by clicking here or calling the Ticket Office on 0871 529 1966 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras).

From the Boardroom - David Gold



What a great week this has been for the football Club.

I know the fans have been anxious to see us put a manager in place but we have had to be measured and timely and made sure that we got the best candidate available and that is what we have done.

Slaven ticked a lot of boxes for us and he is highly respected by a number of people in the game.

He is a former West Ham player which ticked another box and has that affiliation with the Club which is so important.

Slaven has managed at the highest level and performed above expectation when he was in charge of Croatia and also did a great job with Besiktas where he showed his quality as a coach when his side beat Liverpool in the Europa League last season.

The key for us was when we met him face-to-face and he showed passion in the interview and will bring something special as a manager.

Being able to communicate with a manager is so important and I have no doubts that myself, David Sullivan and Karren Brady will have a great working relationship with him.

Slaven will obviously know people from the past and it will be very interesting for me to see who he wants to bring onto his coaching staff.

Our backroom team from last season have obviously moved onto new challenges and this gives an opportunity for someone new to emerge.

I am expecting exciting things and this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone coming into our football Club as this is most arguably the most exciting season period in the club's history as we prepare for our final ever season at the Boleyn Ground before we move into the Olympic Stadium.

No sooner has the ink dried on Slaven's contract and we have been able to announce our first major signing under the new manager.

With Slaven's approval, action has been taken immediately to bring in another quality player and it goes to show the backroom mechanism that we have at West Ham. I certainly hope there are a few more signings to come.

We are showing our intent and we want just want to put a bit of fear into the top teams who have remained unchallenged. We want them to start looking over their shoulder and see a Club like West Ham who want to challenge.

Poyet preparing for Brazilian test

Diego Poyet's Uruguay U20s are preparing for a stern test as they face South American rivals Brazil in the FIFA U20 World Cup Round of 16.

The tenacious midfielder's team progressed to the knock out stages after a win, a draw and a defeat to Serbia, Mali and Mexico respectively was enough to finish second in Group D.

Their opponents Brazil, on the other hand, progressed in style with wins over Nigeria, Hungary and North Korea, scoring an impressive nine goals.

The match takes place in Stadium Taranaki in New Plymouth, New Zealand on Thursday 11 June. Kick off is 19.30 local time (8.30am BST).

Pedro Obiang - Ten Fast Facts

Find out more about West Ham United's newest signing, Spain U21 midfielder Pedro Obiang, by checking out our Ten Fast Facts about the 23-year-old Hammer!

- Pedro Obiang is sometimes known as just 'Perico'.
- Pedro Obiang's home city of Alcalá de Henares – meaning Citadel on the river Henares – is a central Spanish city whose historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites due to its rich archaeology.
- Only five players attempted more tackles than Pedro Obiang (153) in Serie A last season.
- Pedro Obiang made his European debut for Sampdoria against Debrecen back in December 2010 in the Europa League.
- In a poll conducted in 2013 by Inside Spanish football Pedro Obiang was named in the top 15 Spanish youngsters.
- When it comes to passing completion Pedro Obiang is one of the star performers having an 82.2 per cent completion rate for Sampdoria in Serie A last season.
- Pedro Obiang showed his quality at a young age when he made the move from Atletico Madrid to Sampdoria, aged just 16.
- Pedro Obiang will be hoping to maintain his impressive disciplinary record for West Ham as he never picked up a red card during his spell at Sampdoria.
- The talented midfielder has plenty of international experience having played for Spain's Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 side.
- Pedro Obiang is described as a box-to-box midfielder and has already been compared to Yaya Toure.

Pedro Obiang: West Ham sign Sampdoria's Spain U21 midfielder

West Ham have signed Spain Under-21 midfielder Pedro Obiang from Italian club Sampdoria for an undisclosed fee. The 23-year-old is the first acquisition for new manager Slaven Bilic, who was unveiled on Tuesday. Obiang, who scored three goals in 34 league games for Sampdoria last season, has signed a four-year-deal. "I'm very happy to have signed. We have been talking about this for a long time and now I've finally got the chance to come here," he said.

Slaven Bilic: Rock star, lawyer and now West Ham manager
By Gary Rose
BBC Sport

He plays the guitar, speaks several languages and is a fully qualified lawyer, but is Slaven Bilic the right manager for West Ham? When the search began for a replacement for Sam Allardyce, the Hammers' board set a list of criteria. High on that list was playing the West Ham way, understanding the club and its fans, taking the Hammers to the next level, and a willingness to give youth players a chance. So does former Hammers defender Bilic, who was appointed on Tuesday, tick the boxes? BBC Sport takes a look.

What is he like as a manager?

For many fans in England, their first encounter with Bilic the manager came in November 2007. In charge of the Croatia national team, Bilic oversaw a 3-2 win against England at Wembley that ended the Three Lions's hopes of reaching Euro 2008 and, ultimately, Steve McClaren's time as manager. It was as an international manager he arguably enjoyed his most success to date, leading Croatia to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 and securing qualification for Euro 2012, where they exited at the group stages. Success at club level has been limited. He was sacked after one season at Lokomotiv Moscow and failed to win a trophy in two years at Turkish side Besiktas, the club he left last month after finishing third in their domestic league.
However, he did guide Beskitas to victory against Liverpool in the Europa League in February. "Bilic didn't give confidence that he is a good problem-solver in his time at Besiktas," Ahmet Yavuz, of FourFourTwo Turkey, told BBC Sport. "In the first 18 months the team failed to hold on when they were leading 1-0 or 2-0 and he never won a derby game against Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. "He struggled to find the right solutions to change a game and there was a routine in his substitutions. Liverpool was the exception."

Can he create a team to 'play the West Ham way'?

Will it be 'the West Ham way' or 19th century football for the Hammers under Slaven Bilic? Tactically, then, there is perhaps a question mark, but what about being able to 'play the West Ham way'? That might well be his strength. Once accused of overseeing a West Ham side that played "19th century" football by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, Allardyce ultimately paid the price for not delivering a brand of football Hammers fans craved. Bilic, a West Ham defender for 18 months from 1996, will know what the club expects. Despite making just 55 appearances for the club, he is a Hammers cult hero, loved by the fans for his no-nonsense defending and big personality. "Slaven has already spoken about this being a cult club," Dean Ashton, who played for West Ham between 2006 and 2009, told BBC Radio 5 live. "He understands they will want a certain style of play and be entertained, but that is easier said than done. There will be a lot of work to do."
Bilic may not have delivered trophies at Besiktas, but he was praised by fans for the brand of football they played. "In one of his first interviews in Turkey, Bilic said 'my team is as energetic as Iron Maiden'," added Yavuz. "He really delivered in that regard. "With a 4-2-3-1 formation, he built a team with two dynamic defensive midfielders, one creative playmaker and wingers able to cut inside. Last season especially, Demba Ba showed that he was the missing piece of that formation with his ability to encourage midfielders to attack. "In two years Besiktas transformed to an energetic, collective and fast team, playing with short passes."

Is he capable of taking the club to the next level?

While being able to deliver entertaining football, Bilic's managerial trophy cabinet remains disconcertingly bare. As a former player, Bilic will likely be given an extended bedding-in period but a battle to stay in the Premier League will not be the club's goal next season. "They have to be comfortably in the top half, 10th and above, and start to press for Europa League places," added Ashton. "They will definitely spend money in the summer, and it will be a big summer for Slaven." Player recruitment will no doubt be key, and Hammers fans will perhaps take heart that the playing squad was seen to have improved at Besiktas under Bilic. Midfielders Gokhan Tore, Tolgay Arslan and Jose Sosa and striker Ba all arrived during his time in charge and all impressed. West Ham strengthened well last summer, bringing in exciting talent in the shape of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Alex Song. Bilic will be expected to continue that process. "One of the plus points for West Ham last season was certainly the players they brought in," said former Hammers midfielder Steve Lomas. "It certainly enhanced the squad and they can't afford to rest on their laurels, they've got to bring in five or six players who certainly stake a claim for a first-team spot."

The new Mourinho?

Ex-England international Frank Lampard once compared Bilic, his former West Ham team-mate, to Jose Mourinho. There are similarities. As a player, Bilic went against the grain. He smoked, enjoyed a glass of wine and played guitar in a rock band, but despite that rebellious image he was also a great thinker, studying for a law degree in case a career in football did not work out and becoming fluent in several languages. Those qualities helped him develop into a boss who, according to Lampard, excels at man-management, as well as being a master of mind games.
"Whenever I see Slaven speak, he talks about his close relationship with his players - as if they are family and that's very important for the modern-day manager to have that relationship. The players then give you that bit extra," said Lampard in 2009. "He's very intelligent. He is always thinking one step ahead and thinking of any little edge he can get on the other team."
'He gets close to you and helps you along'

West Ham want their new manager to be able to help promising players from the club's famed academy to successfully make the transition to the first team. This, arguably, is his biggest strength. Lampard, 19 when he and Bilic were at West Ham, fondly remembers his "big personality" and how he took time to get to know the club's youngsters. "Not all players are like that," said Lampard. "To get close to you and help you along." Lampard's former England team-mate Rio Ferdinand came through the youth ranks at Upton Park, making his senior debut at the age of 17 in the year Bilic arrived at the club. "He was someone I looked up to as a defender," said Ferdinand at the launch of BT Sport Europe on Tuesday. "He was a fantastic guy, a great professional. That's what he'll bring to West Ham and he'll put his stamp on the team. "I think West Ham fans will see good things with him as manager."

