Slaven Bilic's job is more secure following Dimitri Payet strike

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 13 January 2017, 10:45

Slaven Bilic's job is strangely a bit safer now that West Ham's best player Dimitri Payet has decided to go on strike, writes Andy Dillon (@andydillon70).

SLAVEN BILIC can breathe a huge sigh of relief now the real scale of his problems with Dimitri Payet have been aired in public.

Most managers would fear the worst if their best player caps a five month sulk by declaring he wants out and will not play for them again.

West Ham’s Croatian manager has been looking particularly troubled lately in what has undoubtedly been the toughest season of his life.

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Bilic always looks tired - that’s just him. But don’t be surprised if there is a bit more a sparkle about him now, a bit more energy now the truth is out.

Payet’s tantrum has made Bilic’s position as boss more secure than it has been for some time with the team struggling to string two passes together and an uneasy settling in period at the new London Stadium.

Sympathy from the fans will pour in his direction now it has emerged that Payet has been giving his team-mates the cold shoulder and demanding a pay rise almost every week.

It’s quite odd to read that the Frenchman has gone on strike. Most Hammers supporters thought he had been since last August anyway.

Results have been poor, the atmosphere poisonous at the new ground and there has been an FA Cup humiliation last week with a 5-0 beating by Manchester City.

And only one man is going to get the blame for all of that now - Payet.

Bilic’s awful summer signings; Gokhan Tore, Simone Zaza, Jonathan Callieri; all forgotten as the vitriol will be aimed at the bloke who wore the ‘27’ shirt for a year or so but now wants to leave.

Tomorrow’s game at home to Crystal Palace will be a surprisingly positive moment for West Ham.

Former manager Sam Allardyce will be welcomed back with a dictionary full of foul language, the supporters’ will have their tails up.

Payet’s treachery will galvanise the fans, it should galvanise the players and it could well end up saving Bilic’s job.

The boil has been lanced and it is now time for West Ham to openly plan for life without Payet.

Poor old Bilic has been having to do it for half a season already and can now look forward to Spring with a more positive attitude about his team and his own position.

Tomorrow’s match against Palace was viewed as must win for Bilic before the news of Payet’s petulance broke.

It is still a huge game but take a close look at West Ham’s manager in the wide open spaces of his dugout and see if there is not just the slightest hint of a smile in that craggy old face of his.

Tribute To Graham Taylor

FOOTBALL people find it easy to throw the word ‘genuine' and ‘legend’ around - particularly in death.

It is only when anecdotal evidence emerges that the true character of managers and players emerges.

Just over ten years ago my brother lost his wife to breast cancer, leaving two young boys without their mum.

The following summer I took on the London Marathon to raise money for a breast cancer charity and mentioned it to Graham during an informal meeting.

I didn’t know him that well but this charming Northerner with a secondary school PE teacher’s voice instantly insisted he should sponsor me with £100.

Not only that he gave me his private number and offered advice and support during the lonely and painful training leading up to the big event in 2007.

Graham Taylor wasn’t a close friend but he'll be missed more than our relationship warrants.


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