Hammers legend admits Bilic ‘fits the bill’
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Alvin Martin discusses decision to let Sam Allardyce leave Upton Park and how former team mate could replace him
West Ham legend Alvin Martin believes former team mate Slaven Bilic fits the bill to become the next manager at Upton Park after the club confirmed they expect to appoint their new boss in the next 48 hours.
A statement on the official website revealed the board had “cleared their diaries and spent the weekend meeting and interviewing applicants and, with the shortlist now narrowed down, talks are entering an advanced stage with the favoured candidtates.”
Bilic is the favourite for the job and Martin played with him in the 1995/96 campaign after the Croatian joined Hammers in January 1996.
The 56-year-old believes the former Besiktas and Lokomotiv Moscow boss has the qualities to replace Sam Allardyce at Upton Park.
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Martin, who spent 23-years at West Ham, was impressed with the job Bilic did as Croatia manager between 2006 and 2012. He also praised his former team mate for knocking Liverpool out of the Europa League last season when he was Besiktas boss.
“Slaven is experienced now. He hasn’t just come out of the game and gone straight into management,” said Martin.
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“He has done international football and that can sometimes be harder than club football and that probably set him up well for his last job in Turkey, which can be quite volatile.
“Slaven’s an intelligent man, I was there for a few months with him at West Ham and he is a thinker and a good man manager. He has the balance right about defending and also attacking and in the end Sam was too much in one way.
“When his Besiktas team played Liverpool this season they were perfectly set-up and I was really impressed with that and I think he is someone that would definitely fit the bill for West Ham.”
Martin went on to admit the time was right for Allardyce to depart Upton Park after doing a decent job during his four-year spell as manager.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle boss helped the Hammers achieve promotion to the Premier League and established them in the top flight again.
But West Ham favourite Martin felt Allardyce never truly satisfied the desire of the fans to see attractive football at the Boleyn.
He added: “I think the time was right for Sam to move on. I think he did a half decent job, I don’t think he pulled up any trees at West Ham. He did what he was expected to do and got us up from the Championship.
“I don’t think Sam could quite understand the fans but there is a certain type of football that has always been demanded at Upton Park. He would ask do people want stylish football or successful football and my answer would be we want both.
“People forget that West Ham have won FA Cups, finished in the top four of the league and got to League Cup finals playing good football. Under Harry Redknapp we had a team that was challenging in the top six playing good football so we have had our moments playing that way.”