Klopp still open to Premier League gig
Filed: Wednesday, 10th June 2015
By: Staff Writer

West Ham managerial candidate Jurgen Klopp says he is still open to working in the Premier League - and not necessarily at a 'top four' club. The 47-year-old parted company with Dortmund last week after telling the media he was set for a temporary hiatus from the game. However in an interview with SPOX, his agent Marc Kosicke suggested that Klopp was still keen on a Premier League role - even if that means moving down the pyramid. "The Premier League is very exciting," he said. "And we do not only think about the top four because there are some other great clubs below them. But I am not sure the profile of the job could work. "It is always all about the challenge. When Jurgen signed for Dortmund there were other clubs who had greater prestige and were in a better financial situation at this time. Nevertheless he decided for Dortmund. "He has the great ability to develop things. If he goes into a stadium, feels the energy and thinks that he can make a difference here, this could be more attractive to him than going with the big deals and aim for the treble. "However in Germany there is a clear separation between manager and sporting director and I think in principle this is very good. Jurgen does not like to speak to players' agents or to carry out transfers. "So we'd have to see which is the most useful arrangement."

Klopp was one of the West Ham Board's top candidates during the two-week search to hire a replacement for the outgoing Sam Allardyce. Rival Slaven Bilic was appointed as the club's 15th full-time manager yesterday.

Bilic: the KUMB writers' view
Filed: Wednesday, 10th June 2015
By: Staff Writer

On the day that Slaven Bilic was appointed as the new manager of West Ham United, we asked the KUMB Writers for their views on the appointment. Here's what Paul Turner, Elliot Pollard and Paul Walker had to say...

So the best kept secret has finally been announced, with Slaven Bilic being named manager of West Ham United. For the regular KUMB readers you will recall I predicted this on Thursday, 9 April in my article about Sam Allardyce:

"Slaven Bilic has reportedly bought a place in London, and his contract expires this summer. If I was a betting man, it will be Slaven in the hot seat this summer. With a remote chance of European football next season via the Fair Play ruling, his first game in charge may come as early as 2nd July!"

And I followed this up on 4 June with an article about Slaven Bilic.

Bilic's success will be defined by the board backing him financially, and giving him the final decision over the team. David Sullivan has already stated earlier today that the club hope to sign five or six players in the next few months. One of these players may be another ex-Hammer, Demba Ba!

It is important that the manager appoints the right backroom staff to support him for what will be the clubs final season at Upton Park. Our new manager is rated as the 53rd best coach in the world with a win percentage of 55.16 per cent, whilst Sam Allardyce was 114th. So based on statistics alone, the appointment is a step in the right direction.

As mentioned in the past, Bilic has blooded youngsters from the Croatia U-21 team into the national team, which bodes well for the likes of Reece Burke and Reece Oxford. Let's all get behind Slaven and the team, as we enter a new era.

- Paul Turner

The appointment of Slaven Bilic feels like a very wise move by the chairman, and the best available option on the market. Although speculation suggests he may not have been the owners' first choice, I think most fans would agree he is the right man to carry West Ham forward.

A key element of this is his passion and his previous relationship with the club which will allow the fans to really get behind him and the team, something that's been a real problem in recent appointments (Allardyce, Avram etc).

The only concern I have with the appointment of the Croatian is his fondness of the 4-2-3-1 formation used at Besiktas, which I think our current squad would struggle to adapt to due to the lack of creative/wide players.

Having said that, Bilic did use the more favourable 4-4-2 formation as Croatia manager when his team dumped England's Three Lions out of the European Championship qualifiers, and later created a formidable "big man little man" strike partnership with Mandzukic and Olic; let's hope he can do the same with Carroll and Valencia!

I am very happy with the appointment and I can't wait to see the players the club brings in over the summer!

- Elliot Pollard

"It's a good appointment. We were never going to get the Champions League level managers, they just used us to get better contracts or better clubs (Benitez). Slav is a gamble, but then any manager is a gamble - even Rafa at Madrid.

Bilic knows the club and will inject passion and effort into the team. Sam's men will be history and he will attract better players. He is about the best bet of new young managers outside the Champions League bubble.

He will do ok and the fans will be on his side - not like the final months of Sam where three wins in 21 league games was a disgrace (although there is no certainty he could have addressed that with the open conflict with Sullivan and his agent mates).

I believe Slav is represented by Pini Zahavi, who works with Barry Silkman and David Sullivan already. These things matter - and it is the end of Mark Curtis in control at West Ham.

I can't wait to see it in action and it should give everyone a lift after such a downbeat, sour end to the last campaign.

- Paul Walker

Blinking in the harsh light of reality
Filed: Wednesday, 10th June 2015
By: Matt Walsh

He's been linked with the job since last summer and finally Slaven Bilić has been named as the 15th manager in West Ham United's history.

At times the whole situation was teetering on the edge of becoming typical 'West Ham', sacking a manager without a replacement ready to be named (Benitez was due to be unveiled before Florentino Perez offered him The Bernebau hot-seat instead of The Boleyn one), cue the supposed Royal Rumble between Bielsa, Emery, Moyes, Laudrup etc.

It finally seemed as though West Ham were going up in the world of football; the prospect of European football in the final year at Upton Park, moving into a new 54,000 capacity stadium, topped off with an ambitious manager with experience at the top level. Klopp and Ancelotti were never honestly viable options, despite the hiatus from football and back surgery respectively that could be seen as an excuse for them not being available. Then the more realistic names started distancing themselves.

Moyes was happy in Spain, Emery and Laudrup signed new deals with their clubs and Bielsa never really seemed willing to signal any significant intent for the job. It's the 'what-might-have-beens' that hurt the most, and it feels as though the music's stopped and the lights have come on and all the options that at one point looked like a possibility have already gone home after choosing someone else and West Ham are left blinking in the harsh light of reality.

Bilić's stock was highest after his success with the Croatian national team but he had a pretty uneventful season with Lokomotiv Moscow (taking them to their lowest final position, ninth) and did OK at Beşiktaş where despite consecutive third-placed finishes, never looked likely to challenge for any Leagues or Cups in a country dominated by the trio of Istanbul: Galatasasray, Fenerbache and Beşiktaş.

But it must also be noted that they did not have the financial clout to compete, with Bilic having to restructure the side after nearly going bankrupt having been banned from Europe for match-fixing.

His experience in the Europa League would undoubtably have been a positive for the board, winning their qualifying group and knocking out Liverpool on the way to the last 16 last year, but he left after failing to qualify for the Champions League again - a not unrealistic goal for the team.

Beşiktaş had won the Turkish cup four times in the previous eight years and qualified for the Champions League in two out of the six previous seasons. Emery had won the Europa league in consecutive seasons with Sevilla, Bielsa had been challenging with the oil-rich, Qatari sugar-daddy PSG and Monaco, whilst Laudrup had a good Premier League record and has excelled for short periods at other clubs - whilst also being a world class player in his day.

Then Bilić, when compared to the others, seems somewhat underwhelming.

That has to be contextualised however when compared to European Cup-winning, tactically-revolutionary managers and former world-class players, most managers would pale in comparison. Bilić is an exciting appointment, a manager for the fans to get behind, a man who has played for the club and understands the fans calls for 'The West Ham Way'.

Sam Allardyce was never going to win a popularity contest and admittedly never sought to, but the atmosphere this produced at Upton Park undoubtedly affected performances on the pitch, as well as players confidence with the manager in the dressing room and on the training pitch.

I think the so-called '12th-man' is an underrated psychological advantage. Think of Selhurst Park and the Britannia, the atmosphere can definitely goad an extra 5-10 per cent out of a player. In the top league the differences between winning and losing is minuscule. Bilić is 100 per cent the type of personality and manager who will be backed by the crowds, especially in the aftermath of Allardyce.

Not only will his personality fit with the West Ham faithful, but his tactically versatile style should suit the Premier League as well. His Croatia side always played a back four but was flexible going forward, deploying a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 4-1-3-2. Meanwhile at Besiktas he favoured the 4-2-3-1 formation and a well-drilled passing style of football (according to the Turkish FourFourTwo).

He's an obviously intelligent man, speaking fluent English, Italian and German whilst also being a fully qualified lawyer, in parallel with his emotional attachment to the game and his players, memorably being quoted as saying "With the greatest respect to women, football is the most beautiful thing in the world."

