Former West Ham stars including Rio Ferdinand give their backing to Slaven Bilic appointment

West Ham Upton Park

Ex West Ham United stars including Rio Ferdinand, Tony Cottee and Trevor Sinclair have hailed the appointment of Slaven Bilic as the club's new manager.

Bilic was named as the successor to Sam Allardyce on Tuesday afternoon and will formally take charge when he returns from a family holiday.

The appointment has been welcomed by many fans who feel the former Besiktas and Croatia manager will reignite some passion that was perhaps missing in East London.

But not all Hammers fans are convinced with a number citing Bilic's lack of Premier League experience and genuine success at club level as reasons why he should not have landed the Boleyn Ground hotseat.

Some fans are also irked by the references to the charasmatic boss as a "legend" at the club.

While the Upton Park faithful appreciated his wholehearted displays and skill as a defender in the claret and blue, they also remember how he left for Everton in pursuit of trophies after just 18 months.

But the appointment has gone done well with respected former players, some of whom shared a dressing room with Bilic during his time in the East End.

Ferdinand, Cottee and Sinclair were joined by Marlon Harewood, Iain Dowie and Steve Potts in singing the praises of Bilic and West Ham for appointing him.

Ferdinand, one of West Ham's finest ever Academy products, lavished praise on the 46-year-old, telling BT Sport - for whom he will be a Champions League pundit next season - that it is a "solid appointment".

"He had 18 months at West Ham where he was a very good player and someone I looked up to as a defender," Ferdinand said.

"He was a fantastic guy, a great professional. That's what he'll bring to West Ham and he'll put his stamp on the team.

"I think West Ham fans will see good things with him as manager."

Sinclair, one of West Ham's finest wingers of the modern era, said he expects "big" things from Bilic at his old club.

Taking to social networking site Twitter, Sinclair said: "Congrats to West Ham on the Slaven Bilic appointment, hope he's gotta few rough diamond unknown Croatian players up his sleeve."

 

Harewood, who scored 47 goals for the Hammers including a famous FA Cup semi-final winner over Middlesbrough back in 2006, tweeted: "So happy West Ham have appointed Slaven Bilic as their new manager and hope he succeeds, good times ahead!"

 

Dowie, who played alongside Bilic during the Croat’s 15-month stay at West Ham from February 1996 to May 1997, said Big Sam will be a tough act to follow but has backed his old teammate to do well.

He told Sky Sports: "Slaven is obviously someone they think can maybe come in and give a little bit of spark. I’ve got to say, it’s not an easy job."

Cottee, who scored 115 goals for the club over two spells, has backed his old teammate to be a success despite a lack of Premier League management experience.

"The most important thing is that he played for the club and he knows what it means to be a West Ham player," Cottee told West Ham's official website.

"He knows what the fans want and had a great rapport during his short time at the club. He knows what style they are wanting to see when they spend their hard earned money to come and watch the team."

And Potts, the club's development squad coach - who played alongside Bilic in West Ham's defence in the 90s - also told West Ham's official website: "He has always had very, very good leadership qualities.

"He’s an infectious character and he could certainly motivate players around him. He’s obviously taken that quality into management."

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