Filed: Wednesday, 10th September 2008
By: Staff Writer
Gianfranco Zola has agreed a three-year deal to succeed Alan Curbishley as West Ham United manager.
KUMB.com revealed last night how Zola had agreed to take the job and the club spent today thrashing out the fine details with the former Italian international's lawyers in London today.
Terms were finally agreed late this afternoon and Zola will fly in to London sometime tomorrow in order to put pen to paper on a contract that keeps him tied to United until 2011.
A unnamed 'senior club source', talking to the BBC this evening claimed that Zola had been the club's main target from the start - which attempting to allay fears regarding Zola's lack of managerial experience.
"Gianfranco was our first choice," said the source. "We were very comfortable with the three options we had - Zola, Donadoni and Collins - but Gianfranco came out on top.
"It's true that he has no experience of managing a club side, but he knows the Premier League very well. His English is very good and he can talk about football with English players and inspire them.
"He has a record of developing young footballers, which is very important to us, and was obviously a world-class player. Experienced players like to have a manager they can respect as a footballer."
Zola will travel with the team and temporary manager Kevin Keen to Birmingham this weekend for the clash with West Bromwich Albion and formally take control next Monday.
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by Aldgate Tel
06:46PM 11th Sep 2008
''I think it's about the only thing the board have done right lately. Zola is a charismatic personality, has a wealth of international experience and respect in the game. To be quite honest I am surprised he came to us, lets face it - we are not exactly numbered as a European force.
I think we are so lucky to get this guy, it may take him a couple of years but the ride will be worth it, he will be a breath of fresh air, and I am sure he will bring our youngsters on. Ferdinand and McCarthy must be sick, jumping ship just before rescue arrived. Lets get behind Zola, cheer him and the team to the rafters next week.''
05:04PM 11th Sep 2008
''Whatever we feel, we have got to back him. By the way - who was the best ever West Ham manager? I'd vote for Ron Greenwood - who did he play for? Oh yes, Chelsea.''
04:03PM 11th Sep 2008
''Why is everyone so worried about Zola's Chelsea 'background'? I am old enough to recall when Ron Greenwood, our greatest ever manager, joined the club also via one of our London rivals. Didn't do us much harm did it!
It is about time Hammers fans returned to their own traditional values and once again were respected for their knowledge of the game rather than forever bitching about individuals! As long as an emphasis remains on youth development and an attempt is made to incorporate our home grown talent into a stable squad environment I for one would be delighted to see Zola succeed!''
03:03PM 11th Sep 2008
''I think that the appointment of Zola is a great decision. Out of the list of candidates he soon became the number one choice. We complained about dour, long ball football. Now we worry about past club associations and seeming lack of experience at top level.
Look at it this way. He doesn't have any baggage. What failures? He seems the type to show passion and commitment. He is a thinker and will get the respect of our players both full squad and youth. We have him for three years. That is the reported deal. If we want to get into Europe and do well there, it is our job as supporters to get behind him.
This is the only way to success. The old days are gone. The Zola era will bring bright attacking football. That is what it is about.''
02:22PM 11th Sep 2008
''I think that out of all the candidates, Franky Zola shines through as the best. As a player he was classy and magnificent and when I used to see him run rings round us while playing for Chelsea, I always wished we could have a little bit of him at West Ham.
I think that his professionalism, dedication to training, technique, style and discipline will work wonders for our club. I never bear any I'll grudge against a guy who use to play for any of our hated rivals and then comes to us ... in fact enjoy the moment because a lot of Chealsea fans in my office are gutted!''
01:18PM 11th Sep 2008
''What is it with some postings talking about West Ham traditions? What tradition is that? Not winning anything for almost 30 years or constantly playing long balls to the big front men?
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect a different result. For the first time the board have used an objective and business-like recruitment process rather than employ either a 'fans' favourite' or an out of work Champioship quality English coach and for that they're to be applauded.
Gianfranco Zola may lack experience of club management but with the right team and support around him his obvious passion and desire to want to do the job will make him a success. Can we also bury this nonsense about him having played for Chelsea, so did Carlton Cole and Scott Parker - so what!
For the first time in 18 months I'm again looking forward to watching games because we might see some entertaining and creative football something that's been sadly lacking of late. I for one believe that the board breaking with tradition in selecting the new manager will lead to a return of the right traditions on the pitch.
Good Luck Gianfranco.''
by Rob C
01:07PM 11th Sep 2008
''If Zola goes onto manage Chelsea in 3 years time it will only be because he's been very successful at WHU. I'm talking the kind of success that will mean we'd have beaten Chelsea a number of times and qualified for the Champions League. If this is the case and then goes to Chelsea fine - we'll just replace him with Mourinio.''
12:09PM 11th Sep 2008
''"Can we not get a manager with any experience?"....well yes, we could have got Fat Sam, Souness or Billy Davies ... personally I'd much rather have Zola. I'm sure Derby thought they'd done really well to land the experienced Paul Jewel ... ooops.