It must be conceded there is an enormous amount of risk in the appointment, however. Bilic has never managed in the Premier League, a totally unique league due to its competitiveness and a completely different animal to International management. He needs to hit the ground running, especially with the Europa League qualifiers kicking off in about three weeks time (he apparently won't start until the end of the month due to a family holiday).

At a time when the squad is being completely restructured, it appears that David Sullivan is taking the initiative to make signings at the moment with rumours of Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew coming in. Until Bilic evaluates the squad, is consulted on potential targets and funds available, it will be difficult for him to make an immediate impact even if he has targets in mind, the board seem to have a comprehensive process in place for new signings.

It's obviously impossible to make any sort of prediction then on how I think the season will go, but our final season at the Boleyn was always going to be a special one. With the appointment of Slaven Bilic as manager I feel as though the clouds of discontent that had enveloped the crowds during Allardyce's reign can be lifted.

The Boleyn deserves a fitting send off, 35,000-odd West Ham fans rallying behind their manager and team for each and every one of the last 19 plus games on the historic ground is what it deserves. It's a big season for West Ham, it's a big season for Slaven Bilic, both need to prove they're capable of bigger and better things. The potential is clearly there, we can only wait and see if we achieve it together.

A wise decision to appoint Bilic
Filed: Wednesday, 10th June 2015
By: Matt Bell

First things first; I am pleased with the appointment of Slaven Bilic as the 15th West Ham manager.

The mid-'90s team he played in was full of characters and the team at that point were either very good or very bad on a weekly basis. Bilic will understand the fans' frustration with lacklustre displays and depressingly-predictable defeats. He'll be greatly encouraged by the atmosphere of a full Boleyn Ground from his days.

I think it was a very wise decision to interview Bilic last so he was not left with the feeling he was anything other than a Board-approved decision. If we had interviewed him first then chased after Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp and Unai Emery then he may have felt unloved and chosen a Bundesliga job. I applaud the owners for aiming high, but am happy with the choice of Bilic.

This atmosphere will be intensified by virtue of it being the final season at Upton Park after 112 years and the addition of (glory) European nights under the floodlights when we've all had a chance to get out of work, have a drink and find our voices to give the team full encouragement.

I recently added my thoughts about Sam Allardyce and what he achieved in his four-year tenure, as I think he did a good job. I wasn't happy watching some of the games because I didn't agree with his selections, his big signings and mainly his sometimes odd choice of substitutions while sitting bored looking on the touchlines.

Still, I was pleased with the decision to part company with Big Sam and look for someone who could take us forward in steady steps.

For all the Di Canio supporters stating he has a big personality and is steeped in West Ham history, look no further than Slaven Bilic who, in his time at West Ham, was revered and appreciated - and then vilified for his transfer to Everton after 18 months at the Boleyn Ground.

The legally trained, guitar playing, smoking scruffbag knows exactly what he is stepping into and I think he has the strength and character to survive and prosper. As a coach of continental background he will understand that the directors sign players they think represent best value for the club while the manager trains them and picks the team.

These players are usually based on an approved list supplied by the manager and coaching staff and it's a policy I wholeheartedly agree with.

David Sullivan takes a lot of stick but his record is pretty good. When forced to pay off players I feel sick even mentioning... Freddie Ljungberg, Kieron Dyer, Benny McCarthy and others who cost us a fortune were sent them packing with the fans' feelings made very clear.

He wants to sign Cresswell for £3.75million and sell for £20million perhaps two seasons later? So be it. That's how we grow and it's good business. He signed Valencia, he brought in Sakho and Koyaute and secured Song on loan while others wondered how. Good players with resale value or big club players who need a season on loan to actually do what they're paid for – play football and prove why they became famous names.

The international experience of managing Croatia meant that Bilic will be used to working with a pool of players and implementing a style of playing based on limited coaching time, so I have no fears he he can hit the ground running.

I liked the way they played; defensively solid, playing possession-based football with purpose. He wasn't afraid to blood youngsters as he sent them out to express themselves with pride and without fear.

If someone offered you a job with a vast salary and a massive opportunity to stake your claim then you would research who you are working for and what you are working with. Slav will know the squad and will try to bring in a few of his own players to supplement a very strong core we already have.

Add in some of the new youngsters and it looks good for the long term, while the owners make money available for the immediate first team improvements we will need for both European and league campaigns.

I for one look forward to signing Croatian players with a scrabble-winning name who are labelled the new Modric or Mandzucic and I'd accept Demba Ba back as cover for Sakho.
I ignore the dull naysayers who warn us to "be careful what you wish for" as they blow out their arse for TV money and change their mind every Saturday.

With 2 July and the start of our European adventure fast approaching, there are some key player changes I hope for. With a new boss on board, a new kit to be revealed and David Moyes staying in Spain I am looking forward to the transfer gossip over the next few weeks.

I do expect to see some former faces brought in and I stand by my previous claim that Rio Ferdinand would be a good coach (at youth level). I would welcome Kevin Keen back to the staff while Steve Potts could be promoted.

So these are my player in/outs for the new boss...

Ins -
Pedro Obiang (asap please before every other club calls his agent)
Andre Ayew
JP Gignac (mainly because he is free and is the big No.9 type
Max Gradel (mainly because he is free)
Charlie Austin ((Using Jarvis & Nolan as makeweights)
Scrabble-winning-named Croat we've never heard of
Whatever is left of the ££££ budget I can only dream of big names!

Outs -
Andy Carroll (£10m to Newcastle with add ons will do)
Kevin Nolan (Most likely a loan to QPR or a bigger Champ club who can part pay his wage before his contract expires next July)
Matt Jarvis (West Brom perhaps at anything over £3.5m)
Lovren and Corluka (just by way of lazy journalists naming both as immediate Bilic targets ?
Modibo Maiga

Welcome back, Slaven
Filed: Wednesday, 10th June 2015
By: Raedwulf

Welcome back, Slaven. If you turn out to be as good a manager for us as you were a player. No buggering off to Everton! I jest...

Somehow, I've become a regular contributor at KUMB; match reports, comments to articles, the occasional opinion piece (I blame The Ed - he encourages me!). If you're a regular visitor, you'll already know my opinion of our new manager.

Bilic was not my first choice of the names we've been linked with. Nor is he a "bad", a "last", or a "scraping the barrel" choice. Hands up who wouldn't have taken Klopp, Ancellotti, or Benitez, if they'd chosen to come? Would Slaven have been disappointed to lose out to one of them? I doubt it. Some of the names we were linked with were, well, dreaming. But whilst it might be only media gossip, there have been rumours, in the last few days, that we had a good chance of capturing Benitez before Real got interested.

True? Not true? Does it matter? What matters is that our club should aspire to better things. McLaren briefly had his name in the frame, to some negative and no positive comment. Probably, that's a bit unfair on him; he's a decent club manager. But we all want better than him, so wasn't it nice to be linked with... Even if we all thought "Naaaah..."!

Some of the names we were linked with were, undeniably, top rank. Then there were the ones we all thought were more realistic - Howe, de Boer, Bielsa, Emery, Moyes, Bilic (in no particular order). Moyes, perhaps, would have been the least popular, but with long Premiership experience. Howe would have been a gamble, for sure, but exciting! Would anyone have turned down de Boer, Bielsa, or Emery? Surely not!

Allow me to indulge in a little history at this point. Second rate, in modern parlance, means not good enough, not up to the job. It means no such thing. The phrase originates with the Royal Navy of the wooden walls. The old sailing ships, of the days of, of the days before, of the days after Nelson. The rating system of the classic Trafalgar era was based on the number of cannon carried.

We are not a first-rate club. We don't carry a hundred-plus guns, and if we tried, in our current state, we'd sink! "Guns", in this context, being the defenders, midfielders and forwards who grace the richest and most successful clubs (I do think we have a first-rate keeper; keep it quiet and hopefully no-one else will notice!). If we could attract them, we couldn't afford them - we'd sink through sheer weight of... finance, expectation. It's what FFP is supposed to protect us from.

Extending the metaphor, are we then second or third rate? The old Navy rating system ran down to sixth rate (and "Unclassified" beyond that). There were only ever a very few first-rate ships in any navy. So it is with football. Ships of the line, ships of battle, battleships, were mostly second (90-98 guns) or third (64-80) rate. Third rates were in the line at the Battle of the Nile, at Copenhagen, at Trafalgar. God help them if they ran up against a bigger ship! Overpowered would be the least they could usually expect, without some very astute captaincy and a well-drilled crew.

You will now fully understand the parallel I attempt to draw. The Premiership is not the most competitive league in the world. That accolade belongs to the Championship. There, the fifth (occasionally), fourth, third (and sometimes the second) rates fight it out. Below the big five or six; the first rates; the rest of our top tier is the second and third rate clubs. Occasionally a fourth-rate fights its way into the top flight (I am soooo going to enjoy Bournemouth's adventure next season!).

