Slaven Bilic may enrage certain Everton fans, and for good reason.
Like the vintage windbreaker that found its prime years after its original release, Bilic hit form at the ripe old age of 29 just in time for West Ham United. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the Toffees who “profited” from the dregs of what was left of his short-lived topflight success.
The welcome parade had all but spent it’s confetti and party poppers by the time Slaven Bilic joined two months after he was convinced by Joe Royle back in March 1997.
Bilic introduced a little something extra to a relatively average backline, but it was hardly revolutionary stuff. And the few qualities he brought with him were vastly outweighed by misjudgement and frustration.
We must admit, we all love a hard tackler, even a hothead at times; it shows they have passion and love for the shirt. But when these tendencies impede actual ability they very quickly become a source of annoyance, and Bilic’s disciplinary record pretty snuggly fits into this category, with six yellow cards, one-second yellow, and two red cards – equalling a total of nine games missed through suspension.
Need we mention the own goal he scored in the opening five minutes of Everton’s Highbury Humbling against Arsenal?
Despite being one of the many players expected to leave the club in the summer, a positive World Cup leading Croatia to third place meant he managed to hold on to his Toffees career for another term. Not that he saw much action, though. Due to his efforts over the summer, Bilic picked up a “groin strain” which mysteriously meant he had to spend four (yes, four) months back in his homeland of Croatia. Not the wisest of moves.
By 1999 Everton were ready to cut their losses and sent Bilic’s agent of like a maggot on the end of a fishing rod in the hope that some sucker would bite. Harry “Wheeler Dealer” Redknapp nibbled, but just before the Toffees could real him in, he slipped off the line. The Hammers quite rightly concerned about his long-term fitness.
Everton eventually agreed to give him a £1million payoff in February 2000 and sent the undeserving weasel back off to Hajduk Split.
Bilic has since embarked on a pretty woeful management career (not counting Croatia of course) which has taken him from Russia to Turkey, England and Saudi Arabia. West Ham may have been kind to him in his first season, but as we have learned so many times before, consistency is not exactly his forte. He was sacked in 2017 after two years in charge.
Bilic’s most recent position, an embarrassingly short stint at Al-Ittihad with a points-per-game ration of 1.00
Everton fans, what are your standout memories of Slaven Bilic, if any? Join the discussion by commenting below…
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience