On this day in 2010: West Ham sack manager Gianfranco Zola

On this day in 2010: West Ham sack manager Gianfranco Zola

Gianfranco Zola was sacked as West Ham manager on this day in 2010.

The Italy great had become the Hammers’ first overseas-born manager in September 2008, appointed as the permanent replacement for Alan Curbishley, who resigned in a dispute over transfer decisions just weeks into the season.

Zola, taking his first job in club management after moving into coaching with Italy’s under-21s, enjoyed an encouraging start as his side played with considerable flair and some success, finishing ninth in his first season.

That West Ham side was built around players like Mark Noble and Scott Parker in midfield, with Carlton Cole and Italian forward David Di Michele in attack.

They finished only two points shy of the European places at the end of that first season, and hopes were high for further progression in 2009/10 as Zola signed a new contract that extended his terms to 2013.

But things changed on and off the pitch during his second season in charge.

David Gold and David Sullivan completed their takeover of the club in January 2010 and were unimpressed as Zola’s side lurched through a disappointing campaign, with Gold calling their 3-1 defeat to Wolves “pathetic” as Sullivan refused to back the manager.

After a loss to Stoke in late March – West Ham’s sixth straight defeat – Zola himself said he had to reflect on whether or not he was the right man to lead the club forward, and things came to a head in another dispute over transfer policy.

West Ham finished a lowly 17th with 35 points, five points clear of the relegation zone, and two days later Zola was shown the door, having won 23 and lost 36 of his 80 games in charge.

West Ham would turn to Avram Grant while Zola went on to have spells in charge of Watford, Cagliari, Al-Arabi, and Birmingham.

Source: independent.co.uk