Mostly, though, it's the wannabe third-rates who come up (if only because the second-rates don't go down). 'Wannabe' is not perjorative, any more than third-rate is. Wannabe in the Prem - who wouldn't? It's what every football club wants, what every football fan outside of the "elite" dreams of for their club. Isn't the Prem the second most competitive league in the world? In what other league is the equanimity of the top two or three so regularly disturbed?

So is West Ham a second or third-rate club? I'd like to think we're second-rate. With aspirations! Is Bilic (yes there was a point to the digression; have a little faith!) a second or third-rate manager? I don't know. We're going to find out, and so will he. What I do know is this:

Wimbledon; the original, unreconstructed Crazy Gang; achieved far beyond their means and ability. Going back to the naval metaphor, fifth rate by any measure, but bloody hell! There was good captaincy and a well-drilled crew! They never shrank from the biggest ships, rather took them on on their own terms. And they won, however you want to define win, far more often than they should have done. Horatio Hornblower, for those of you of a literary disposition!

The manager is the captain of the metaphorical ship. The players are the officers, the gun captains. We, the fans, are the ordinary seamen. If we are well drilled, if we all pull together, who knows what ships we can defeat? But it takes time for captain, officers, crew to achieve that unity.

Yes, perhaps I'm over-extending the metaphor. Bilic may be the last of the names I'd have chosen, if my preference mattered. But I'm not disappointed. He has a ship, he has a crew. A good captain? I don't yet know. I am certain he needs time .

Our last season in the Boleyn is hugely important for so many reasons. If we get into the first round proper of the Europa, have a decent run in one domestic cup, and finish fifteenth (I'd rather sink to fifteenth than rise, if you see what I mean), I'd call that a decent first season for him. Better than that? Wonderful!

Our new manager needs several seasons to build, though. That is well proven by football history. Just look at Man Utd. Fergie was more than once "two games from the sack". Look at how little Change Manager Chelsea won throughout the years when their buying power was unmatched even by The Other United. Then there's the Academy. You need at least four years before you see any end result from changes there.

We have had stability for four years. All thanks to the Blessed Sam! No, I'm being playful, not nasty. A lot of fans, myself included, have been less than than happy with what we've seen. But Sam's achievement has been undeniable.

Now, it's Slaven. His turn. What can he do? I don't know, but I do know he'll need time. Welcome back, Slaven. You were a classy player; you seem a decent, intelligent bloke. What he needs most from us now, the fans, in the coming season isn't support.

It's patience. Think on that.

Pedro's happy to be here
Filed: Wednesday, 10th June 2015
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United have confirmed the capture of Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang. The 23-year-old was unveiled as West Ham's first new signing of the summer this afternoon (Wednesday) and becomes the club's first signing since Slaven Bilic was confirmed as the club's new manager yesterday. Obiang is thought to have cost West Ham in the region of £4.5million and moves to the Boleyn Ground on a four-year contract, tying him to the club until 2019. "I'm very happy to have signed," he told "We have been talking about this for a long time and now I've finally got the chance to come here. I went on holiday after the season had finished and I was looking forward to receiving that call to tell me where and when to sign for this club. "I'm very excited to play in the Premier League. It's a style of football that will help me to progress as a player and as a person, so it will be very good. "I think Bilic is a manager that can do very well here. I know that he was a West Ham player and he did very well with the Croatian national team. He is a manager that likes to play good football and I really like that so I am sure that we will get along very well."

Obiang 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 sign Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang
Last Updated: 10/06/15 5:44pm

West Ham have signed Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The Spanish 23-year-old moves to Upton park after playing key role in the Italian club's seventh-place finish in Serie A last season. Obiang has attracted the attention of a number of clubs in Italy and Spain where he was part of the Atletico Madrid academy system before moving to Sampdoria. He has represented Spain at U17, U19 and U21 level but has yet to appear for the senior team, and is looking to the Premier League for experience that could help him push the incumbents. "I'm very happy to have signed," Obiang told the West Ham United website. "We have been talking about this for a long time and now I've finally got the chance to come here. I went on holiday after the season had finished and I was looking forward to receiving that call to tell me where and when to sign for this Club. "I'm very excited to play in the Premier League. It's a style of football that will help me to progress as a player and as a person, so it will be very good."

Obiang is the first signing under new manager Slaven Bilic and the second summer signing for the club, after goalkeeper Darren Randolph joined from Birmingham City. The club also confimred it intends to make several more signings ahead of the 2015/16 season. Bilic has set his targets high for the club with a top 10 finish his first goal. "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."

West Ham co-chairman David Gold tried to use his Twitter account to welcome Obiang to the club but was caught out when he published his tweet. Gold posted the message: "I am delighted to announce the signing of 23 year old midfield Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria. Pedro, welcome. dg" which was accompanied by a photo of Juventus centre-back Angelo Ogbonna. Upon realising his error, the Tweet was soon removed, but not before some light-hearted banter by Irons fans. Gold later uploaded another message, this time with a photograph of Obiang on the pitch at Upton Park holding a claret-and-blue scarf. The West Ham co-chairman then added: "I've just spoke to Pedro and he soundedv excited to be here. He promised me that he'd learn to sing Bubbles in less than a month! dg"

Slaven Bilic's to-do list for a successful season at West Ham
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 10/06/15 5:08pm

After West Ham confirmed the appointment of Slaven Bilic as their new manager, we outline the Croatian's to-do list at Upton Park with the help of former Hammers striker Dean Ashton.

Get the fans on side

Bilic has a big head start in this regard. West Ham fans never warmed to predecessor Sam Allardyce, but Bilic is already a firm favourite in east London having made 54 appearances during a two-year stint at Upton Park as a player. The club hope Bilic's appointment will pull the fanbase together after the dischord that dominated Allardyce's reign, and Ashton believes the former Croatia and Besiktas manager's appointment will lift the mood at West Ham ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. "I think it's positive," he told Sky Sports. "I think he's going to be a very popular choice with the fans having played with the club. The fact that they are in the Europa League this year means it's good that they have got a manager who has that European experience too. So it's positive all round."

Change the style

Bilic's passion and charisma is sure to make him popular with the fans, but he will also need to instigate the attacking, attractive style of play that West Ham crave. It has been a long time since the fabled 'West Ham Way' was seen at Upton Park, but Ashton believes the importance of entertainment will not be lost on Bilic. "The fact the fans never really took to Sam and his style of play shows just how important it is at West Ham," he said. "It's not just winning games, but how you win, how you entertain and how you attack. I think that's going to be very important. "And that's why I think they have gone for Bilic, who knows the club. In part of his interview he said it's like a 'cult' club, and he's right. It's not enough to just win games. They want to see a better brand of football and hopefully he can attract different players as well."

West Ham impressed in the early months of last season, suggesting they already have the makings of a squad that can get results and entertain, but Bilic must get them playing attractive football on a more consistent basis.

Add Europa League depth

A potentially gruelling Europa League campaign kicks off with a first round qualifier in just three weeks' time. A number of Premier League clubs have failed to cope with the extra demands of Thursday night trips to distant corners of the continent, and Bilic must ensure West Ham have the strength in depth to handle it. "You only have to look at the likes of Everton, Tottenham and Swansea in previous years to see just how much they have struggled with playing on a Thursday and then having to play on a Sunday," said Ashton, who spent three years at West Ham before injury curtailed a promising career in 2009. "That is going to be difficult and that's why it's important that the board back him and get a really deep squad, which they're going to need this season not only for the Premier League, but to see if they can go as far as possible in the Europa League and hopefully qualify early on." The signing of midfielder Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria just 24 hours Bilic's appointment bodes well, but more early additions should be a priority before the fixtures start piling up.

Add creativity

Ashton also believes West Ham are in urgent need of more creativity from the midfield areas. Opta stats show Stewart Downing created 85 chances last season – the fourth-most among Premier League players – but their next-biggest creator was Mark Noble way down on 45.
"In defensive areas they are OK," Ashton added. "It's just the injury problems in central defence have been a really big issue. [Winston] Reid, [James] Tomkins and [James] Collins haven't had a whole season without injury, so that's been a real problem. "But for me, what they need has got to be on the creative midfield side, or a winger to create something for the forwards. I think that's what West Ham have lacked in recent years, that player who can thread a pass and produce a bit of magic to set the forwards going."

Co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan hoped Argentinian Mauro Zarate would provide that flair when he arrived on a free transfer last summer, but an upgrade is required after he failed to make an impact in east London.

Find a reliable goalscorer

Of course, creating chances is no good if you can't put them away, which brings us to the next point. Diafra Sakho enjoyed a promising start to his West Ham career with eight goals in his first 10 games, but he only found the net four times in 16 appearances after that.

And Ashton feels the Hammers need to find a more consistent goalscorer. "You want a man up there who is going to almost guarantee you 25 goals a season," he said. "I know it's very difficult, but if they can find a player who can consistently be fit and find the back of the net, then that's going to be vital."

