West Ham United captain Mark Noble has suggested Slaven Bilic knew the Dimitri Payet saga was the beginning of the end for him.
Bilic was sacked by West Ham in November 2017 with the club mired in a relegation battle.
The popular Croat had led the Hammers to their best ever Premier League points total in the last season at Upton Park.
It was also the first time West Ham finished with a positive goal difference in the top flight since 1986.
Bilic also gave supporters the wonderful memory of that 3-2 comeback win over Manchester United in the last ever game at their beloved Boleyn Ground.
Noble reveals crestfallen Bilic comment
Many put his ensuing struggles down to the big move to the London Stadium.
But now skipper Mark Noble has suggested Bilic knew the writing was on the wall after the Dimitri Payet saga.
Payet went on strike to force a move back to Marseille. The saga was a watershed moment for Bilic’s tenure and the boss was very much undermined by the ordeal.
Discussing player power in his latest Evening Standard column, Noble revealed something Bilic once said to him which still resonates to this day.
“I’ve always thought that if I become a manager one day, I’d rather lose my job and stick to my beliefs than give in to player power,” Noble told the Evening Standard.
‘Once the box is open…’
“If any player — no matter if he is our best player — is not working for the team or training properly, then he would not play in my team. I understand players having an influence — and the rumours are that this could have been a factor at Leicester — but is it more the case that the manager is not getting the best out of the players and they become ever more frustrated?
“But I remember our former boss Slaven Bilic saying to me: “Once the box is open, it rarely closes — and it normally only ends one way.”
New career low for Slav
That was certainly the case for Bilic after the Payet saga.
West Ham are back in a good place now under Manuel Pellegrini.
Bilic however is not.
His career hit a new low after he was axed less than six months into his new job at Al-Ittihad last week, read full story here.