Football

Gold backs Zola to bounce back

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David Gold believes it will only be a matter of time before Gianfranco Zola returns to top-flight management after the former West Ham manager severed all ties with the club on Thursday.

The League Managers Association confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Zola had reached a financial settlement with the Barclays Premier League club just under a month after he was sacked. Gold, who was not drawn into conflict with Zola during his spell in charge, insists that the amiable Italian will bounce back from the sacking by landing a top job soon.

"I'm delighted we've managed to come to an agreement with Franco," Gold told Press Association Sport. "I really do wish him the very best of luck. He's one of the nicest people in football that I have worked with and I'm sure he's got a future in management at the top level. I am sure that we'll see him about in football in no time at all."

Although he enjoyed a fine first season, guiding the club to a ninth-placed finish and earning a new four-year contract, the Hammers' struggle to avoid relegation and his fractious relationship with the club's hierarchy ultimately cost Zola his job.

Gold's partner David Sullivan was particularly scathing of the team's performance towards the end of Zola's tenure, describing the Hammers' display in their 3-1 home defeat to Wolves as "appalling".

Zola, who was linked with the Bordeaux manager's position before the Ligue 1 club appointed Jean Tigana last month, is looking forward to making a swift return to management.

"I am looking forward to finding a new challenge in the game and returning to management as soon as possible," the 43-year-old said.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at West Ham and I will always be very grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity to manage in the Barclays Premier League, especially at a club with such a great tradition in positive and attractive football.

"I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all of the players, staff and fans who supported me so well during my time at the club and I wish them every success for the future.

"I would also like to thank the League Managers Association for their support and hard work during the difficult period of my contract termination process."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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