Now that Gianfranco Zola has secured West Ham’s position as a Premier League club for a further season and his awkward relationship with co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan should now come to an end.
The Guardian has reported that the former Chelsea player had originally intended to walk away from the club at the end of the season, but he is seeking a settlement over a contract which has two years to run and is worth £1.9m per annum. Payoff or no it is best for all concerned that the Italian should leave Upton Park this summer, surely?
It’s suggested that Zola’s recent u-turn on the payoff issue has come about because the players (most importantly star man Scott Parker) have publicly backed their manager, which has caused him to become increasingly defiant over his position.
The West Ham coach is set to discuss his future with his employers after the season ends on May 9. Co-owner Sullivan said:
“Franco has indicated he doesn’t want to discuss his position until the end of the season and that’s fine by us,
“We shall ask him what he has in mind, we will see what he wants to do.”
Sullivan is yet to publicly back Chelsea legend Zola, but recently Gold had intimated that he was happy with the manager after he made them all but mathematically safe from relegation. That is all well and good but why has it taken so long to publicly back the man who has had the Sword of Damocles over his head all season? Why did the players have to speak out first?
This is not the first time that new owners have come in and wanted their own man in charge of their club. As a Chelsea fan I had to witness Claudio Ranieri face awkward questioning about his job (when we all knew he wouldn’t be there for the next season) in the 2003/04 season after Roman Abramovich bought the club.
Anyone who has had the pleasure to meet Zola knows how much of a nice guy and a gentleman he is. I think most neutrals will have felt sorry for him this season as he was a player that everyone appreciated, but nice guys seem to finish last. I doubt he was the right choice for the club in the first place as he was inexperienced in the role and had no natural affinity with West Ham.
It would definitely be better for all concerned if the powers that be at West Ham go and get their own man for the job and Zola seeks out another job. Perhaps Carlo Ancelotti should give him a call in regards to an assistant manager role as Ray Wilkins seems to have become nothing more than a translator.
West Ham will have to keep hold of their best players and strengthen the squad for next season, which is set to be tougher as the quality of teams coming up are undoubtedly better than the likes of Hull, Burnley and Portsmouth. But who will the Hammers opt for? Another former Chelsea man in Avram Grant? Wally with the brolly Steve McClaren? Or former West Ham player Slaven Bilic perhaps?
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