Struggling West Ham fire Bilic, line up Moyes as new coach

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Sacked West Ham's manager Slaven Bilic is shown in this Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Sacked West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic is shown in this Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

London (AP) – West Ham fired manager Slaven Bilic on Monday following the team’s slide into the English Premier League relegation zone and were set to hand David Moyes an opportunity to rebuild his coaching reputation as the successor.

Bilic was under pressure for weeks and acknowledged it was a “very logical move” to remove him after West Ham’s latest big loss, 4-1 at home to Liverpool on Saturday.

“Disappointed, but not in the club. I expected it,” Bilic said outside the West Ham training ground after meeting with members of the club’s board.

The West Ham co-chairmen said they wanted a new manager to “inject fresh ideas, organization and enthusiasm” into the team and seem to have settled on Moyes, who has been out of work since May when he quit Sunderland following their relegation from the Premier League.

A success at Everton from 2002-13, Moyes lasted only 10 months as Alex Ferguson’s hand-picked replacement at Manchester United before getting fired, the job proving far too big for him.

He was fired by Spanish team Real Socieded after a year in charge before a chastening 10-month spell at Sunderland, who he failed to keep in England’s lucrative top division.

Moyes was 1-20 with British bookmakers to fill the vacancy at West Ham, with British media reporting he will be hired on Tuesday.

“I’ve always said I want to go back into club management,” Moyes said in an interview with TV channel Bein Sports on Sunday, when speculation was rife about Bilic’s imminent departure. “If the right opportunity comes around, I’ll be interested.”

West Ham have won only two of their 11 matches in the Premier League and are in third-to-last place heading into the two-week international break.

Co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan have a track record of mostly standing by their managers, and Sullivan said last month he wanted to honor Bilic’s contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, “unless things are desperate.”

“Sadly, performances and results have not been of the expected standard,” Gold and Sullivan said in a statement , “and, in recent weeks, we have not seen enough indication of the required improvement to give us the encouragement that things would change and we would meet our Premier League aspirations this season.”

Bilic’s assistants, Nikola Jurcevic, Edin Terzic, Julian Dicks and Miljenko Rak, have also left the club with immediate effect but goalkeeping coach Chris Woods appears to have been retained.

Woods worked with Moyes at Everton and Man United, another indication of the identity of Bilic’s likely successor.

Bilic is the fourth manager to lose his job in the Premier League after Frank De Boer (Crystal Palace), Craig Shakespeare (Leicester) and Ronald Koeman (Everton).