Filed: Thursday, 30th March 2017
By: Turns to Stone
Slaven Bilic doesn't make promises to the fans that he can't keep. He understands what the fans want.
He has proven that in the two games against West Brom and Leicester at home by constantly pushing for the win. Bring on wingers for full-backs, pushing on strikers for midfielders and understanding that fans would rather lose going for it than draw being tight at the back.
When Sam Allardyce was at West Ham, I constantly made the point that he was the medicine we needed at the point in time. The tough pill we all needed to swallow so our club could grind back to an even playing field with the bottom rungs of the Premier League.
I compared him to Nasser Hussain captaining the England cricket team and teaching us "not to lose" and to "fight for a draw", rather than just wilt away. We then brought someone in with a more attacking mentality, someone who could move us a step up on Allardyce.
To me the next step is not about league position. It's not about crawling from 12th to 10th and then to 11th, or from 17th to 16th. It's about style. It's about a recruitment process that focuses on the likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini over Stewart Downing and Kevin Nolan. Of moving on from hard work and funcionality to quality and style.
I've enjoyed this season, yes we've been deadful at the back but we've been good going forwards. Plus Aaron Cresswell has been awful and Angelo Ogbonna has been injured. Two of our best players from last year out of sorts and still not sorting the right-back debacle out.
Bilic does get West Ham. Sadly, not all fans 'get West Ham'. I was accused of not getting them when I defended Allardyce, but, as I said time and time again, Allardyce was a shocking 'West Ham manager' but at the time, we didn't need a 'West Ham manager'.
Now we do and we have one. The fact that West Ham men like Tony Gale, Tony Cottee, Julian Dicks, Frank McAvennie et al have come out in support of Bilic tells me all I need to know.
That established and respected KUMB members like Romford and Chalks speak so positively of Bilic - fans who have stood on the touchlines for years and years with West Ham know that Bilic "gets West Ham" - tells me all I need to know on the subject. Gold and Sullivan don't. They haven't from the start.
The fact that the Board are still convinced the move to Stratford has been an unqualified success - and that every single season, at this time of year, they tell me that they're going to be signing Neymar, Ibrahimovic, Batshuyi (and now) Wayne Rooney just so I renew my season ticket - tells me that all they see when they see a West Ham fan is a walking pound note.
I don't give a toss if some fans keep saying "they saved us". No, they didn't. They saw an opportunity to buy a club with immense money-making potential and a cash-rich fan base that will go to extreme lengths to support their club and they took it. They saw dollar signs no more, no less. That's it.
Added to that, the fact that they let Payet slip away by not keeping their promises of signing higher quality of player and by failing to improve the squad last season tells me everything I need to know.
The fact that whenever the chips are down they look for someone to blame - be it Avram Grant, or Sam Allardyce, or Kevin Nolan, or Dimitri Payet, or Slaven Bilic, or the fans or whoever. Everything to avoid putting their hands up and saying "we were the ones that promised you a striker, we promised you Batshuayi, or Ibrahimovic, or Bacca, or Lacazette and WE were the ones that didn't deliver".
Slaven Bilic never promised me anything. He never tried to sell me a seat. He just promised that he would always try and get his players to play good football, work hard and try and win every game....and I think he does that.
Genuinely, there is no-one on the planet right now who I would rather have as West Ham manager than Slaven Bilic. And frankly, I don't care if we don't finish 6th or 7th or even 10th. Because that's not what West Ham is about. And it never has been.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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