West Ham’s Bilic Appointment Is Uninspiring And Risky!


West Ham United have announced that Croat Slaven Bilic would be taking over as their new manager.

Bilic was the obvious choice as soon as he announced he was quitting Besiktas last month.

But unfortunately the West Ham PR department or the media seemed to jump the gun and teased West Ham supporters that the likes of Rafa Benitez, David Moyes, Unai Emery, Carlo Ancelotti or Jurgen Klopp could be persuaded to join the London club.

So when Bilic was finally given the job, it all seemed a bit anti-climatic.

You get the feeling that the owners of the club like portraying it as a bigger team than they actually are at the moment. While there is nothing wrong with strong ambitions, those ambitions have to be realistic too. By allowing such illustrious names to be linked with the club, they set themselves up for a fall and become a bit of a laughing stock.

The same thing happened during last January’s transfer window. Co-Chairman David Gold tweeted “Don’t go to bed” with an hour remaining before the window shut. Then when no news of a signing came in he had to tweet:

“Sorry for keeping you up late, but at the last moment the main deal collapsed and the rest folded like a pack of cards. I’d like to thank David Sullivan and Sam [Allardyce] for their efforts to secure new players during this window.”

It was amateur hour at best!

West Ham would be best served just going about their business and then announcing things when deals are done. It is a simple method that seems to be alien to most football clubs these days!

Obviously it’s not Slaven’s fault that he isn’t one of the other guys with stronger CVs.

You can see why he would appeal to the board.

Firstly he is a former Hammer himself. David Sullivan and Mr Gold will see that link as a way of creating a closer bond with the fans, at a key time in their history. The West Ham faithful were never too keen on the Sam Allardyce appointment, so seeing one of their ‘own’ in the dug-out could be seen as a boost.

Bilic also impressed with the Croatian national team during his six years in charge of Vatreni. He allowed the Croatian’s to play with a great amount of freedom and that was backed up with good defensive discipline. During his stint with Croatia they made it to two European Championships. They would impress in both but didn’t make it past the quarter final stage.

While Slaven did do a fantastic job with his national team, you cannot forget that he had the likes of Luca Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Ivica Olic at his disposal. But if he can get the Hammers playing a high tempo, fine passing and offensive style like he had at Croatia, then he could take West Ham in the right direction.

At forty-six years of age, many of the Hammer’s board will be hoping that Bilic can bring in an exciting brand of football and help take the club forward as they prepare to move into London’s Olympic stadium in 2016.

But the move to bring in Bilic still represents a big risk for West Ham.

Now obviously every new managerial appointment comes with a risk.

But since leaving the Croatian national team in 2012, when Bilic’s stock was at it’s highest, his managerial performances at Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas haven’t been great.

His time in Russia was a disaster. His signature was seen as a real coup, yet he only lasted a year in the Russian capital. He failed to make a smooth transition between managing his nation to managing a club. It seemed like his players couldn’t stay motivated or focused throughout a season. His only campaign in Russia ended with Lokomotiv finishing ninth in the league, which was their worst position in twenty-three years.

His time in Turkey wouldn’t be as bad, but he didn’t really pull up any trees either.

After a fairly big turnaround in squad personnel during his first season, the ‘Black Eagles’ would finish in third spot in the Turkish Super Lig with Slaven at the helm.

During his second season (this one) Bilic would again gain British press recognition after Besiktas secured wins over Liverpool and Tottenham in the Europa League.

In the Super Lig, Besiktas were riding high and topping the league with just over a month remaining. But then they collapsed and only secured one win in their last five fixtures and would fall to third in the league!

Now that kind of end of season collapse sounds a bit like the one Big Sam would have with West Ham this season, and look what happened there. It seems like Sam, Bilic didn’t have a Plan B to go to and couldn’t get that last push from his pool of players.

For me, Bilic still needs to show he is ready for the bigger games and can get the squad playing for a full season and not just in certain periods. West Ham need more consistency.

Slaven Bilic has always come across as a friendly coach, who has a great rapport with his team. I’d imagine he will try and get the West hame fanbase excited by his arrival.

He stated:

“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. So it is a privilege to be in charge of the team for its last season playing in a stadium they’ve played in for such a long time. It is a big responsibility to be manager and I hope I will prove [myself] to the board, players and fans. I will give my best and, together, we will achieve great things.”

The signings need to be right and they need to come in early.

The imminent arrival of Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria for a £4.4m fee could be a shrewd bit of business and set out the club’s intent early. The battling midfielder had a successful campaign in Serie A last term. The Spanish under 21 international’s eye for a pass and willingness to tackle should endear him to the West Ham faithful.

More need to arrive, with a better class of striker being most welcome. If they can persuade either Andre-Pierre Gignac or Loic Remy to join, then that would be a huge step forward and show other targets that they mean business this term.

Using the new managers knowledge of the Croatian and Turkish markets could prove lucrative for the London club too.

Bilic also has to get rid of all the deadwood that is currently filling up his squad. There are also a few players best described as ‘Allardyce types’ that need to be offloaded. You always need to create balance in a successful squad and selling can be just as important as buying during the summer transfer window.

All in all, appointing Slaven Bilic could be a solid move from Messrs Gold and Sullivan. He may just provide the fans with a brand of football that they can get behind. But a huge amount of players arriving and departing can knock a club off it’s course, it will take a strong and confident coach to oversee such a project.

I just hope it doesn’t all unravel as a spectacular failure. That’s the last thing West Ham United need as they look forward to that big move next summer!

5 Responses to “West Ham’s Bilic Appointment Is Uninspiring And Risky!”

  1. It was the media that named all these managers, the owners kept silent, complete nonsense story….

  2. “you cannot forget that he had the likes of Luca Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Ivica Olic at his disposal”

    You cannot forget we had Rooney, sterling, Sturridge, Gerrard and lampard at our disposal… just saying

  3. SLC – I did say the media in the article but I don’t think they made every link up.

    Danny – I wasn’t comparing Croatia to England, just that it was easier to play a nicer style with those players in your squad.

  4. Uninspiring ?????? Do you realise or understand just what we have been enduring for the past few years ??? You are someone who has no knowledge of West Ham my friend. Great signing and a no-brainer. Welcome home Slaven !!

  5. Spence55 – Uninspiring is in relation to those linked with the job. Obviously he has more backing than Sam did.

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