I think Zola will be a breath of fresh air for the team (and he might even be able to teach Faubert how to dribble with the ball) but my concern is still with the Board and the potential conflict over wanted/unwanted players between Zola and Nani/Kia.''
by Romford Steve
12:08PM 11th Sep 2008
''Well I wont deny that I really fancied Mancini with Paulo as his No.2 but the club never asked me what I wanted. Never have, never will. Just hope that he manages to bring back a type of play that we as supporters have wanted to see for ages. Gutsy and stylish - like Bonzo on the attack or like Brooking or Devo just gliding past players - players with some balls like Psycho Dave Cross - or Julian Dicks.
Well I wish him well, he's got his work cut out and if he wants to make managerial work his future - even if its to move on later he's gonna have to make by beloved West Ham a success. And anyone who can do that gets my backing now where's me bleedin' zimmerframe!''
by stuart winzar
11:22AM 11th Sep 2008
''What a disgrace. The board have no idea about West Ham traditions. Look what happened last time we appointed an outsider as manager. Just watch the team change to all foreigners nobody's heard of. West Ham should have a West Ham man at the helm and British player in the team.
I hope I`m wrong, if we play the West Ham way and start winning trophies I`ll be pleased to eat my words. ''
08:58AM 11th Sep 2008
''Right at the start I should say that I am more than happy to give Zola a chance, mainly for the style of football that hopefully he will have us play. God knows we need some fun back at the club.
But I do have some real reservations. The "senior source" said; "He has a record of developing young footballers, which is very important to us, and was obviously a world-class player. Experienced players like to have a manager they can respect as a footballer." All very well of course but isn't there one small qualification missing from this list, like EVER having managed a club side before?
It's ok for MK Dons to try out Paul Ince and Roberto Di Matteo. Ince worked for them and it sounds to me that Di Matteo ticks all the same "senior source" boxes as Zola. But as a lower league side they have to take those risks. Is that sort of risk taking really what we are reduced to?
The other thing, which is more of an irritation, but a big factor nevertheless, is when that smug git John Terry says: "He's managed the [Italy] under-21s for a while and has a bit more experience. It will be great for him and maybe Gigi to take the job and get more experience and hopefully get the experience to one day become Chelsea manager."
I'm sure that's the way many others, and probably Zola too is looking at it. As things stand, any success that Zola gets with us will be tainted by the fact that its all just a stepping stone onto what he will see as bigger and better things with his old club.
So there we have it. Rather than the genuine feel good factor that would have occurred with Bilic or PDC (both of whom also carried an element of risk), or the great track record that would come with Mancini or even Donadoni, instead we get the risk AND that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that somehow this is not right for West Ham. As things stand this morning we just feel even more like a feeder club for Chelsea and others. The appointment of Zola may answer a few questions but it does nothing to give the morale boost that supporters desperately need and leaves us in a continued state of uncertainty. The club are taking a very big risk.''
by Lewis Erentrauts
07:16AM 11th Sep 2008
''Not sure what to think of the appointment. Great players don't always make good managers. We wait and see. As a season ticket holder for the first time, it's been a rollercoaster ride already. Lets give the guy a chance even if he is ex Chelsea (although I am slightly concerned by his lack of management).
I believe he will receive a good reception when Newcastle roll into town next Saturday. The odds on us going to Chelsea and winning at the Bridge?''
by durham iron
12:42AM 11th Sep 2008
''what on earth is going on at West Ham?
Can we not get a manager with any experience?
Do we have to rely on a ex-Chelsea player to pull us out of the mire that the board has put us in? Do they [the board] think we will accept anybody they choose? It was bad enough the likes of Cole/Lampard etc going to Chelsea...
but then again after the way the board treated curbs,,they think that they can get away with anything,,,''
11:02PM 10th Sep 2008
''I think this could be a great thing for the Hammers.''
by Lamb Behrami
10:23PM 10th Sep 2008
''Woooo, can't wait!''
by john brand
10:17PM 10th Sep 2008
''I'm pleased with Zola being our new manager, if he can manage as well as he played we will be a very entertaining side and hopefully start playing the type of football we crave at this great club. Forget about his Chelsea contacts he's going to be a part of our club now, hopefully the players will respond to him.''
10:07PM 10th Sep 2008
''Like many, Zola's Chelsea connection has felt uncomfortable but at least the rest of the season should be a lot more interesting than it was looking!
09:56PM 10th Sep 2008
''Welcome to the best supported club in the world Gianfranco, bring us glory with style and you will be a hero well beyond anything you experienced at Stamford Bridge. Forza West Ham!''
by Dave Tarbuck
09:47PM 10th Sep 2008
''Zola - a wonderful player but not a Hammer, if ever Chelsea come calling he will be off. On the other hand Di Canio is a total Hammer who played his heart out and the West ham board did not even give him a chance.''
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