Top 10: Reasons Bilic got the boot at West Ham

Date published: Tuesday 7th November 2017 9:58

Slaven Bilic lost his job at West Ham on Monday before David Moyes – yes, David Moyes – was appointed today. But, aside from being a bit sh*t, why was Bilic let go.


10) ‘The last game of the Slaven Bilic era at West Ham was desperately typical of so much of their football since he was in charge, and showed exactly why he had to go. No plan, no organisation, no intelligence and no real fight.

‘It could just as easily have been the 3-0 home defeat to free-scoring Brighton and Hove Albion last month, the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool back in Stratford in May, the 4-0 or 5-0 hammerings by Manchester City last winter or the 5-1 to Arsenal 11 months ago. Both Arsenal and Manchester City, off the back of those games, rated Bilic’s West Ham as tactically the worst side in the Premier League’ – Jack Pitt-Brooke, The Independent


9) ‘Bilic was immensely popular at West Ham. His bosses liked him – “a delight to work with,” according to one senior figure – and were impressed with his candour when they interviewed him after Sam Allardyce’s departure in 2015, even though Rafa Benitez was their first choice before he joined Real Madrid. Yet Bilic’s team have been awful for 15 months. The defeat by Liverpool was the 10th time they have conceded at least three goals in a home game since moving to the unloved London Stadium’ –  Jacob Steinberg, The Guardian


8) ‘Fitness has been a source of friction going back to the start of last season. Bilic backed Miljenko Rak, his long-term fitness coach, when the West Ham owners first suggested changes in December. Some felt that Rak, at 70, could be helped by a younger man. The club believed that fresh faces with a big personality might spark a response to their poor form and address concerns about the fitness of the squad. When the club brought up the subject in the summer, Bilic declined the offer of new fitness coach.

‘West Ham have been concerned that they would have to make a change for some time and considered various managers this autumn. Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim manager and a rising star of German football, rejected interest and there was a conversation with Ronald Koeman after his departure from Everton. Other names considered included Rafael Benítez, who rejected West Ham before they appointed Bilic, as well as David Wagner, Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche and Roberto Mancini, the former Manchester City manager, who has been keen to return to the Premier League.

‘West Ham’s owners have long admired [Moyes’s] achievements at Everton and wanted to talk to him before they appointed Bilic but he did not want to leave Real Sociedad at the time. There is also a feeling among the West Ham hierarchy that Sunderland was a poisoned chalice for Moyes’ – Gary Jacob, The Times


7) ‘Italy striker ­Simone Zaza ­arrived last season on an expensive loan deal from Juventus. Unhappy and unmotivated, he severed his ties with Bilic and quit the Hammers for Valencia. This season Zaza is the second-highest scorer in La Liga behind Lionel Messi. The statistic has not been lost on the people who make the decisions at West Ham. How was it that Bilic was not able to get the best out of him?

‘How is it that Bilic can have a proven goalscorer such as Javier Hernandez in his side, yet fail to get the best out of him too?’ – Darren Lewis, The Mirror


6) ‘The problem is that Bilic is a short-term manager and soon enough the effects of his charisma and intelligence started to wear off. Players will not be in awe of a manager forever. The move from Upton Park to the London Stadium sucked much of the energy out of the club and he was always dealing with haphazard recruitment and an old, tired, bloated squad. And yet he was not entirely innocent in all this. He pulled out of a move for N’Golo Kante in 2015, and for Kelechi Iheanacho this summer when they desperately needed a striker. And it was Bilic who prioritised the signings of Gokhan Tore from Besiktas on loan and then Marko Arnautovic this summer. By the time David Sullivan was publicly undermining Bilic this summer over the failure to sign Renato Sanches or Grzegorz Krychowiak, as part of the ludicrous William Carvalho saga, the writing was on the wall’ – Jack Pitt-Brooke, The Independent


5) ‘There were constant reports over the training regime at West Ham and having seen it up close myself in Germany during pre-season, I can vouch that it certainly was not up to scratch. I saw first-team coach Edin Terzic taking part in all training sessions (why?) and Julian Dicks running shooting drills (again, why?)” – Sam Inkersole.

(What does qualify someone to run a shooting drill, incidentally?)


4) “The West Ham players – what type of players are you trying to sign? You’re a London club so you attract a certain type of player, paying big wages so they’ve taken a step down from a bigger club, a top four, top six club. There’s a reason why they left those bigger clubs. When you say they’re not trying, gutless, there’s a reason why they left those clubs because they have the talent, so when they go to a club like West Ham and it’s not going the right way do they not have that grit to get the results they need?

“Marko [Arnautovic] could turn it on the last year and the past few years. When he’s on it, he’s on it, but how many games did he did he do it over the course of the season? And would he do the other side of it and could he do it consistently? For me, it’s probably a good deal for Stoke. Then again, it’s a step up for Marko. He has to step up and has he done it? You’d say he hasn’t. But that seems the type of player they’ve got at the club, they won’t be digging in” – Jon Walters, Match of the Day Extra 2


3) ‘Figures showing his team have covered the least distance and made the fewest sprints in the Premier League this season have lent weight to concerns about a lack of intensity in training. There is a feeling within the first team that they were not worked hard enough in pre-season and that it is too late for them to drastically increase their fitness levels with the season in full swing’ – Jacob Steinberg, The Guardian, October 2017


2) ‘Players have been allowed to bring their children to training and it has led to concerns about whether they are showing the intensity that is needed to prosper in the Premier League’ – Dominic King, Daily Mail, Oct 2016


1) ‘His football lacked identity and style and he was too reliant on Manuel Lanzini’s invention. There was too much focus on motivation and not enough on tactics. A player who left in the summer was perplexed by Bilic’s speeches about playing with passion. Where, he wondered, was the level of detail he had experienced at his former club? Another defensive player was baffled by the way he was left exposed by the team’s shape out of possession. Defenders regressed and there is a belief within the squad that they are unfit. There have been too many soft tissue injuries and Bilic was damned by statistics showing that West Ham have covered the least distance and made the fewest sprints in the Premier League this season” –  Jacob Steinberg, The Guardian

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