Injury-plagued record signing Andy Carroll only managed 16 appearances last season and Ashton, who knows the pain of being sidelined, admits the Hammers can no longer count on him. "No offence to Carroll, but you can't pin your hat on him at the moment with his injury record," he said. "It's not his fault, but at the same time they have to look at the squad and their striking options knowing that Andy might not be fully fit at the start of the season."

One striker who could fit the bill is Chelsea's Loic Remy. The Frenchman scored 14 goals in 26 appearances for Newcastle in 2013/14 and last season only three players with five or more starts in the Premier League scored more regularly than his rate of a goal every 120 minutes.

Aim high

"I think to finish in the top half of the Premier League is a must for a club like West Ham now." That was Ashton's verdict on what would constitute a successful first season in charge for the Croatian, and Bilic seems to agree. "The ambition is to try to be top 10 definitely and then improve on that," he said. "First season, if we can finish eighth, ninth or 10th. 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."

As Allardyce found out, West Ham are not content with simply avoiding relegation, and Ashton feels Bilic should also be aiming for a successful Europa League run. "They have to be pushing for that top half of the table, and obviously to have a good run in the Europa League if they can. "It's great to be in it, it's a wonderful competition and you can't beat having European teams come to the Boleyn in the last season it's going to be there."

Slaven Bilic targets top 10 for West Ham and Champions League 'in a few seasons'
Last Updated: 10/06/15 10:21am

Slaven Bilic's ambition at West Ham is to get the club into the Premier League top 10 in his first season in charge. And the Croatian, who was appointed as Sam Allardyce's successor at Upton Park on Tuesday, feels confident he can take some silverware to the east London club. Bilic signed a three-year contract to replace Allardyce this week having left Turkish club 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 has laid out some ambitious targets as a manager – including securing Champions League football within 'a few seasons'. Next year's move to the Olympic Stadium, Bilic feels, will help ensure such targets are met.
"I've been in football a long time and wherever you go the ambition is sky high," he told the West Ham website. "But with West Ham, I found the ambitions to be realistic and the ambition is right. "The ambition is to try to be top 10 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."

Although he only made 55 appearances as a West Ham player before a transfer to Everton, Bilic feels he has a strong bond with the supporters and sees it as an honour to be the club's manager for their final season at Upton Park. "It's a privilege," he added. "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."

By Iain Dale 10 Jun 2015 at 09:16
West Ham Till I Die

So now that the dust has settled on the appointment of Slaven Bilic as the fifteenth manager of West Ham (Watford have had five in the ast 12 months) there are a number of questions which we might all have a go at answering…

1. Who will be his assistant?

Modern day managers usually have an entourage who follow them from club to club. I read somewhere that he wants his assisant to be his former number two at Besiktas, whose name escapes me. David Sullivan is quoted as saying: "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." That could of course mean any number of people, although I suspect Steve Potts and Julian Dicks would figure high on anyone's list.

2. What formation will he play?

Can anyone shed any light on this? I'd imagine he's a 4-4-2 man, but of course under Harry he often played in a 3-5-2 with wing backs.

3. Which new players will be brought in?

I'm told his top priority is a right back. Well I hope the Board will persuade him of the merits of Carl Jenkinson. My only concern is that all the players mentioned so far are from Croatia and Turkey. Fair enough as far as it goes, but I for one do not want to watch a team entirely made up of foreign players. That may make me old fashioned, but Bilic is well aware of our traditions and I hope he will only be signing outstanding players from abroad. One very exciting foreign signing would be that of former Manchester City striker Negredo, who is available from Valencia for around £20 million. He's 29 and only scored 6 goals last season so might be seen as a risk. More HERE. Loic Remy is another player apparently on the radar. I've always rated him, but he's a player who has turned us down a couple of times in the past. However, a swap deal involving Enner Valencia would be a good deal if we could get at least £6 million as well.

4. Which existing players will he sell?

I'd have thought Andy Carroll to Newcastle may be back on the cards. I've no idea if Bilic likes a big man up front. If not, Carroll may be toast. Kevin Nolan is another who might return north I suppose. Other than them, and possibly Valencia, I wouldn't expect to see wholesale departures, especially as we will need a bigger squad if we're taking the Europa Cup seriously.

Moncur: "Don't ever mess with honest Slav"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 10, 2015 in Green Street Parade, Whispers

Slaven Bilic's former team-mate John Moncur has just one word to sum up his feelings on the club's new manager: "Perfect."

Moncs was part of the 1996-97 team of which the Croat became such an essential defender and said: "He bought into the club from Day One and is very much part of the West Ham Way.

"I used to love playing in front of Slav because although he would deal with situations when needed by clearing first time, he was technical and very good on the ground.

"He loved to bring the ball out from the back and set things up and that let me play my game. It's very West Ham in style. It's going to be fun at Upton Park again."

Moncs also revealed that Slav has always been a brilliant operator in the dressing room and that his knowledge of the game is immense.

He said "People are saying it was a risk to change from Sam Allardyce but I see it the other way. There's less risk of us being relegated under Slav than there would have been under Sam. We were a seriously poor team towards the end of the season."

Slav will keep us in the division – of that I am absolutely sure and he'll be providing the sort of football us West Ham people want. I'm excited and really looking forward to meeting up with him again.. I think he was the perfect choice."

Moncs also believes that youth will get a much bigger chance than it did under the last manager adding: "Slav knows all about the academy and what it means to West Ham.

He said: "He will have looked at what's happened at Southampton and knows that we are a bigger club than them and with a rich history of bringing through out own kids.

"He knows what's expected. He was quick to absorb the club's history and became one of the boys very quickly. We will be seeing the real West Ham again under Slav and it feels great."

And his biggest quality?

Moncs replies immediately: His honesty…he tells you exactly what he thinks and is as straight as a die. But don't mess with him because he can deal with that.Trust me.

"I had a little fall out with him once and a little wrestle. Err never again."

West Ham legends to join Slaven entourage
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 10, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham Chairman David Sullivan has told the club's official TV channel that a few West Ham legends will form part of Slaven Bilic's backroom team.

Sullivan told West Ham TV "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."

If you can't beat them join them
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 10, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham have taken the slightly unusual step of creating their own ITK (In the Know) called the 'Boleyn Insider'

The new feature on the club's official website says the Boleyn Insider blog promises to bring you the latest gossip from around the Club and the major transfer speculation surrounding the first-team.

In the first blog the Boleyn insider says:

'I understand that the Club have made a multi-million pound offer for a top French international and they should know within a few days if the bid has been accepted or not."I have also heard the Hammers were looking at another top striker from Africa who is rated one of the best strikers in France but it has been reported that he may opt to join another Premier League club."I also believe that our first major signing of the summer will be arriving at the Club this afternoon following a medical'
So just to translate that, there is speculation that the top French International is Lois Remy or André-Pierre Gignac, the top Africa striker is Andre Ayew who appears to be joining Swansea and the first major signing of the summer arriving this afternoon is of course Pedro Obiang. Thanks Boleyn Insider!

Exclusive: Gold talks Bilic
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 10, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

David Gold doesn't believe any Irons fan will criticise himself or David Sullivan for shooting at the top when starting their search for a new Hammers boss.

Having said that he's delighted to have Slaven Bilic at the helm as the club looks towards the most important season in many years.

He said: "We were all in the right place at the right time.".

DG – in an exclusive interview with ClaretandHugh -made it clear that in the Croatian former defender the club has employed one of the most impressive men he'd met in several years.

He said: "We started at the very top and I don't think any fan will criticise us for that. The top guys come with a greater guarantee of success but when for various reasons they weren't available there was no sense of Slaven Bilic being among a second tier.of candidates.

"It was very clear at the interview this was a man of great charisma. He's a big guy in every sense of the word. He knows the club and has a West Ham experience – that ticked a very important box. He's one of the most impressive men I've met in several years."

DG added "It was clear he knew what we wanted. He had done his homework and it became clearer and clearer that he was the man for us."

DG revealed that next season's expectation is the top ten and that although "settling in time" is considered an issue by some, as far as he and David Sullivan was concerned it was all systems go from the start.

He said: "He's a manager. He knows the expectations and the top ten is mine. From there we go to the Olympic Stadium and push on for honours – Europe and the rest.

"We have our man. We believe he will be here for several years or beyond and become a top Premier League manager."

Barcelona starlet linked with Hammers
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 10, 2015 in Whispers

According to the Guardian, Slaven Bilic intends to secure the services of Barcelona B's Croatian starlet Alen Halilović on a season-long loan. Halilovic has been forced to play with the recently relegated B side last season, as there has been no place for him on the first team, but Bilic is willing to give the 18-year-old a chance to show if make the step up to the Premier League. Halilovic made 30 appearances for Barcelona B last season, scoring four goals.

