June 09, 2015 13:03:24 UK
West Ham have confirmed former defender Slaven Bilic as their new manager, the Croatian succeeding Sam Allardyce on a three-year contract.
The Hammers had been on the lookout for a new boss since deciding against renewing Allardyce’s contract when it expired at the end of last season.
Despite challenging for a European spot early on in the campaign, West Ham slowly slid down the table during the second half of the year and eventually finished in 12th place in the Premier League.
It’s a big challenge and you are competing with the best and what better club to do it with than West Ham.
Allardyce paid for his failure to maintain the team’s momentum with his job and the club have now turned to Bilic to make sure they move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 off the back of a successful campaign.
The 46-year-old left his former club Besiktas at the end of the season having failed to secure a Champions League spot.
The former defender has previously taken charge of Hajduk Split, Lokomotiv Moscow and the Croatia national side, guiding them Euro 2008 at the expense of England.
Bilic returns to Upton Park having spent just over a year in east London as a player, making over 50 appearances for the Hammers before joining Everton.
“I’m really glad to be back with West Ham United,” Bilic told the West Ham website. “It’s in the Premier League, which is among the best in the world. It’s a big challenge and you are competing with the best and what better club to do it with than West Ham.
“It is a great place to play and I felt like I was at home. It is a big privilege and a big responsibility to now be manager and I hope that I will prove it to the Board, players and fans.
“My first priority when choosing a club is to look at its ambitions. When I spoke to the Chairmen and Karren Brady, they made clear that it is not only the fantastic new Stadium we are moving into, but they showed their determination and ambition to make what is a big club even bigger.
“I saw their determination and passion that they want to do that. That was the number one reason. I could feel that they really wanted me so it was an easy choice.”
Off the back of Bilic’s appointment, West Ham are 19.00 to finish in the Premier League’s top six next season, while they are 81.00 to secure a Champions League spot.
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