Bilic was most recently in charge of Besiktas. AP/Press Association Images
Hammer time

Everyone's favourite guitar-playing manager has replaced Big Sam at West Ham

Slaven Bilic has joined the Premier League club he spent time with as a player.

SLAVEN BILIC HAS been named as the new manager of West Ham.

The 46-year-old former Croatian defender, who became a cult hero during a season with the Hammers before leaving for Everton in 1997, takes over from Sam Allardyce after his contract wasn’t renewed last month.

According to reports, West Ham ambitiously targeted top coaches such as Carlo Ancelotti and Marcelo Bielsa in recent weeks, but Bilic has agreed a three-year deal with the London club — who plan to move into the Olympic Stadim for the 2016/17 campaign.

“I’m really glad to be back with West Ham United,” Bilic said. “It’s in the Premier League, which is among the best in the world. It’s a big challenge and you are competing with the best and what better club to do it with than West Ham.

I remember West Ham as a special club. I love these kinds of special clubs. My last club, Besiktas, was that kind of club. It’s not about the size – West Ham is big Club – there is something special about them – they are a cult clubs.

“It is a great place to play and I felt like I was at home. It is a big privilege and a big responsibility to now be manager and I hope that I will prove it to the Board, players and fans.

“I would say to the West Ham fans that I will give my best and together we will achieve great things.”

As manager of Croatia, Bilic famously defeated Steve McClaren’s England at Wembley to qualify for Euro 2008 ,where they topped a group containing eventual finalists Germany before going out at the quarter-finals.

Bilic, a multilinguist law graduate who plays rhythm guitar in a rock band called Rawbau, also spent a year in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow, before joining Turkish outfit Beskitas in 2013.

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