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It Can’t All be Slaven’s Fault All the Time

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There’s more to the Iheanacho fallout than Bilic pulling the plug.

Burnley v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

This post is what we need, and for once it’s exactly what we deserve. It will be a bit of a rant, but we just can’t help it. We’re all fed up with West Ham United’s piss poor transfer policy. As our U.K. friends would say: it’s a shambles. We’re sick. We’re tired. Why the hell can’t David Gold and Mr. “Director of Football” David Sullivan just get it together and sign a striker? No, not Jonathan Calleri. Not Simone Zaza either. A real striker. A striker who has proven that he can score 15-20 goals a season. Someone like Kelechi Iheanacho, though that deal is long gone.

We here at BTH have inferred that when “Slaven pulls the plug” on a deal, it’s not really Slaven pulling the plug on the deal. Why would a manager not be involved in talks until the last minute? Why would the club be in talks with another club and agree a fee and all the specificities of a deal knowing that the manager doesn’t want the player and may just pull the plug? Why would the “Director of Football” not just tell the manager to stuff it because this is a player that the team needs, and the “Director of Football” knows what’s best for the squad?

I’ll tell you why: Slaven Bilic has become the board’s one and only scapegoat. Every signing that works out, Sullivan wants all of the credit for (Exhibit A: Dimitri Payet); every cheap South American loan signing that doesn’t work out, “Oh, Slaven wanted that player.” It happened with Töre, Calleri, Zaza (who had an unfair amount of pressure on him), and it will inevitably happen again when a signing doesn’t quite pan out the way supporters, or the board, would like. This club will never get as lucky as they did with Dimitri Payet again. Signing foreign players who aren’t Premier League-proven simply won’t cut it. Some will be decent, yes, but none will ever be as good as Payet. Dimitri was an exception. West Ham will never succeed until the team has a board, or, more specifically, a “Director of Football” who will take responsibility for his actions.

The worst part of all of this is that Slaven Bilic can’t take it to the media for risk of being forced out of a team that he’s passionate about. Slav is tactically Sam Allardyce, but he’s got the passion of Jürgen Klopp, and he’s been the most well-embraced manager that West Ham has had in years. Besides, who else would come manage the club after seeing the way Bilic has been treated?

We’ve sussed this out as much as we can, but know this: it’s highly improbable that Slaven Bilic is simply saying no to these transfer deals at the last minute. It’s highly more probable that David Sullivan didn’t like the buy-back clause in the deal for Kelechi Iheanacho and decided to pull the plug himself.

Couldn’t find it, so I wrote this article instead.

NOTE: This is all speculation based on discussion from the brilliant minds who write for and participate in BTH’s chats. I do not know any of this to be true. This is an opinion piece. But, in my opinion, anyone with a brain can see that all of the blame can’t be on Slaven all of the time. This is the board using Slav as a scapegoat for their poor business.