Slaven Bilic insists West Ham fans should appreciate what Sam Allardyce did for the club when he returns to Upton Park on Saturday.
Allardyce is braced for a mixed reception when he arrives in east London with Sunderland, having endured a fractious relationship with the Hammers faithful during his four years in charge.
Despite getting West Ham promoted at the first attempt and establishing them in the Premier League, Allardyce still managed to alienate some supporters.
The former Bolton and Blackburn chief’s style of play did not sit well with many claret and blue purists, while he branded sections of the fans “deluded” and “brainwashed” and even cupped his ears to the sound of boos from the stands following one unconvincing home victory over Hull.
However Bilic, who took over from Allardyce in the summer, insists his achievements should be respected and claims he laid many of the foundations for their success this season.
“They should appreciate that he did great for West Ham, first and foremost,” said Bilic.
“He took over West Ham in a moment when they were in the Championship and got them back straight away. He stabilised them in the Premier League and did an amazing job.
“The fans, and everyone connected with the club, should appreciate him.
“I don’t know what the fans think of him, but you can’t change the facts and the facts are in his favour, big time!
“Whoever says differently, then it’s not business, it’s personal. Sam did a great job here. He left me an organised training ground, some key players, he made my job a bit easier – and I appreciate it.
“Do I think he will get a warm reception? I think so, and I hope so.”