West Ham fans want Sam Allardyce out and Slaven Bilic in and, after the latter announced he will be leaving the Turkish club at the end of the season, that dream took another step to becoming a reality.
The Hammers are widely expected to wave goodbye to Allardyce if not at the final whistle of their final game against Newcastle on Sunday, which they are 7/2 to win, then pretty soon afterwards.
The man favoured to take the reins is former Irons defender Bilic, who stoked the fires of managerial rumour by first stating he was ready to hold talks over any potential vacancy with the east Londoners, then announcing his imminent departure from his current club.
As manager of Besiktas since 2013, Bilic has won over half of the 90 games he has taken charge of and this season looks set to guide them to a third-place finish in the Super Lig, behind long-standing powerhouses Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.
Although the fans may yearn for his appointment, is there any reason other than his popularity that make him a good fit for the claret and blue club? Here’s three:
1) Nous on the road
No side has been better than Besiktas on the road during the Turkish domestic season this term, with the Black Eagles winning 12 of the 16 away games they have played in the league to date.
Although their third-ranked attack obviously catches the eye when playing away from home, it is a rock-solid defence that helps Bilic claim so many points in opposition stadiums.
The Istanbul club have kept seven clean sheets in their away games this season and have conceded just 11 goals in that time, which would be a welcome change for the Hammers if the Croat were to bring that tight ship to east London.
West Ham have hovered just above the relegation zone in terms of away results during the current campaign, have conceded 27 goals in their 18 games and managed just two clean sheets.
2) Fortress building
While their exemplary record away from home takes the headlines, Besiktas’ home form under Bilic this season has been nothing to turn the nose up either.
Only three teams have arrived at the club’s Olympic Stadium and come away with all three points, while only five draws indicates that the former Croatian manager will strive for positive results, music to the ears of expectant Hammers fans.
3) Fan affiliation
It cannot be ignored. Clearly the West Ham fans want one of their supposed “own” in charge of their club, making Allardyce’s services obsolete despite the stellar job he has done to turn the club into a more aesthetically pleasing unit on the board’s request.
No matter what the former Bolton man does, it seems, will be appreciated by the majority of Irons but, with a man they adore in charge, their may well be a chance for the club to push on with all sections holding a mutual respect for each other.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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