Lampard: 'I have no problems with Irons fans now'
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 10, 2015 in The Boleyn Way, Whispers

Frank Lampard has made it clear he doesn't have a problem with Irons fans. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "I did when I first left for a few years, they thought I had just gone to a rival. I was being accused at that age of getting a leg up from my uncle (Harry Redknapp) and my dad. They were a huge part of my upbringing and I have huge respect for them." "There were negatives and positives with working under you uncle and your dad but they both stuck up for me when I was getting stick from West Ham fans. "I moved on to become very much a Chelsea man." "I was really upset after that fans forum, but Harry defended me and in the end it spurred me on. I have doubted myself throughout my career, and had a fear of failure. I grew up a West Ham fan, lived near the training ground but Chelsea was a big move."

Three transfer targets for Bilic
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 10, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

The Daily Express have wasted no time in suggesting Slaven Bilic has already identified three summer transfer targets. The paper claims he will make Chelsea striker Loic Remy one of his first targets in a potential £25million transfer spending spree. French striker Remy, rated at £8m, has become frustrated at being confined to the bench at Chelsea behind Diego Costa and is top of the list of strikers Bilic wants according to the tabloid. They also say the Croatian also wants two of his old Besiktas players – £5m winger Ghokan Tore, and £8m attacking midfielder Olcay Sahan – to join him at West Ham. Bilic is currently on a family holiday in Croatia before he formally starts work with the Hammers.

Ravel wants to manage West Ham one day
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 10, 2015 in Whispers

Former Hammer Ravel Morrison say he wants to manage West Ham one day and take them to the champions. The 22 year old is about to join Lazio pre season training after signing a pre-contract back in January.

Speaking on his official twitter following the announcement of Slaven Bilic as the 15th Manager Morrison wrote:

"One day I would Love to manage WestHam and take them to the Champions league.."

Ravel also wrote a message directly to Chairman David Gold saying "What (do you) think about giving me the managers Job in 20 years.. Just have a think don't rush your decision.."

Slav backs Jenks moves
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 10, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

Slaven Bilic wants Carl Jenkinson back at West Ham next season. The new Hammers boss is a fan of the Arsernal defender who is in limbo right now as he waits to discover what the Gunners intend to do with him next term. Slav wants the right back position sorted quickly and is happy for the Irons negotiators to get to grips with the deal be it on a permanent basis or a loan. Arsene Wenger said a few weeks ago that he didn't want to sell Jenks and that the pair would need to talk about what was to happen next season. We were told by a Hammers insider: "We need that position filled very quickly and the new manager likes Jenks . The club is doing its best to sort something out and are aware that he went back to the Emirates at the end of the season a better player than when he arrived here. "Like every player his game improved with regular first team football and it's unlikely he or Arsene Wenger will want him sitting in the reserves. "It would be an ideal scenario to have him back on a season-long loan and it's a view shared by our new manager."

West Ham sign £4.3m Pedro Obiang and turn attention to Yohan Cabaye
Paris Saint-Germain have offered France international Cabaye to Upton Park club as fellow midfielder Obiang signs four-year deal
By Matt Law7:34PM BST 10 Jun 2015

West Ham United have completed the signing of midfielder Pedro Obiang and are considering whether to join the race to land Yohan Cabaye.
Obiang became the club's first signing since Slaven Bilic was appointed manager after moving from Sampdoria for £4.3million and penning a four-year contract. West Ham have also been offered former Newcastle United midfielder Cabaye, who will be allowed to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer. Cabaye has already attracted the interest of his former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace, but the Hammers could yet decide to launch a bid for the Frenchman themselves. West Ham want to add more creativity to the squad and have missed out on the free transfer signing of Andre Ayew after Swansea City agreed to pay the winger £70,000-a-week. Cabaye wants to return to England, but much will depend on PSG's asking price and the 29-year-old's wage demands as to whether West Ham move forwards with a bid.
Obiang, who made 35 appearances for Sampdoria last season and scored three goals, said: "I'm very happy to have signed. We have been talking about this for a long time and now I've finally got the chance to come here. I went on holiday after the season had finished and I was looking forward to receiving that call to tell me where and when to sign for this club. "I'm very excited to play in the Premier League. It's a style of football that will help me to progress as a player and as a person. "I think Bilic is a manager that can do very well here. I know that he was a West Ham player and he did very well with the Croatian national team. He is a manager that likes to play good football and I really like that so I am sure that we will get along very well."

West Ham's co-owner David Gold made an embarrassing blunder over the identity of Obiang when welcoming the Spaniard on his personal Twitter account. Gold posted a message welcoming Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria – accompanied by a photo of Juventus centre-back Angelo Ogbonna. The tweet was later removed and Gold later uploaded another message, this time with a photograph of Obiang on the pitch at Upton Park holding a claret and blue scarf. Gold added: "I've just spoke to Pedro and he sounded v excited to be here. He promised me that he'd learn to sing Bubbles in less than a month! dg."

U's snap up former West Ham youngster
Gazette News
First published 5 hours ago in Colchester Utd
by Jonathan Waldron

Colchester United have signed teenager Kieron Bailey on a development contract. The 18-year-old midfielder has penned a development contract with the U's, following his release by West Ham United. Bailey spent the final few weeks of last season at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, as part of John McGreal's under-21 side. And he did enough to convince the U's to offer him a permanent deal to stay at the club. For all of the latest Colchester United news, see the Daily Gazette.

Tim Vickery suggests West Ham have dodged a bullet by not appointing Marcelo Bielsa
Lewis Doe

South American football expert Tim Vickery has suggested that Marcelo Bielsa's nature may have caused one or two issues at West Ham United. TalkSPORT's South American football expert Tim Vickery suggested West Ham have dodged a bullet when he was quizzed over one of the alternatives to Slaven Bilic for the Upton Park role; Marcelo Bielsa. Bilic was confirmed as West Ham's new manager yesterday, but Bielsa was one of the alternatives throughout the process, as West Ham looked for a man to come in and replace Sam Allardyce. Bielsa does have an impressive CV having managed Argentina and Chile in his career, but Vickery suggested that he was a bit of a control freak, which could have created friction between himself and West Ham's owners. "He reads everything and tries to understand everything to do with football, although you do doubt his sanity at times – He really is an absolute obsessive," he said. What the Hammers need as they look to progress before the move to the Olympic Stadium at Stratford is a settled and forward looking team. They need to play good football and they need to look unified in all areas of the club, because it's important the club can increase their support base by the time they switch stadiums. Bielsa would have had the team playing an entertaining brand of football, but Vickery seems to suggest that he has a flamboyant nature about him as manager, which is where an issue could have come up with the club's joint-chairmen.
In Bilic, West Ham know they have someone who communicates well and knows the football club having played for them before he hung up his boots. The debate over whether the Hammers have gone with the right man will likely roll on for the rest of the week, but Bilic is a common sense appointment and stands a very good chance of guiding the club to their aims without causing any issues along the way.

How Reece Burke could benefit most from Slaven Bilic at West Ham
Lewis Doe

Slaven Bilic could have a big impact on one key youngster as the manager of West Ham United. The dust is starting to settle after West Ham United confirmed on their website yesterday that Slaven Bilic has become their next manager. Bilic will link up with the Hammers when he returns from a family break, but the club's players will already be very excited and perhaps a little nervous as they compete for their positions under Bilic's entertaining style as the boss. One player who could be set to benefit more than some of his colleagues, is a player who has only just started to make his way into the game; Reece Burke. Burke has only had a taste of first team life under West Ham, used in the first team by former manager Sam Allardyce last season. Burke, like Bilic, is a defensively minded player and he's someone who embodies what it means to graduate from the club's historic youth team and into the senior ranks. He's playing at a club where there are some very experienced and very high profile players and he's definitely someone that Bilic could look to take under his wing. There will be the opportunity for the pair to work closely together, with Bilic a good individual for Burke to look to as he looks to fine tune various areas of his game. His positional sense, his intelligence and his aggression are all things, which should develop nicely under the guidance of the club's new manager. Bilic is also well suited to taking Burke under his wing in terms of the criticism and pressure, which can come hand in hand with top flight football. He's coached at international level, where the exposure and scrutiny on players is far more intense and he's coached at Besiktas, a cult club with one of the most passionate, and critical, sets of fans in the world.
Burke is still a very young and raw player and he is going to make mistakes while Bilic works to develop various areas of his game. It's vital that when he makes those errors and fans start to get a little bit disgruntled, that the boss steps in and provides that bit of protection which will make all the difference.

