From the Newsroom - ‘Bilic is an excellent choice’

Evening Standard correspondent Ken Dyer believes Slaven Bilic is an excellent appointment. 

The experienced journalist, who has covered West Ham United for over 40 years, described his delight upon hearing the news that the 46-year-old Croatian had been named Hammers boss. 

“I’m delighted," he confirmed. "With all the names mentioned and there were some very high profile names been talked about, I always thought Slaven Bilic was a really good candidate. 

“I remember him as a player when he played for us in the mid-90s, he has a big, big personality. He’s very charismatic and intelligent.”

Despite playing in a claret and blue shirt for a little under two seasons, Dyer remembers his exploits well. 

“He was only here for a short time but he was very popular. All fans like to identify with what they think is one of their own. I think he enjoyed his time at the Club and it was one of the happiest, if not the happiest time, in his playing career. 

“I’ve followed his career ever since then. He broke into management and I interviewed him after Croatia played England at Wembley in 2008. 

“I also went over to Croatia to speak to him a few years later at a training camp and he remembered me. He’s very charming and good to the media. I think it’s an excellent choice.” 

Following Bilic’s time in east London, he made the move to Everton, where he would stay for three seasons. 

Dyer expressed his belief that it was this connection to the Club and the experience of playing in the Premier League that attracted the Croat back to England. 

“He regards London as one of his favourite cities. I’ve heard Igor Stimac being interviewed talking about how much affection he had for the Club. He knows the fans and he knows what they want. 

“He’s very passionate, he’ll get his teams playing attacking football within a framework. He knows what’s needed. He knows that the priority is Premier League football. He’s not going to get carried away.

"I think he’ll play through the midfield, he’s worked with some very good players, and that’s what he did with Croatia.”

With the managerial announcement widely celebrated by Hammers fans, it won’t be long before Bilic takes to the Hammers’ dugout for the first time as they are due to start their Europa League qualification campaign on Thursday 2 July. 

However, this is a fact that Dyer believes can work to the Irons' advantage: “He’s going to have to hit the ground running but he knows the Europa League which is an added bonus. 

“At the same time, he’s only got three weeks until it starts so he hasn’t got much time to hang about. He’ll have to get straight in there and plan it sensibly. 

“We’ve seen the pitfalls that the Europa League can bring, if you look at Everton last season. But he should know about that with his time from Besiktas, he’s got that experience.”