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Slaven Bilic: Top 6 career moments so far

09 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Slaven Bilic: Top 6 career moments so far

West Ham's next manager has been chosen. Bilic is heading back to the Boleyn.

So Sam Allardyce’s successor has finally been named. Former Hammer Slaven Bilic is heading back to the Boleyn, and is now a Hammer once again.

“With the greatest respect to women, football is the most beautiful thing in world” the out-spoken Croatian once quipped, and style-craving Irons fans are sure to be happy with their club’s new boss.

For anyone else that values unique characters in the Premier League, it’s an appointment we can all look forward to seeing how it blossoms next season, too.

Here’s 6 key moments in the career of Slaven Bilic, as both a player and manager, so far:

Hammers debut victory over Spurs (1996)

In January 1996, Harry Redknapp brought Slaven Bilic to West Ham United in a £1.3m transfer from Bundesliga outfit Karlsruher SC.

Bilic’s debut was an away trip to White Hart Lane, where the Hammers would record a memorable 1-0 over their rivals. Bilic himself would be involved in the winning goal, seeing his shot parried away before Portuguese forward Dani – another debutant that day –turned into the Spurs net to the delight of the travelling fans.

Bilic would go on to play an impressive role in the West Ham defence that season, earning himself a place in the Croatia squad for Euro 96…


Reaching the knock-out stages with Croatia at Euro 96 (1996)

Bilic formed part of a three-man defensive line-up at Euro 96 in England, in what was Croatia’s first outing at a major tournament since the country’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1993.

Not much was expected from the men in the red and white checked shirts, but an impressive group stage saw them qualify for the knock-outs at the expense of the more favoured Turkey and reigning champions Denmark. A 3-0 victory over the holders was a particular tournament highlight for the emerging football nation.

Croatia would be knocked out in the quarter finals by eventual winners Germany, but won many plaudits after their exit.


A debt of loyalty and survival with West Ham (1997)

In March 1997, FA Cup holders Everton agreed a £4.5m deal to take Bilic from Upton Park to Goodison Park.

However, with the Hammers involved in a scrap to secure their top flight status, the Croatian declared a debt of loyalty to help his club avoid relegation, and vowed to stay on at West Ham until the end of the season.

In one of the tightest battles for survival in Premier League history, Bilic helped the Hammers to a safe 14th place – and would be named as runner-up Hammer of the Year by the West Ham fans, second to Julian Dicks.


Third place with Croatia at the 1998 World Cup (1998)

Two years after impressing at Euro 96, Bilic went to the World Cup in 1998, where he would start every match in a tournament that again saw Croatia exceed expectations.

Playing alongside Zvonimir Soldo and Igor Stimac in the defence, the Croatians would concede just two goals on a thrilling run to the semi-finals, where they would be edged out by hosts and eventual winners, France.

A game away from a World Cup final, not bad for a country that had only been in existance for five years…

Croatia would pick themselves up and go on to claim victory in the third/fourth play-off over the Netherlands.

Breaking English hearts on route to Euro 2008 (2007)

As a manager, after impressing in charge of the Croatia U21 squad, Bilic was appointed as head coach of the Croatia senior team on 25 July 2006, after the nation’s disappointing showing at 2006 World Cup.

His immediate task was to navigate a tough Euro 2008 qualification campaign, but he would soon make his managerial prowess known to all, especially those of us watching (in horror) From England…

Croatia played some thrilling football on route to the Poland and Ukraine tournament, and topped Group E with 9 wins, 2 draws and just one loss, finishing ahead of Russia and of course, England.

Bilic masterminded a 2-0 win over the Three Lions in Zagreb, as well as a 3-2 victory at Wembley that would seal England’s fate in failing to qualify for the tournament.


Appointed manager of West Ham United (2015)

Just as West Ham had given Bilic his debut as a Premier League player, so too will they now give him his debut as a Premier League manager.

The fans will no doubt be pleased with the appointment. He knows the club. Looks to play football ‘the West Ham way’, is ambitious and out-spoken.

The fans have demanding the style back at the Boleyn Ground, and Bilic could be the man to give it to them.

With the club moving early in securing their man, he will enjoy a full pre-season and the chance to shape his squad ahead of a season in which expectations are high.

The final season at the Boleyn, a European adventure, the Olympic Stadium move on the horizon.

He is the chosen man at perhaps the most crucial time in West Ham’s history. And he’ll be relishing every second.

Slaven Bilic West Ham Specials:

66/1 – West Ham to finish in the Top 4
14/1 – West Ham to finish in the Top 6
7/4 – West Ham to finish in the Top 10
20/1 – West Ham to win any major trophy
40/1 – West Ham to win the Europa League
25/1 – West Ham to win the FA Cup
25/1 – West Ham to win the League Cup
400/1 – West Ham to finish in the Top 6 and win the Europa League