West Ham sacked Slaven Bilic to turn the momentum and climb into the top half of the Premier League table, co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan said on Monday.
Bilic, who was appointed in June 2015 on a three-year contract, was axed after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Liverpool.
David Moyes is widely expected to be named as his successor – to become just the Hammers’ 16th boss in 117 years – with the former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland manager left in no doubt what his task is.
The West Ham hierarchy “believe a change is now necessary in order for the club to move forward positively and in line with their ambition”, the statement which announced Bilic’s departure said.
In a further statement, posted on whufc.com, Gold and Sullivan suggested the level of summer recruitment of the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez had not been matched by on-field performances and results.
The co-chairmen expect a new boss to “inject fresh ideas, organisation and enthusiasm into a very talented squad”, just like Bilic did in his first season, when West Ham finished seventh.
The pair said: “During the summer, the board invested heavily signing the players Slaven believed would complete the squad he needed to push the club back towards the level we had reached in his first season, and we believe we have the players capable of doing that.
“We have not seen enough indication of the required improvement to give us the encouragement that things would change and we would meet our Premier League aspirations this season.
Joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have released this statement on the club's website #WHUFC pic.twitter.com/Rx1oumo3pA
— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) November 6, 2017
“We believe a change is now necessary to ensure we can begin to move the team back in the right direction. We see this as an exciting opportunity to appoint a quality manager to the position to inject fresh ideas, organisation and enthusiasm into a very talented squad.”
Gold and Sullivan said the decision to axe Bilic had been made with “heavy hearts”.
They praised the Croatian for his role in the move from Upton Park to the former Olympic Stadium, particularly the concluding win over Manchester United in the final home game of 2015-16 which helped to secure European qualification.
West Ham finished 11th last season, in their first in Stratford, but are 18th with nine points from 11 games which have featured two wins – over Huddersfield and Swansea in September – three draws and six losses.
The manner of the latest capitulation at the London Stadium, coming just a fortnight after an equally desperate 3-0 home loss to newly promoted Brighton, saw Sullivan, Gold and Karren Brady, the vice-chairman, act.
Bilic’s assistants Nikola Jurcevic, Edin Terzic, Julian Dicks and Miljenko Rak have also left the club with immediate effect Goalkeeping coach Chris Woods, who worked with Moyes at Everton and Manchester United, is the only member of coaching staff who still appears under ‘staff’ on the club website.
Moyes on Sunday expressed his interest in succeeding Bilic, telling beINSPORTS: “I’ve had no contact from West Ham but I’ve always said I want to go back into club management. If the right opportunity comes around, I’d be interested.”
The Scot, who did show some empathy with Bilic, despite effectively touting for his office, was asked if he might be managing again after the forthcoming international break.
He added: “I really don’t know. I hope so.”
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