New West Ham boss Slaven Bilic boasts strong record vs English sides
Che Thomas

The Croatian and his Besiktas side impressed in several matches against Premier League opposition last season. New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic played six matches against Premier League opposition while at Besiktas, all of which came in his final season in Istanbul. And from those fixtures, Hammers supporters should be optimistic about what their former player can bring next season. Though the Turkish giants qualified for the Europa League in the 2013-14 season, Bilic's first at the club, they were ejected from European competition because of the 2011 Turkish sports corruption scandal. However, the Croatian certainly got his fair share of ties against English opposition last season. After gaining entry to the Champions League because of Fenerbahce's role in the scandal, Besiktas were drawn against Arsenal in the qualifying round. The Black Eagles drew 0-0 at the Olympic Stadium, and were desperately unlucky to slip to a 1-0 loss at the Emirates that put them into the Europa League. There, Bilic's side proved their performances against the Gunners weren't a fluke. Besiktas were drawn in the same group as Tottenham, with both sides having very similar records for much of the stage. However, in the games against the Londoners, Besiktas came out on top. Firstly, they secured a deserved late draw at White Hart Lane, former Hammer Demba Ba levelling with a penalty but Spurs having to rely on several saves from Hugo Lloris. They then won the return fixture in Turkey 1-0, ensuring top spot in the group. In the knockout stages, Besiktas would go on to dispatch of Liverpool, who had come down from the Champions League. They initially lost at Anfield, but then won 1-0 in the home tie, and were unlucky to have to go to penalties to win the tie. Thus, against three of the top six Premier League teams, Bilic boasted a record of two won, two drawn, and two lost. In their corresponding fixtures last season, West Ham won just once, at home to Liverpool, drawing away to Spurs, losing both matches to Arsenal, as well as the home game with Spurs and away match to Liverpool. Given Bilic's tendency to inspire his team to do well against English opposition, even in the narrow defeats Besiktas suffered last season, and not forgetting the famous 3-2 win at Wembley he inspired Croatia to, West Ham's new season could be a good one.

A predicted West Ham United side for next season under Slaven Bilic
Lewis Doe

West Ham United could have a very exciting team under new manager Slaven Bilic next season. The dust has started to settle on Slaven Bilic's appointment as West Ham United manager, which is undoubtedly a positive move for the Hammers looking ahead to next season.
Regardless of whether Bilic was the first choice of the club, he is an experienced coach who has the skillset needed to take the side forward and someone who knows all about the history of the club. The Hammers have already been linked with some exciting players in the transfer market following Bilic's appointment, which could give them a very exciting team next season. We've attempted to name the team, which could start under Bilic when the Premier League returns based on current players and potential signings who could come in. Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Obiang, Noble, Halilovic, Valencia, Downing, Remy

The Guardian has reported that two potentially exciting new arrivals are midfielder Alen Halilovic of Barcelona and striker Loic Remy from Chelsea. Halilovic is being tipped to join on a loan deal from the Barcelona B team while Remy would be a top quality attacking addition and could get into the side ahead of Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll. There is also the chance that new signing Pedro Obiang could slot straight into the side, after the club announced his arrival on a four-year deal from Sampdoria. There could be a problem at right-back, but the Daily Mail has reported that Arsenal could be willing to loan him out for another season, which has to be an option that Bilic will look at considering the way he performed at Upton Park last season. There are also good experienced and youthful options in James Collins and Reece Burke to provide options through the middle of the defence. Whoever Bilic brings in over the summer, it's important to remember that there is a good core of players in all positions, who will be determined to make up for the inconsistency the side showed over the second half of last season.

West Ham's board don't have to be reckless with the club's spending, just sensible, with the right additions where Bilic feels there are gaps to be filled.

Redknapp backs Bilic to succeed at West Ham

Former West Ham boss Harry Redknapp has backed the club's new manager, Slaven Bilic, to succeed at Upton Park. Bilic has replaced Sam Allardyce in East London, with fans hoping for a more vibrant style of play from the Croatian. During the 1990s Bilic played under Redknapp at West Ham, a period which made the Croatian a cult hero. "Sam did a great job but it seemed whatever he did was never good enough for a lot of the fans. Slaven comes in as a popular figure and it is a big advantage for him to come in knowing the fans will give him a great welcome when he arrives. "The fans like him there, I think he will be a very popular new manager at West Ham. I was sad to see Sam go, he did a good job but they have got a decent group of players for Slaven to work with and the thought of going into a new stadium is good for them and I'm sure he will do well. "He is a bit of a lad! He smokes about 80 fags a day, plays guitar in a pop-rock group and is a real character - but he really knows his football. "It wouldn't surprise me if he brought in a few old faces back in there, one or two of the lads he played with. He might use them on the coaching side, it is just one of the feelings I have got."

Loic Remy to West Ham: New Hammers' manager Slaven Bilic wants to make £8m Chelsea striker first signing
Bilic was confirmed as West Ham manager yesterday
Wednesday 10 June 2015
The Independent

Slaven Bilic is aiming to make Chelsea striker Loic Remy his first signing as West Ham manager, according to reports. Remy is valued at £8m, and has become frustrated at being confined to the bench behind first-choice Blues' striker Diego Costa, a report in the Daily Express has claimed. The 28-year-old Remy signed for Chelsea last summer, and scored seven goals in 21 Premier League appearances for the club last season. Bilic was confirmed as the new West Ham manager yesterday, replacing Sam Allardyce.

The Croatian had an 18-month spell playing for the Hammers from January 1996. Bilic, who parted company with Besiktas at the end of last season, was reported to have been interviewed about the vacancy last weekend, with the likes of Rafael Benitez, Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelo Bielsa, Michael Laudrup and Unai Emery all said to have been under consideration.
"I'm really glad to be back with West Ham United," Bilic said. "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."

Crocked West Ham duo return early to pre-season training as Slaven Bilic jets off
London 24
11:37 10 June 2015
Brad Pinard

West Ham striker Andy Carroll and defender James Collins are both back at Chadwell Heath already preparing for the new season. Bilic has jetted off on holiday though, set to officially start work in east London on June 22, the same day as the Hammers will find out their first Europa League opposition. The first qualifying round takes place just ten days later and so the squad and Bilic will only have that time to gel and find a formula good enough to progress. A heft pre-season schedule too means the Hammers will be busy and injured players will have plenty of games to get their fitness up. Carroll missed the majority of last season with an ankle injury Collins was absent for the final few weeks, but played a major role in the squad throughout the campaign.

Former West Ham star Demba Ba congratulates old boss Slaven Bilic on his new job
Damien Lucas

Former West Ham United striker Demba Ba has congratulated his old boss Slaven Bilic on landing the job to succeed Sam Allardyce in East London. Ba, who scored seven goals in 12 games for the Hammers, has taken to Twitter to wish the club's newly appointed manager Slaven Bilic well. The 30-year-old striker was signed by Bilic for Besiktas last year and went on to score 18 goals in 29 games for the Turkish side. Bilic departed the club at the end of the Super Lig season and was announced as West Ham's new boss on Tuesday. The news went down well with his former striker, who has been linked with his own return to London at Crystal Palace by TalkSport, and he has posted a message to the former Croatia boss online. Tweeting out a link to the West Ham website's official announcement, Ba said: "Congrats boss. All the best in your new challenge!"

Aside from the fact they worked together at Besiktas, Ba and Bilic's time in East London share a number of similarities. Bilic quickly become a fans' favourite with his passionate and skilful defensive displays for the Irons, but just when Hammers fans had taken him to their hearts he left the club for Everton in pursuit of "a better chance to win trophies." Ba was signed by the Hammers in the January transfer window of 2011 with the club staring relegation in the face under the hapless Avram Grant. He too wasted little time endearing himself to the West Ham faithful, scoring seven goals in 12 games. But it was to end in tears as the Hammers were relegated on the final day and Ba departed for Newcastle United shortly after. The Paris-born Senegal star had proved a steal for co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold as they signed him on a pay as you play basis due to knee problems picked up during a medical at Stoke City a few weeks before. There were clearly no ill-effects, though, as he almost single-handedly saved the Hammers from relegation to the Championship. He would later play for West Ham's London rivals Chelsea before his move to Turkey, flourishing under Bilic.

Slaven Bilic wasting no time with West Ham revolution as club set sights on Obiang
Evening Standard
Published: 10 June 2015 Updated: 11:22, 10 June 2015

West Ham have wasted no time in strengthening their squad under new manager Slaven Bilic. Spanish midfield player Pedro Obiang is expected to complete a £4.3 million move from Sampdoria today while the Upton Park club have also targeted what a source described as: "A top striker from France." Bilic, who is on a family holiday in his native Croatia, has already identified the central midfield and striking departments of his squad as priorities. West Ham already have three strikers - Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll - but the former Newcastle and Liverpool front man is still recovering from a long-term knee injury and is not certain to be fit for the start of next season. Bilic was today also in the process of appointing the rest of his coaching team. It is likely that fellow Croatians, Nikola Jurcevic and Aljosa Asanovic, who have worked with him both at international and club level, will be part of the new set-up at Upton Park.

