Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bielsa or Bilic set for the Boleyn

Former-West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is the favourite to be the next Irons boss

Former-West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is the favourite to be the next Irons boss

According to Sky Sports, West Ham are set to choose between former centre-back Slaven Bilic and mercurial Argentine boss Marcelo Bielsa for their vacant managerial position.

The Hammers have been linked with a number of replacements for Sam Allardyce and it looks like their search will end in the next 48 hours.


The Irons have been linked with a whole host of bosses, as the likes of Rafa Benitez, David Moyes and Unai Emery have all been mooted as possible replacements for Allardyce.

There was even talk of a very ambitious bid for former-Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, although maybe that rumour was started by a Hammers fan!

Benitez left Napoli for the Bernabeu rather than the Boleyn, as he joined Spanish giants Real Madrid. Moyes and Emery decided to stay in Spain at Real Sociedad and Sevilla respectively.


Then there were two. Bilic has history with the Londoners having played for the club for just over a year, before moving on to a rather ill-fated spell at their Premier League rivals Everton.

However for some reason he seems to be held in high esteem by some Hammers fans, although one Hammer fan I know does not understand the admiration for the Croat.

Bilic is highly-rated as a coach though, he started his managerial at hometown club Hadjuk Split, before managing the Croatian under-21 team. However it was his spell as boss of the senior national team that really raised his profile.

In his time as Croatia boss Bilic seemed to be constantly linked with Premier League jobs. Bilic’s only two forays into club management was in a short spell at Russia club Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas, who he left at the end of the season.

The obvious benefits of Bilic coming in are that he knows the club, country and very importantly the language. However, he has enjoyed mixed fortunes in his managerial career. He is now overwhelming favourite to be appointed as the new Hammers boss at odds of 1/20.

El Loco

Marcelo Bielsa is a coach who has been described in the past as innovative, a genius and some would say just plain crazy, hence his nickname El Loco. The experienced Argentinian has a wealth of experience and is currently in charge of French Ligue One outfit Marseille.

The none-English speaking boss earned a big reputation as innovator for his work with the Chile national team and also La Liga club Athletic Bilbao. Bielsa guided Bilbao to the Europa League final in 2012, where they were beaten 3-0 by compatriots Atletico Madrid.

His work with Bilbao even had Bielsa linked with the managerial job at Barcelona at one stage, but it was suggested his sometimes bizarre behaviour persuaded the Catalan hierarchy to look elsewhere.

Bielsa’s appointment would be a wild card one. The Argentinian is seen as a master tactician and no doubt he would light up the Premier League with his big character. For me it would be interesting to see Bielsa in the English top-flight, even if it is just to see the weird and wonderful antics he produces.


The West Ham hierarchy never seemed comfortable with the style of football Sam Allardyce had the team playing. The veteran boss has played a direct and physical style of play for most of his managerial career.

Asked at the start of the campaign to play more expansive, attacking football his team managed it for the first half of the season, before injuries to key players took their toll and the Irons finished 12th in the Premier League table.


Like the fans, the West Ham owners want the team to be playing entertaining football. The Hammers are moving in to the Olympic Stadium from the start of the 2016/17 season. Everybody connected with the club obviously want a brand of football to match their new stadium.

West Ham was never going to attract enough supporters to fill the ground under the brand of football that Allardyce produces. They need a boss that will create a team that can play entertaining, attacking football. A team that encourages supporters to come and watch, not one which supporters dread watching.


It is difficult to gauge the expectations of West Ham fans, but one thing is for sure the brand of football that they played for much of Sam Allardyce’s reign was not appreciated. Hopefully for the Hammers fans their next boss can provide them with slightly better entertainment in the coming seasons.

Who will be the next West Ham boss?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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Bielsa Argentine fyi.

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