West Ham board undermined Zola says Cottee

Former West Ham striker Tony Cottee believes the timing of Gianfranco Zola's dismissal was correct but criticised the club's new regime for undermining the Italian during his reign at Upton Park.

Zola was this morning sacked by the east London club after a disappointing season which saw them narrowly escape relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Cottee is relieved Zola's future has been resolved now rather than rumbling on over the summer.

He told Sky Sports News: "I am pleased they haven't messed around and it dragged on for months.

"If they are going to do it, get it done, but the fans will judge it on the calibre of the manager coming in.

"I think Gianfranco has done a decent job in difficult circumstances.

"It hasn't been easy for him, everything that could have gone wrong at West Ham has gone wrong.

"And at the end of the season Gianfranco and the players have done well to stay up.

"But having said that the results haven't been good enough and obviously the board have now made a decision."

The arrival of new owners David Gold and David Sullivan in January saw a weakening in Zola's position with Sullivan apologising to supporters for a "shambolic" and "pathetic" performance against Wolves in March.

There have also been suggestions Zola was unaware of moves to make the entire first team squad - bar Scott Parker - available for transfer and kept in the dark over a bid for West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans.

Cottee added: "What I would criticise them (the board) for is not sacking him when they first arrived at the club.

"It did appear right from the start that Zola was not their man.

"Various things have happened through the season that have undermined the management and the players, emails and things getting into the press. That doesn't make for a happy camp. I don't think the board handled it very well."

Cottee believes Croatia boss and former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic is the man to transform the club's fortunes.

He said: "The fans want a manager who will bring success. The right man for me is Slaven Bilic, I think he is head and shoulders above the other candidates.

"I would love to see him return to West Ham.

"He has had a great experience with Croatia but they didn't qualify for the World Cup and if West Ham could give him an escape route I think he would take it.

"He has a lot of passion for the club and still has a place in London."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence