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factory seconds 9:16 Thu Jan 23
Bilic has his say on the Dildome
Slaven Bilic was at home working when his phone starting to ping with messages, and he realised something was up. “They were from my friends at West Ham. I knew straight away and it was like ‘oh my God!’” he says.

The West Bromwich Albion head coach was so engrossed with what he was doing that he had forgotten about the FA Cup fourth round draw which sees him take his Championship leaders to his former club on Saturday.

“It’s special, I am not going to lie and say it would be the same as if we were, say, playing Arsenal. It’s West Ham. I was there as a player, I was there as a manager. I didn’t play or manage 10 English clubs. I have played for two (West Ham and Everton) and managed two.”

There is a smile when he is asked whether it will be quite the same given he is going to the London Stadium rather than Upton Park. Bilic had just over two seasons in charge at West Ham, including a thrilling and emotional campaign which was their last at Upton Park, their home for 112 years. They finished seventh that year, their best finish since 2002, and won away at Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool, breaking several club records.

Bilic then led them into the Olympic Stadium and, after a difficult beginning, managed to finish a credible 11th before losing his job the following November. Still, the charismatic 51-year-old achieved the best points per game total of any West Ham manager in the Premier League.

Bilic always knew the stadium move would not be easy and while he accepts it was “a great opportunity, a great business deal” for West Ham, it is striking to hear him talk about how modern football - with its new , sanitised stadia - does not really appeal to him. It is why he is so at home at West Brom, a resolutely traditional club.

“It’s not an excuse but if you ask me what was it better to play at Upton Park or not then there’s no discussion,” Bilic says emphatically. “It was more home, it was more hostile. Not one opposition player enjoyed it when they had to go to Upton Park! That’s a fact. The Olympic Stadium is very different for an away team. You enjoy it more. It’s not that you were afraid for your life at Upton Park, but everything was there!

“Look at Arsenal. You saw what Wenger said: ‘We left our soul there [at Highbury].’ And it’s true. Even Atletico Madrid – their new stadium is too nice. Upton Park made you do this,” he says, vigorously rolling up his sleeves. “Highbury made you do that, the old Atletico stadium made you do that. Everything is on top of you; everything is close. Also you have those memories and those responsibilities. ‘This is what we did there and there’. It’s different.

“We had Juventus there for the opening game and I had a chat with Maxi Allegri and Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain and they all said: ‘Hey, this stadium!’"

By now Bilic is fully in his stride. "But West Ham! Yes West Ham had Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Trevor Brooking but there was always that" - he punches the palm of his hand, making a loud crack - "fighting, fighting! A fighting club! Always difficult to play there.

"What also changes are the fans. It’s like pubs. Now you have modern bars. When you take people out of the pub and go to them they don’t feel comfortable. They prefer pubs where it is packed and you are shoulder to shoulder. Like what Roy Keane said about the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’ - it leads to that. You don’t want to lose that hostile home advantage and there are very few of those traditional clubs left in the Premier League because the league forces you to become more a corporation than a football club."

There is finally a pause for breath before Bilic exhales deeply and says: "To be fair, I prefer this. This being West Brom. This office. This training ground. The stadium. I love the smell of grass. I was very much involved in [West Ham’s new training ground] with Rush Green with Karren Brady and I was always saying: ‘Don’t make it a five-star hotel. This is a training ground’.

"When I took Croatia to Euro 2008 in Austria [as coach] me and my assistant went to a few places and they were like Buckingham Palace, marble and everything. At the beginning we were like, ‘Wow this is great!’ But I said to my assistant [Nicola Jurcevic], 'Can you imagine us walking through here after training in football boots? On this marble?’ We were preparing for games; we had to be focussed! That is why I like this. This is a football club and it’s got to be a working atmosphere.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Swiss. 5:58 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
Always and will always be a Bilic fan. Players let him down imho. Especially Payet.

Northern Sold 5:45 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
LOVE IT... MINES A CASTLEMAINE..... FOUR FUCKING X

goose 5:43 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
can of Hofmeister is you're asking............. follow the bear.

Northern Sold 5:42 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
Goose....


