The one relationship – or two in West Ham’s case – that matter above all others inside a football club is that which exists between the manager and his chairman/men!
If that’s right, everything good will flow from it. If it’s not then all the three have ahead of them is trouble, with one possibly blaming the other when things go wrong.
That’s why David Gold, David Sullivan and Slaven Bilic have to ensure they are on exactly the same page before a deal is offered and accepted.
I remember several years ago when I was covering a particular area for a national newspaper being told the above by a well known manager who was living in the shadow of a former boss who ultimately returned to the club.
That didn’t work out and the events leading up to it were pretty horrendous from the inside and in the end things went dramatically wrong for everybody and the club.
The manager who was ultimately replaced explained to me: “I never had his full confidence and that’s the single most important thing in a club – the relationship between boss and chairman.”
So before there is any thought of slapping a contract in front of Slaven Bilic to become our next manager, the two Davids must be 100 per cent sure he is their man – nothing else will work. It’s the way it has to be or they are writing a recipe for disaster. He has to have their confidence.
Slav is very aware that he is not their first, second or even third choice and this morning David Gold gave a bizarre interview to West Ham TV when he said: “It would be lovely to have someone with West Ham history, that ticks a box.
“Having Premier League experience and that doesn’t mean English Premier League, that means a man who has managed successfully in the big Italian League, big Spanish League, big German League or a major league in the world, that is a box that needs to be ticked, we don’t want to take a chance.”
I assume he was using the word Premier with a small p because none of those Leagues in Europe are the Premier League, nor do I see any managers in any of them with West Ham history. Thus not all the boxes can possibly be ticked.
There’s only one former Hammer available and he sat in front of the three board members today. He’s an impressive man and a qualified lawyer.
He is considered an excellent boss by most of his peers but it may be that the board is still smarting from having missed out on their top choices to be able to fully evaluate Slav’s.
I hope I have that wrong and that before 24 or 48 hours is up the former defender becomes our next manager but that must only happen on the basis of the co-chairmen being 1,000 onside with each other and 100 per cent behind their chosen man.
Nothing else will work and if there’s not a certainty then it’s best to move on!