The power-brokers at West Ham have had plenty to contend with off the field in the wake of their move to the London Stadium from their beloved Upton Park. There has been an uneasy relationship between supporters and the hierarchy over many matters resulting from the move; and the start to the campaign on the pitch didn’t, initially, do much to sweeten the deal for the likes of under-fire co-owners David Sullivan, David Gold or vice-chairman Karren Brady.
They have had to make decisions that have been liked by a few, and disliked my many. The two decision they are set to make next, according to the latest reports, will without doubt fall in the ‘liked’ category. For it is said that manager Slaven Bilic is about to be offered a new contract with the Hammers.
Former defender Bilic is a hugely popular figure among supporters and many believe that once the various distractions of switching to the old Olympic stadium fade, he is the man to lead the club forward.
Bilic’s current contract runs until mid-2018 but despite the aforementioned dodgy start to the season in their new home, the word is that West Ham will offer him a new and extended deal.
The other bolstered and extended contract said to be being made ready is one which will be presented to the increasingly impressive Michail Antonio; the reason for this seems to be the lingering threat of rival Premier League clubs dangling a big bucks deal in front of the powerful attacker.
Antonio had an inauspicious start to his career with non league outfit Tooting & Mitcham then went to Reading and went out on various loan deals; then pitched up at Sheffield Wednesday before switching to Nottingham Forest, from where he was signed by the Hammers in September 2015 for £7million.
He is clearly one to retain and Bilic has made it clear he values the jet-heeled midfielder. Ahead of the top flight game at home to Chelsea on Monday, he said:
“Of course, we would like Michail to stay. He is a key player for us, I rate him highly. We want to give him a new contract because he has been great for us. The chairman told me that he wants it to be done very soon. He’s got a deal but the club wants to reward him to show the recognition he deserves.”
Speaking of his own situation and regards his future at the club, Bilic said that nothing can be said without fear of contradiction, pointing to Leicester sacking Claudio Ranieri despite the Italian coach steering the Foxes to the Premier League title last season.
Bilic said: “I have a contract and I’m very happy here. At the start of the season we would have said, if anyone was safe in his job, we would all say Claudio Ranieri and look what happened to him.”