Co-chairman David Sullivan also revealed that it is likely that Bilic, who played for the club from 1996-97, will also include "some West Ham legends" in his team. Steve Potts, who played in the same West Ham team as Bilic, is already a youth academy coach at the club while another former team-mate, Julian Dicks, currently manages the West Ham Ladies team. "I think he will bring a few of the West Ham legends to be part of his entourage," said Sullivan, "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 next season and do well in a cup competition."

West Ham favourite says in-demand QPR hotshot must be Bilic priority
London 2410:50 10 June 2015
Pete Evans

Charlie Austin should be Slaven Bilic's first signing at Upton Park, according to former Hammers favourite Dean Ashton.
In the Champions League as manager The QPR forward looks set for a move away from Loftus Road after relegation to the Championship but having smashed in 18 goals during his first season in the Premier League he looks set to be in demand this summer. Tottenham, Southampton and Newcastle have all been linked with the former Burnley forward, currently with Roy Hodgson's England squad ahead of their match this Sunday. And former West Ham striker Ashton believes recruiting Austin should be a priority for Bilic as the Croat settles into life back in England. "If it was me, I'd go out straight away and put the money down for Charlie Austin," Ashton told talkSPORT. "He's scored 18 goals in a team that was struggling. I know what it's like to play in teams where you're not playing every week, and it's tough. You only get few chances and he's so clinical."

West Ham close in on £5million deal for Sampdoria star Pedro Obiang
By talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) | Wednesday, June 10, 2015

West Ham are close to signing Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang for £5million. The Hammers have been trailing the Spanish Under-21 star all season, and new boss Slaven Bilic has now sanctioned the deal to bring Obiang to Upton Park. The 23-year-old became an integral part of the Blucerchiati side who finished seventh in Serie A last season. Obiang has been tracked by clubs in Italy and Spain where he progressed through the academy system at Atletico Madrid before moving to Sampdoria aged 16. The Spaniard has represented his country at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level but yet to gain a senior cap and will hope his move to east London will boost his chance to make the breakthrough at senior level.

West Ham United are reportedly keen to bring Chelsea striker Loic Remy to the club
Evening STandard

West Ham United are targeting Chelsea forward Loïc Rémy as Slaven Bilic prepares to make his first signing, it is claimed. According to reports in the Guardian, the Hammers want to convince the Frenchman to leave Stamford Bridge with a promise of more first team football. The ex-Queens Park Rangers man made just six starts in the Premier League for Jose Mourinho's championship winners last season, but would be more valued as a player at Upton Park. Bilic was named West Ham manager yesterday and the Croatian may also attempt to capture fellow countryman Alen Halilovic who could be available on loan from Champions League winners Barcelona. The midfielder made 30 appearances for the Spanish side's B team last season and also has seven caps for his country.

Neil Warnock: West Ham have gone for an 'easy solution' in Bilic
Lewis Doe

Former Premier League manager Neil Warnock has suggested that West Ham have taken an easy decision by appointing Slaven Bilic as manager. Former Leeds United and Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock told talkSPORT he feels West Ham have gone for the easy option with Slaven Bilic as manager. Warnock was pressed over whether he thought Bilic was the club's first job for the position and Warnock has suggested that co-chairman David Gold and David Sullivan simply went for a popular figure with the club's fans. "I would imagine so (not first choice) – You know what the Davids are like, they'll both have their opinions but the easiest solution is Bilic for the fans," he said. It's important for any club to have a strong connection between their manager and the fans, because it improves the identity of the football club as a whole. However, it's important not to lose sight of what Bilic brings to the table as a coach for West Ham and as someone who can drive the team forward effectively over the next few seasons. He has good experience in recent jobs with Croatia and Turkish side Besiktas, which means he's suited to a certain level of pressure and expectation. It also shows that he's used to getting the most out of a specific group of players who are diverse in terms of what they offer as players and how they behave away from the pitch in normal life. The delay over his appointment is most likely because West Ham's owners wanted to make sure they got their man without any difficulties or complications from another team looking to poach him away. They can't be blamed for being careful and taking their time, but Bilic is a sensible appointment rather than an easy one because other options didn't work out.

West Ham manager Bilic after Manchester City target Gokhan Tore
Posted by Eren Sarigul June 10, 2015

West Ham United's newly appointed manager Slaven Bilic has set his sights on Besiktas' Gökhan Töre according to NTVSpor. The former Chelsea youth was a key member of Bilic's Besiktas squad last season which performed well both in Europe and finished third in the Turkish Super Lig. Manchester City are also reported to be preparing a €7 million bid for the Beşiktaş winger according to NTVSpor. Atletico Madrid are also set to make a move for Töre according to the Spanish newspaper AS. The former Chelsea man is in the best form of his career. The Turkish international winger has nine goals and 11 assists in all competitions for the Black Eagles this season. The Turkish international put on impressive performances against Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool in Europe and included in the Whoscored Europa League team of the season. The explosive winger joined the Black Eagles from Kazan for £4 million this summer and still has three-years left on his contract.

Why West Ham boss Slaven Bilic could find himself in charge of the next Manchester City
Evening Standard
Published: 10 June 2015 Updated: 12:50, 10 June 2015
Dillon's view

Slaven Bilic made a clever appeal to the sense of identity which typifies West Ham United's supporters when he was appointed as their new manager. He described them as "a cult club."
Could they soon become one of the biggest outfits in the game and financially challenge the biggest names of the Premier League and Europe, however? Could they overtake Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the frantic London hierarchy? There has been a lot of anger among rival supporters and a widespread feeling of injustice at other clubs about the Hammers' move into the Olympic Stadium next year. Amid the fury about what is to happen imminently – after one final season at the old Boleyn Ground – there has been little attention paid to what might happen in the years after the "transfer" to Stratford. Put frankly, West Ham have the potential to be the next Manchester City, a place which was transformed by a take-over by the endlessly wealthy rulers of Abu Dhabi. There are huge similarities.

Arguments about the relative "bigness," - or size - of one's club compared to others are a fundamental part of the tribally intense way football is followed these days. Marketeers even carry out surveys to define this new quality in terms of "brand value." West Ham, who are fourth in the current London standings defined by this particular measure, could be about to turn the whole ceaseless debate on its head. Here's why. City were once a middle-ranking, non-threatening "people's club," with a large, loyal but clearly-defined fan base and a tradition of success receding into the mists of time. They were the West Ham of the North. And vice-versa. Then the money arrived in 2008 after they moved into a new stadium built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Come 2016-17, provided they maintain their Premier League status, West Ham, in essence, will be in the same position as were City just before the buy-out. In fact, one magic word makes them an even more attractive future proposition – London. The owners have already put in place a new club badge which will feature the name of the city in bold letters, thereby tapping straight into a rich vein of global marketing fuel which all of the capital's major clubs would surely love to be filling up on themselves. This is what makes Bilic's job such an important one. West Ham are at a cross-roads, one of the most critical approached by any English club in recent times. A survey published this week by the strategy consultants Brand Finance placed West Ham 16th in terms of worldwide brand value. It surprised me they were that high. But then that's the power of the Premier League, I guess. This report placed Manchester United at its top, with Manchester City fourth and Chelsea fifth, ahead of the new European Champions Barcelona. Arsenal, are seventh, Liverpool eighth and Spurs 10th. This is really important stuff. Football is the world's greatest marketing vehicle. The big clubs will be turbo-propelled into a new era of financial competition by it.

Meanwhile, many rival fans, incensed by the granting of the stadium to West Ham as what many see as a virtual "freebie," are desperate for the Hammers move to the Olympic Stadium to be blighted by another relegation. Not a fanciful wish that, given their chequered past. If it works out, however, there will surely be any number of hugely wealthy foreign buyers who would be attracted by the idea of purchasing a club in London with its own new ground, a tradition to sell and a vast potential for expanding attendances and commercial and match-day revenue.
Make no mistake about the importance of the London factor in all this. The city has resumed its place at the centre of the commercial, artistic and creative world. Foreign money is pouring in. Beyond this, in pure football terms, the relaxation of UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules could make the idea of buying West Ham even more attractive to a multi-billionaire, a corporation or a nation like Abu Dhabi. Then there are the billions of the Premier League's TV deal to lure them, too, with plenty more to come, it seems.

Alternatively, even if the current owners, David Sullivan and David Gold stayed put, this move will create huge potential for expansion and perhaps an assault on the top six and a Champions League place. Stratford itself, with its glittering Westfield shopping centre and its fabulous transport links, is a part of the package. Other clubs have big plans too, of course. Tottenham's planned new stadium will vastly increase their commercial power. Arsenal have blazed this trail already by moving to the Emirates and, by rights, the finanacial benefits should soon be driving them on to greater things than their two recent FA Cup triumphs. Chelsea, elevated globally by Roman Abramovich's billions, have stadium plans too and are determined to become self-financing – if on a vast, worldwide scale. West Ham have the potential to join all three in the Financial top 10. The European Cup has been won only once by a London club – Chelsea in 2012. In the money game, though, the city may be about to become hugely powerful in the East as well as the West.


This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

No comments: