Favourite Bilic puts country before 'my club'

PUBLISHED: 11:51 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG SLAVEN BILIC emerged as the overwhelming favourite for the manager s position at West Ham within minutes of last week s resignation by Alan Curbishley. But the Croatia boss ultimately saw his chances of landing the job scuppered by his c


SLAVEN BILIC emerged as the overwhelming favourite for the manager's position at West Ham within minutes of last week's resignation by Alan Curbishley.

But the Croatia boss ultimately saw his chances of landing the job scuppered by his commitment to his national side.

The former Hammers defender, who was accused of betrayal by some supporters following his switch to Everton in 1995, demonstrated unusual loyalty by refusing to walk out on his current role.

Bilic, who signed a two-year contract extension worth about £100,000 a season with Croatia in May, could have commanded a salary closer to £2m a year from West Ham and admitted that the prospect of managing his former club was tempting.

"I've always said West Ham will be my choice when I return to England - however, my contract with the Croatian FA expires in 2010 and I am intending to lead Croatia in this period," Bilic said this week.

"I'm not going anywhere. Any club from England is a great opportunity. Not for money, honestly - for me it's about ambition.

"West Ham is my club. I have feelings for them but I won't go. My wish is to stay here another two years but, if I lose a couple of games and they say 'off you go' then maybe I will go.

"But my answer is clear. I had many offers in the period between our win at Wembley last November until I signed a new deal in May. I decided to stay. Whether that's good for me only God knows."

There is much to admire about Bilic's attitude - not least his refusal to allow the speculation to interfere with his preparations for Croatia's two World Cup qualifying matches in the past week.

Likewise West Ham were wise to move on with their search for a new manager rather than waste time pursuing a single candidate when other prospective managers had expressed interest in the job.

Yet the suspicion remains that both parties have lost out.

For West Ham chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the appointment of Bilic would have gone a long way to appeasing

disgruntled fans, who have been unimpressed by his stewardship of the club.

Meanwhile Bilic has seen his stock rise since he helped to eliminate England en route to Euro 2008, but there is no guarantee he will find it so easy to qualify for the coming World Cup at England's expense.

The two sides are reported to have discussed a part-time arrangement, where Bilic would become manager of West Ham and continue with Croatia until January, but an agreement proved out of reach.

It could be that both Bilic and West Ham come to regret their failure to strike a compromise.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 18:21

Jermaine Blackwood scored a match-winning 95 as Test cricket’s big return ended with the West Indies chasing down 200 to defeat England by four wickets in the eerie silence of the Ageas Bowl ‘bubble’.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Zak Crawley stepped up with the highest score of his short Test career as England established a hard-fought lead in the first Test but a late surge from the West Indies bowlers left the tourists sensing a day five victory at the Ageas Bowl.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

West Ham United boss David Moyes says they can use previous relegation battle experiences to drive them on ahead of clash with Norwich City.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

West Ham’s Michail Antonio put his impressive goalscoring down to manager David Moyes, following a morale-boosting 4-0 win at Premier League basement boys Norwich.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Michail Antonio netted all four goals as West Ham moved six points clear of the relegation zone and sent Norwich back to the Championship.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Golf, like most sports, has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

West Ham United manager David Moyes insists midfielder Mark Noble will be always play a vital part despite losing his place after picking up a hamstring injury.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

With more grassroots sport now getting the green light to return to action, we take a look back at some of the recent happenings at the elite level.


People across the country are being encouraged to enjoy summer safely by following official advice and staying safe.

The NHS Test and Trace service brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service to stop the spread of the virus and help us move out of lockdown.

The UK Government has launched a campaign to shine a light on businesses and employees across the country who have responded to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in remarkable ways and are now going back to business.

Most read sport

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser