Well, West Ham United chairmen messirs David Gold and Sullivan have appointed Slaven Bilic as the club’s new manager, so the saga can end for at least a year. But what will we get in a year’s time?
It takes time for a manager to instil his philosophy on a team unless you’re a Swansea City and have a framework ready for the next man then the next man then the next… Bilic doesn’t have that luxury.
Fans never took to Sam Allardyce right from the start, so even though he achieved the goals of the club and showed promise to deliver more this past season until that poor run from Christmas left them in 12th place, it was bound to end in cheers – cheers at the news of his parting.
Article continues below
You could say anyone would be a risk, including the great Jurgen Klopp as he has never managed in England before; but you would know that it was a risk worth taking considering what he has achieved with relatively little funding, and the way he has accomplished it. But Bilic is very much a gamble.
He has had three long-term jobs (plus a short spell at Hajduk Split where he managed 17 games, won 11, drew four and lost two – which is good) and the only reasonably successful stint was with the Croatian national team – which is essentially a part-time job.
Article continues below
He gained a reputation for fast, flowing, attacking football, but that was made a whole lot easier with the likes of Luka Modric, Niko Kranjčar and Vedran Ćorluka at his disposal.
It was after his six year stay with his homeland country ended that the clamour for him to come to Upton Park from fans began to take off. And it is this feeling that reasonates to this day pretty much based on the fact that he once played for West Ham. His spells in management from 2012 may as well have not happened.
Since the Croatia job he has had one season at Russian giants Lokomotiv Moscow where they only managed ninth position – their lowest finish in the Russian league since its formation in 1992 and a state that led to his sacking after only one season.
And in the two campaigns since, he has managed Besiktas to third place in both. But that is the least to be expected in Turkey when you’re managing one of the ‘Big Three’.
It appears that some people are blind to these things and only see a man who gave it his all in a West Ham shirt, even if it was only for one year before he left for Premier League rivals Everton.
That seems to be enough for some. It is this kind of blinkered outlook and thought process that makes many want to see Paolo di Canio return to the club in a managerial capacity, whether he does anything from now or not.
Bilic may do very well and I hope he does, but it sure is a risk. With Allardyce, The Hammers were pretty much guaranteed a spot in the Premier League come the 2016-17 season, hosting the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal to the Olympic Stadium as opposed to possibly greeting Burton Albion.
The Hammers should aim for more than simply avoiding relegation, but that, in the first place, is not a guarantee.