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Deal or no deal for Slaven – the jury remains out

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Slav off for hip op on WednesdayWhen Slaven Bilic signed for West Ham in June 2015 on a three-year contract, excitement was high at the club.

The former Croatia boss had been linked with a number of big sides in Europe so for the Hammers to secure his services was seen by many as a coup.

He took us to seventh and it’s easy to close our eyes and recall those heady days with wins over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and Liverpool at Anfield.

It all ended with a record high points total in the Premier League as we racked up 62 points which led us to Europa League qualification.

As we headed into the 2016/17 campaign, there were top six ambitions and even talk of a Champions League spot, the premier competition in Europe where the final is being played out between Real Madrid and Juventus this season.

Juve have been drawn out as the home team for that game in Cardiff and according to an article about Champions League final kits (Source: Betway Insider), they have won five of the six European finals they have been a part of when wearing their black-and-white stripes.

Our Europa League adventure ended against NK Domzale from Slovenia who had no problems, prevailing 4-2 after the two legs. They then were the heavy favourites to defeat Romania’s Astra Giurgiu in the play-off round but after a solid 1-1 draw away from home in the first leg, they were defeated 1-0 at the London Stadium, to fall from the competition.

The early exit in Europe did mean Bilic had no other distractions from the domestic schedule his side were set in the 2016/17 season but unfortunately we were left with little to shout about. Arguably our best performance came against Tottenham.

Unsurprisingly his future remains in the lap of the footballing gods and all depends on the first half of next season.

Can Bilic turn It Around This Summer?

If Bilic is going to find improvement next season and merit a contract extension he needs big board backing this summer and as usual we are linked with any number of players .

Our leading scorer remains Michail Antonio with just nine goals and our need of a quality striker or two has never been more pressing given the Carroll/Sakho scenario.

If Bilic can sign three or four players of quality players this summer a turnaround could well be on the cards but for now the jury remains out.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • Michael Miller says:

    Very disappointing this year – how much was he involved in the Recruitment, his tactics, playing players out of position, the right-back fiasco, his bizarre substitutions, pandering to Payet at the cost of Team cohesion – these are all things that bring his judgement into question!

    If it was up to me I’d get rid of him – thank god I’m not in charge!

  • sleepswithdafishes says:

    2 very good strikers and a right-back are the least we need for a turn round. The strikers must be quality, and not just someone who can’t quite do it with some well-known Italian club or other. I had that scenario up to here ( somewhere near the top of my head ).
    Why we have to think that just because someone comes from italy he must be good, I just don’t understand. Get 2 quality strikers who will score goals and we are 59% better for it.

  • WakeTheWolf says:

    You can’t judge him on two seasons… yeah this season hasn’t been what we expected… but given the new stadium, the new players needing to gel, all the injuries, the Payet situation… to get 11th is actually decent!
    And is everyone so fickle to forget the season before? We got our highest points tally in the premier league! We got 7th..
    Everyone was calling for him to get a new deal
    After last season and now this season people want him gone.
    Give the guy a break. So much went against him.
    I think he’s humble, has a good football brain.
    All the times we have thought that’s a weird line up and they went on to do a job!
    This season we have had a few beatings…
    But are we relegated? No?
    So be positive, judge him in the winter after this summers transfer window.
    But don’t judge him after a really good season and a not so good season.

  • Travis says:

    Whether he has a good football brain is neither here nor there WTW because as long as there are fans about who think they have better football brains than him he is in big trouble LOL
    I fully expected a middle table finish with all that was going to be thrown at the club as a whole this season.Yes some very poor defeats but some very good ones though mainly away from home.The good performances get swept under the carpet though because it doesnt suit some fans agendas.

  • WakeTheWolf says:

    Yeah exactly… with what has been thrown at him, gaining 11th place is a decent result.
    1 point off 8th… now some fans need to let that sink in…
    we had a poor season, but only 1 point off 8th.. if we got 8th… would people be calling for his head.
    This is what I mean… football fans can be very fickle and don’t look at the bigger picture.

  • TRB says:

    Another trashy article. Go and write for The Sun. There’s no question over Slaven Bilic’s position……. considering the squad was decimated with injuries before the opening fixture and ended in exactly the same way, 11th position (AND one point off 8th) is not at all bad. The tabloid press has been full of stories about Bilic having had ‘crisis talks’ on Monday. They didn’t exist!

    • Were you a regular reader you would know:

      1/That we support him
      2/That we reported on the Monday meeting and said all was at peace
      3/That this piece merely looks at the possibility of a second contract and when.


  • Radai Lama..Paid up member of Slavs Chavs. says:

    Lol,glad you got that of your chest eh TRB.Did your mum never tell you if you cant say something nice say nothing at all 😁😁
    I had us down to finish bewteen about 8th & 12th so about where i suspected.Anyway Slav is here for another season & im pleased about that.This season was a cluster f*ck for so many reasons so for me he has the right to be given what will hopefully be a more calm season on all fronts to sort things that need sorting.If he cant then fair enough a change will happen.

    • Radai Lama..Paid up member of Slavs Chavs. says:

      Oh & Hugh are we going to have a whip round to buy Hippo Head a retirement present? 😂

    • kevin says:

      Cluster Fu@k is an American Expression for a military failure . Too many Hollywood films for you it seems . Best call it a complete Bal@ls Up , so that we all understand .
      But yeh , only funning ; last season was a disaster rescued from the fire of football hell.
      Looks like we can look forward to better times . Onwards and Upwards .

  • kevin says:

    There is one thing that we have to accept , no matter how much it hurts ; we were lucky not to be relegated last season and we escaped by the skin of our teeth . No matter how much we may love our club & team , that is the reality . No point in talking about the points difference between 8th and 14th because it is a non-starter as an arguement .
    Ever since 1964/65 we have failed to build and progress . We didn’t have the resources to build big time in the new modern football world . West Ham United has always been West Ham United and it’s idea of success was always Survival .
    At least , Now , maybe we can look ahead to a more lucrative future . We have had our share of Good Managers and Bad but , without any real advancement . That FA Cup final in 2006 was ours untill Liverpool struck from nowhere . Our last success was 1985 .
    It’s been a long , long wait for anything to shout about . Beating The Rent Boys or the Gooners or the Spurs has always been a bonus for a mediocre season .
    With the Clear-out recently proposed and the prospect of a few good signings we can at least go into next season with some kind of belief that we shall finally get in there amongst the Big Boys . Having said all that it’s the Manager’s Job to make it happen and the Players Responsability to react . The media is full of rubbish as always and we must take any news with a pinch of salt but , if half of it turns out to be true ???. Who knows .
    We didn’t move to the Queen Elizabeth Stadium ( Olympic Stadium – London Stadium) for fun . It must be taken seriously after so many years full of memories at the Boleyn .
    I have been a Hammers fan since I was Five years old being carried on the shoulders of my Grandfather, I’m 67 now . Reckon it’s time to see something Special now because I have been waiting a Hell of a Long Time . So , if I get a bit annoyed and possibly over critical , Forgive me .

  • Stan The Man says:

    Its not a trashy article in my opinion.Just putting it out there.You can always go to the other site and read about what pizzas people like trb.Now that truly is a scintillating discussion lol

    • Poplar Hammer says:

      Stan, is it possible for you to go a day without mentioning the “other site.” You’re clearly an avid reader but surely it should be about the debate on this site.

  • GW says:

    All I know is it’s been a damn sight better for the last 2 years having Slav at the helm than having that lump of lard with his mouth gurning slouched in the dugout 😀😀

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