Video - Fans' Forum

Slaven Bilic, Aaron Cresswell, James Tomkins and Carl Jenkinson faced the fans in a tough Q&A

Watch the highlights from the Fans' Forum as Slaven Bilic, Aaron Cresswell, Carl Jenkinson and James Tomkins were quizzed by West Ham United supporters

Hundreds of Hammers fans attended a Fans’ Forum with Slaven Bilic, Aaron Cresswell, Carl Jenkinson and James Tomkins at the Boleyn Ground.

During the grilling, the new manager and three players were questioned on all things West Ham related, from the win over Arsenal and the impact of the new signings to their aims for the upcoming season. 

“I don’t have a name for the way I like my teams to play, sometimes you have to flexible. But you can always have principles, some things that never change. 

“We will always work hard, stick together as a team and look to play to our strengths. We want to be exciting, we want to play good football.”

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Bilic was the main focus of the questioning. His tactical philosophy, reasons for returning to east London and his future plans for the Hammers all came under heavy scrutiny yet he batted away the inquisition with aplomb, and held the 200-strong crowd in rapt attention. 

“Even the bad days at Chadwell Heath were enjoyable, it was like a family there. That was one of the reasons why I came back. West Ham is my club. I am connected, my son was born in London.

“West Ham is a big club, but it can still grow. It’ll take time, not just one season, but after several years, with the right decisions, who knows where we’ll be.” 

On a more light-hearted note, he was quizzed on his appointment of former teammate Julian Dicks. He responded emphatically, and to the delight of the audience: “Julian is a former teammate, someone I know, someone I trust. He says what he feels, and you need that honestly. Julian Dicks is a gift from God!”
While the gaffer was certainly kept busy, the three defenders did not get off lightly.

First local boy James Tomkins was quizzed on his cameo at right-back at the Emirates “I really enjoyed it, winning 2-0, it’s impossible not to really! I wasn’t sure before the game whether it would work out, but thankfully it did. Now I know how hard it is, I won’t give as much stick to Jenks and the other full backs.”

Jenkinson, technically still an Arsenal player, was caught in the middle following Sunday’s triumph, however, the right-back emerged unscathed and described his delight at being back at the Boleyn Ground for the final season.

“I was actually buzzing that the boys won, I’m a West Ham player and I want us to do as well as possible.

“Coming back to West Ham is dream come true. I enjoyed every minute of it last season. After the Euros I sat down with my agent and said ‘I’d only leave Arsenal for West Ham’ and thankfully that’s happened.”

Last but by no means least, Hammer of the Year Aaron Cresswell was also put to the test. First asked about his reported connection to a move away to Chelsea or Manchester City, the left-back laughed: “You’re the first person who’s told me! But seriously, I’m very happy at West Ham, they gave me my opportunity in the Premier League and I am very grateful for that.

“Last season was great for me but I know I can improve. It’s an exciting time and I’m very happy to be part of it.”

With the European Championships just around the corner, the former Tranmere Rovers and Ipswich Town man carried on to state his ambition of one day representing his country. 

“It’s every player’s dream to represent their country. It’s something I’ve not done, all I can do is work hard and see what happens. I’m still relatively young so I’ve got time on my side.”