Barcardi and coke you cunt???

goose 5:36 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
everything was better in the 80s wasnt it Soldo??

i imagine your gaff still has a VHS recorder, avocado bathroom suite and an XR3i parked on the drive.

factory seconds 5:35 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0FnvbhDwyQ

slav knew full well he'd been stitched up by the end.

Northern Sold 5:31 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
https://www.90min.com/posts/6389205-premier-league-how-many-injuries-each-club-suffered-during-the-2018-19-season

Can't be bothered at past seasons but come on... stop falling for this woe is me.. 13 Brentford Road bleating shit... we are no worst or no better when it comes to injuries... it's nothing to do with our training ground

Block 5:17 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
I'm not talking this season, Sold0.

Talking about over the last few years.

Northern Sold 5:15 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
No it’s not Bolty…. CFC, Man City and THFC have just as many injuries as us… now stop listening to the weirdos… there’s a good chap…


We went through the WHOLE FUCKING season in 1986 using 16 players… 53 fucking games… and we trained on Chadwell Heath?? Go and have a strawberry vape you soppy fat headed cunt

Block 5:12 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
Sold, the training grounds in which these players TRAIN upon daily could be the reason we have such a piss poor injury record.

Northern Sold 5:08 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
Block… I’ve never been one of these anal wankers that keep harping on about training grounds… and the money spent on them… I mean we won the fucking WORLD CUP at Chadwell Heath… Spurs, CFC and Man City can have their sandals holidays training grounds … good for them…

Manuel 4:57 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
Russ of the BML 3:29 Fri Jan 24

Totally agree, I liked Bilic too but he was completely gone and completely devoid of how to turn it around in the 2 months or so before he was 'put out of his misery' Pellegrini also had the same haunted 'please put me out of my misery' look too. All very worrying, now we have a yes man in Moyes who is just grateful to have a PL job. Fucked if I know what the answer is.

Block 3:39 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
So he was involved in the construction of the fucking cesspit of a training ground?

goose 3:35 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
i dont disagree that it was right for him to leave, but i would argue that what led him to that point was driven by the owners and the stadium move.
there's also a lot of bullshit talked about fitness levels, antonio at right wb and the 'organised' team he inherited.

Russ of the BML 3:29 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
People can say what they like. But towards the end, Bilic was a loser. He spoke like a loser and he had the body language of a loser. He had lost the players and had no ideas how to get us winning.

People on here suggesting he should not have been sacked are talking bollocks in my opinion. He had lost his way and was steering a damaged ship through a storm in the fog.

But I still like and respect him.

The old c wing 2:01 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
The recruitment in his second year, in trying to build a big enough squad for the Europa league, plus the subsequent exit, plus the Payet nonsense.

It was a perfect storm for that 6 month period.

Moyes sucked the life out of us afterwards, like he is doing now.

Energy vampire

theaxeman 1:53 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
I was gutted when Super Slav was sacked. No manager can ever succeed with our owners, Pellegrini couldn't even if he started taking us in the right direction. He has been the scapegoat for the under funding of the squad in the summer window and the clear lack of investment in our recruitment infrastructure.

ChillTheKeel 11:57 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
I remember the herpes ridden slob's 'overachievement' remark. Then came the 'it doesn't matter' comment days before our League Cup semi final and subsequent humiliation to Man City.

Speaking of the latter, I recently watched a replay of us batter them away under Super Slav. Feels like decades ago now.

ChillTheKeel 11:52 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
BIG SAM

Northern Sold 11:47 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
BIG FAT SAM’S DEFENSIVE ORGANISATION…. *CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!*
BIG FAT SAM’S DEFENSIVE ORGANISATION…. *CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!*
BIG FAT SAM’S DEFENSIVE ORGANISATION…. *CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!*
BIG FAT SAM’S DEFENSIVE ORGANISATION…. *CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!*
BIG FAT SAM’S DEFENSIVE ORGANISATION…. *CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!*

goose 11:37 Fri Jan 24
Re: Bilic has his say on the Dildome
the same BFS defence and organisation that barely won a game post Xmas?
and finished by a negative GD?

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