West Ham were close to agreeing a deal for the former Newcastle and QPR midfielder.
Bilic said: “We were thinking about Joey, I like him as a player. We had some talks and ideas about him but we decided in the end not to do it. It wasn’t the best timing. Joey is a great player and a good lad.”
Barton has been out of contract since he left QPR at the end of last season, and West Ham are looking to bring in midfield cover before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.
They were holding talks with Barton, before pulling out of a deal due to outrage from the fans, as per the Mirror.
Barton is a player who divides opinion like few others, and many believe he would have brought the honour of the club down if he was to sign.
Bilic has refused to confirm whether it was fan action which decided the cancellation of the move, suggesting it was ‘bad timing’, but it was a wise move to not see through the deal.
If Barton had been brought in against the wishes of many fans, the support would already have been on Bilic’s back - despite his impressive victory over Arsenal last weekend.
Instead, he has shown a vow of support to the fans by cancelling the deal, and that will likely give him further backing later in the season should he need it.