Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Slaven Bilic Sacked as West Bromwich Albion Manager

December 16, 2020 - After winning just seven points in 13 Premier League games, Slaven Bilic was sacked as the West Bromwich Albion manager. Fans of the club are outraged.

HRT reports that English media announced last night that the club had decided on that move, so last night's sensational point won against Manchester City - one of the most expensively compiled teams in the world - did not help the former Croatia national team coach.

"I'm very calm. I love my job, I enjoy it, and I'm working hard for myself and my staff for the club. Everything else is out of my control," Slaven Bilic said after the match at Etihad last night. Bilic is extremely well-liked by the fans of West Bromwich Albion, after getting the club promoted back into the Premier League. His dismissal has been met by them with disbelief and anger.

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WBA, however, announced today he would no longer lead the club:

"West Bromwich Albion have today parted company with Head Coach Slaven Bilić. 

Assistant Coaches Dean Računica and Danilo Butorović, and First Team Coach Julian Dicks have also left the club with immediate effect.

The Baggies are currently 19th in the Premier League table with seven points from 13 fixtures. 

Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future," WBA wrote on their official website, adding that they would make no further comments at this time. 

Slaven Bilic thus became the first coach in this Premier League season to be fired.

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The former coach of the Croatia national football team, who also led London club, West Ham, for two years (2015-2017), took over the West Bromwich club in June 2019 and was responsible for directly promoting them to the Premier League. This was no small achievement considering the squad had been predicted to struggle even in the Championship 

Unfortunately, without louder reinforcements and with many unfortunate circumstances, such as VAR decisions that were to the detriment of WBA, the club achieved one victory in 13 Premier League games under Slaven Bilic's leadership, with four draws and eight defeats. Most Albion fans are directing the blame at the board of West Bromwich Albion. After promotion to the Premier League, they failed to obtain the key new signings Bilic had requested to ensure success. The club currently has Chinese owners. The first player they brought in was a Chinese player. He was immediately loaned out. To a Chinese club.

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West Bromwich Albion enjoyed a terrific run of form under Slaven Bilić's guidance and he was recognised as Manager of the Month in the English Championship League in March 2020, having taken over at the club in only summer 2019.

Commenting on the sacking, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “I’m very sad to hear that Slaven lost his job. I think he’s done great for them in getting promotion. I know him from years back. I’m sure he’ll get a job again, when he wants to.”

“Hopefully more clubs think long-term. Of course, it’s a short-term business, and we need results in the short-term, but everyone knows that continuity is the key to success.”

At the time of the dismissal, British media cited the experienced 66-year-old Sam Allardyce as the main candidate to be Bilic's successor. Allardyce has saved clubs from relegation from the Premier League on several occasions during his career. His last engagement was at Everton, which he led from December 2017 to May 2018. Many West Bromwich Albion fans have expressed dismay at the thought of being lead by Allardyce for the rest of the season. Allardyce was announced as West Brom's new manager later in the afternoon.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Thursday, 23 July 2020

Croatia's Greatest Coach, Slaven Bilić, Back in UK Premier League

July 23, 2020 – Croatia's greatest football coach, Slaven Bilić, secures a return to the UK Premier League for West Bromwich Albion after only one season in charge

Slaven Bilić has secured promotion for West Bromwich Albion from the UK Championship back into the Premier League. From next season, Bilić's side will compete in the world's most competitive national football league and play against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

The former Hajduk Split, West Ham United and Everton player is widely regarded as the current best football coach from Croatia and has previously managed the Croatian National Football team and West Ham United. It is no small feat to have returned West Bromwich Albion to the Premier League during his first season with the club.

The 'Baggies' have enjoyed a terrific run of form under Slaven Bilić's guidance and he was recognised as Manager of the Month in the English Championship League in March 2020, having taken over at the club in only summer 2019. That appointment was the Croat's first return to English football since being sacked by West Ham United in 2017.

Slaven Bilić's first season at West Ham in 2016 was their most successful in living memory. Slaven guided them to their first win over Liverpool in 52 years and earning their second-highest ever finish in the Premier League (7th). They also broke several club records of the Premier League era, including highest number of points in a season (62), highest number of goals in a season (65), the fewest number of games lost in a season (8) and the lowest number of away defeats.

Slaven Bilić pictured during his time as manager of West Ham United © joshjdss

His departure from West Ham can partially be attributed to the club selling star players against the manager's wishes, with a failure to adequately replace them. Since Slaven Bilić left West Ham, they have appointed new managers no less than three times. They were able to narrowly secure their place in the Premier League next season by scoring one point against Manchester United yesterday, but have dwindled at the bottom end of the league all season.

After eight continuous seasons in the Premier League, West Bromwich Albion were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2017–18 season. Bilić has returned them to form in a surprisingly short time and it would come as no surprise to see his contract as manager extended within the next few weeks (he was taken on for an initial two years).

In 1888, West Bromwich Albion were one of the founding members of the English Football League. They have played at their home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900. The club itself is some 22 years older still. Based in the area of England known as the Midlands, their greatest rivals are local clubs Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City. West Bromwich return to the Premier League alongside Leeds United.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Slaven Bilic Named Championship Manager of the Month

March 14, 2020 - Former Croatia national team coach, Slaven Bilic, who today leads the Championship team West Bromwich Albion, has been recognized for the good job he’s done in England. 

T.portal reports that after poor results in December and January, Slaven Bilic and his West Bromwich Albion squad were victorious in February and returned to the top of English second-league football thanks to a winning streak.

Unfortunately, in the last two Championship games, Bilic and his players lost again, winning only one point to give Leeds United the lead.

However, regardless of his current drop from the top, Bilic achieved an excellent February, scoring 16 points in seven games, for which he received and is recognized as the best coach of February in the Championship.

The competition included Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds), Paul Cook (Wigan) and Scott Parker (Fulham).

“Of course, it was very important to us. At one point we settled down a bit, but it's important that we were able to come back and show resilience, passion, willingness, and more importantly, our quality. Now we want to stay at that level, though it is not easy, because the hardest thing to do is to be constant, especially when that constant is not your average, because we want to win the Championship. This is a reward for everyone, the entire professional staff, and of course, all the players,” said Slaven Bilic proudly.

The club's official website also boasted monthly recognition for their player, Callum Morton, who is currently on loan from Northampton Town.

Recall, after coaching Premier League club West Ham from 2015-2017, and a short stint in Saudi Arabia leading Al-Ittihad, Bilic went back to England in June 2019 to manage West Bromwich Albion on a two-year-contract. West Brom is currently in second place just one point behind Leeds United. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.