Italy great Gianfranco Zola was appointed as West Ham United’s first overseas-born manager in September 2008.
The former Napoli, Parma and Chelsea forward enjoyed a fabulous playing career, winning eleven trophies, being voted Footballer of the Year in 2007 and earning 35 caps for his country.
Zola quickly became a popular figure among the supporters for both his amiable character and the flair with which his teams initially played.
The new boss guided a cosmopolitan West Ham squad to ninth place in the Premier League in 2008/09, with home-grown players Mark Noble, Jack Collison, James Tomkins and Junior Stanislas joining forces with Australia captain Lucas Neill, Italian forward David Di Michele, Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami and DR Congo left-back Herita Ilunga.
With Scott Parker excelling in central midfield and Carlton Cole rejuvenated in attack, the Hammers played with verve and style in Zola’s first season at the Boleyn Ground, finishing just two points adrift of European qualification.
Unfortunately, the 2009/10 season did not go so well, with the Hammers winning just eight Premier League matches to finish 17th in the table with 35 points. Zola departed his role in May 2010.
After leaving the Hammers, the Italian spent 18 months in charge of Championship side Watford and was appointed manager of Italian side Cagliari on his home island of Sardinia in December 2014.
Appointed 15 September 2008
Departed 11 May 2010
Games Managed 80
Games Won 23
Games Drawn 21
Games Lost 36
Win Percentage 28.75%