So the performance against Brighton on Friday was littered with problems, faults and errors. I don’t want to spend the whole article talking about them and probably will end up discussing it on the radio show.
In a nutshell it was dreadful and a performance like that has seen most fans now seem to turn against the manager, myself included. Now whilst you can argue the players need to take the ultimate responsibility, they do, but in modern football the buck always stops with the manager. You could also say that he should have been 100% fully backed by the club too and it hasn’t always felt like that but whatever is the case the situation isn’t good and for me and many others Slav’s time is now up.
In my opinion, and I will elaborate on this on the radio show, the training isn’t up to standards. I have heard this from multiple sources and many explayers have said this after leaving the club. Even players such as Reece Oxford and Robert Snodgrass who are technically still our players have commented. The players always look unfit and I would also question how effective in their role some of the backroom staff are. In the past you could always name West Ham’s coaches and assistant manager etc now I would really struggle to name anyone other than Julian Dicks and then I am not clear on his role either.
I also believe now that some players do not want to play for Bilic, again from what I have heard and what some players have said and there is clearly an issue with academy players being selected for squads too. This could explain why a lot of players look lost on the pitch, some unclear on their roles and unmotivated. Perhaps they do not respect or want to play for the manager anymore? I can only speculate but these issues seem more and more obvious as more confirm them.
I would also like to clarify my comments on Bilic offering to resign after the Newcastle game. I hadn’t intended for this to be public information as it seems wrong but it was already on social media so I confirmed it and it has gone viral. The offer of resignation never went to anyone senior it was in the dressing room at the end and why David Sullivan would not have heard of it happening. This information has been confirmed to me by a number of sources but apparently he said to the players “If you do not want to play for me, I need to walk” to which the players said they did and persuaded him to stay. Therefore Bilic saw that as the unity that he needed to continue, allegedly.
I feel for Bilic, I have defended him on social media and the radio show for ages now and I really want him to do well but Friday’s performance was very hard to defend and I think this is now felt by the board.
I think everyone feels it is time for him to go and that a new manager should be brought in but the managers that we would target have all made it clear they would rather move in the summer and that they do not want to walk out on their teams in the middle of a season. You have to admire their loyalty but question if we really did push out the financial boat would they really be that loyal? I know we like Mancini, he has been on the radar for a while as has Wagner of Huddersfield. Another manager who almost joined us in the past, before Real Madrid moved in, is Benitez but I think he doesn’t want to go until the summer and also has a large compensation figure which needs to be paid if he does go. Pellegrini is someone who I got wind of a while ago and had heard he was seriously under consideration. At this point he wasn’t even in the bookies list of potential managers and you could get 35-1 on him, then within a few weeks he went to 3-1 favourite. Other managers in the frame are Dyche of Burnley and Silva of Watford. The problem is none of them, at this point, want to join until the summer.
This means that we could look at a caretaker option for six months, whilst that might appeal to the club it might not appeal to potential managers. A simple search on transfer market website shows the managers that could fall into this category including old managers of ours: Redknapp, Pardew and Allardyce. I have been told that the first two are not wanted by the club and that Big Sam would not see our offer as appealing. There are many other names on the list, some quite appealing, but the chairmen are unsure that any of them are any better than the options we have and this includes academy manager Westley at this point. They will continue to explore these options and try to find a replacement but at this point no one stands out and no one is guaranteed to join.
This in effect means Slav is guaranteed a few more games whilst options are considered. He could win them and we would find ourselves back in the position again where he buys himself sometime and actually makes it all the way to the summer. I think the club are worried that there are genuinely no better options than Slav and that they hope he turns it around or that a really good candidate makes themselves clear. It is a very difficult and worrying situation for the club to be in and if anything changes I will update you.
We have former Hammer of the Year Matthew Etherington on the radio show this week who has previously been very pro Bilic, speaking about his new opinions and with inside knowledge of what is felt by some of the players, this should make a great show. I have deliberately held off my opinion and knowledge of Slav’s time at the club but will go into these in more details on the radio, I would also like to point out that the West Ham Way Pre Match event is selling very fast. Below is where you can get your tickets for the Danny Gabbidon event https://www.tickettailor.com/checkout/view-event/id/119305/chk/39ef