West Ham appoint Zola
Thursday 11 September 2008
Gianfranco Zola has promised to give the West Ham squad the full benefit of his 20 years in football after being named as the club's new manager.
Italy and Chelsea legend Zola has agreed a three-year deal at Upton Park, replacing Alan Curbishley, who resigned earlier this month in disagreement with the Hammers' management structure.
Zola said: "I'm delighted to be here. It is a great honour for me to be involved in such an important job.
"I can promise to do my best to make good for this club. The club has got tradition and I am just here to help develop the team and to develop the players.
"That is my duty and I will do it with all of myself.
"I will give to these players all of my experience and all of my knowledge - I am here to be somebody good for them.
"That is my aim and I will do everything I can to succeed in this."
Zola's previous coaching role was with the Italy Under-21 side and although he admits his managerial CV in thin, he is confident in his abilities.
"I know I am not the most experienced manager around but I have ideas, I have been in football for 20 years.
"I know what we're talking about and I will certainly give something to this club; whether it is enough or not we will see. But I have a lot of knowledge of the game and the players will help me with this."
Zola said he hoped his second stint in English football will be as successful as the seven he spent as a player with Chelsea.
"I will never forget my first seven years with Chelsea," he continued.
"I hope that my next few years will be as successful as the first seven, that's my aim.
"People have to understand that's my job and I will do everything I can do to make it work."
He did admit, however, that he had found the decision to leave his old job as assistant to Pierluigi Casiraghi with the Italian Under-21s a tough one.
"I was doing something I liked very much. It was a very good experience working with young players. At the beginning I was a bit uncertain (about taking the Hammers job).
"I liked what I was doing but this is a great occasion and a great club. I couldn't say no and I am pleased to have accepted it. It's great opportunity and I'm sure i can do a great job for this club."
The Italian rejected the idea that he would find it difficult to work within the current structure of the London club.
Curbishley left the Hammers after accusing the board of interfering in transfer policy.
"My job is to develop the team on the pitch," he said.
"My first duty is to develop the team and I will report to the director. He is not working against me, I am sure that he will help me instead."
Zola also dismissed concerns that having an Italian at the helm would subject supporters to boring football, insisting his team would go on the attack.
"My philosophy is to play offensive football if I can because I trust it," said Zola.
"We have to make it enjoyable for the players and then for the crowd. We will have to be a balanced team and the philosophy will be to play offensively."
Zola has spoken of his desire to return to Stamford Bridge as manager one day, but the Italian insisted he was only focused on the task in hand at Upton Park.
"I like to think that this is a very important part of my life and I will be totally focused on West Ham," he said.
"I don't know what I will be doing in the future, who knows? But what's important now is the present and that this club has faith in me."
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