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It dropped at 21.23 the day after the transfer window closed.

David Sullivan decided he was going to make his feelings known and threw Slaven Bilić under the bus with a statement on the West Ham United website and from then on he was a dead man walking.

“Overall Slaven is happy with the business we have done during the summer transfer window,” he said.

“We received the manager's wish-list before the window opened and we have managed to get the top four players on it.”

So far so good, the statement sounded like the Hammers board are behind Bilić completely, having brought in Joe Hart, Marko Arnautović, Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernández.

“It is no secret that we made a club record bid for Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho but unfortunately that offer was rejected a couple of weeks ago,” he continued.

Javier Hernandez's Tactical Use | West Ham… by FootballWhispers

“Late last night Sporting Lisbon made contact to accept the original offer, but unfortunately it was just too late in the day, and we simply did not have enough time to put the player through a medical.

“We were not prepared, as a club, to buy a player for that amount of money without him having gone through adequate medical checks.”

That was fair enough too. With the injury issues West Ham have had in recent months, especially with the likes of Andy Carroll seemingly spending as much time in the medical room than on the pitch, they need to do their due diligence on a player’s fitness before signing them.

Then came the killer line.

Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches were both offered to the manager before their switches elsewhere, but he told us that he is happy with the squad he has,” he wrote.

“As a board we are behind Slaven, and he believes he has the tools to turn around our form and rectify our disappointing start to the season.”

Both Krychowiak and Sanches have been lauded as brilliant signings by West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City respectively, and no doubt Sullivan knows that.

He made it clear that they could have had the players at the London Stadium, but it was Bilić who turned them down, believing his current squad, which sits in the bottom three after a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool, is good enough.

If Bilić does believe that, he is mad. Of course he wanted to bring in Carvalho, but those two players would definitely have been an upgrade on the current West Ham squad.

Not only that, while bringing in quality over quantity, which was the mantra at West Ham last summer, is commended, the squad now looks thin after a number of departures, including Sofiane Feghouli, Håvard Nordtveit and Robert Snodgrass.

Those three were not world beaters, but they were options that have hardly been replaced at the London Stadium.

Although Sullivan gave Bilić a vote of confidence, that didn't mean much in today’s world. It’s hardly uncommon to see a manager backed by the board and then given the shove two weeks later – although it was two months rather than weeks in Bilić's place.

It felt like the whole statement said that if it goes wrong this season, don’t blame the board, blame Bilić, as the board has got in everyone the manager wanted, so it was then down to him.

And if they were happy with him at the helm, they surely wouldn’t have done that.

He has less than a year left on his contract, he had no job security whatsoever, and his departure today was no shock – perhaps the biggest shock was that he was still in his job until November.

Not a surprise downturn in form

They won just one of eleven matches in a spell from February to April last year, and that must have set the alarm bells off.

In Bilić’s first season at West Ham, he had an outstanding player in Dimitri Payet, who arguably carried the team.

Since his departure, performances under the Croatian have been pretty dire.

With no win in their last four Premier League games, it felt inevitable that his time was coming to an end at West Ham, and the real surprise was that it didn’t last summer.

When the Hammers started the season badly, with no wins from their first three games, it was clear that he was under scrutiny from the board, which suggests they already were mistrusting him towards the end of last season.

Surely it would have been best for the club to bring a new manager in then, who would be able to sign who they wanted, rather than stick with Bilić until November and then get rid of him, leaving his replacement with a team and style of play that may not suit him.


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