Luke Dowling: Slaven Bilic's 'aura' is perfect fit for West Brom

West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Slaven Bilic won the Baggies over with his enthusiasm for the role, the man who interviewed him has revealed.

Technical director Luke Dowling with new boss Slaven Bilic. (AMA)

Technical director Luke Dowling said Albion's new boss had a 'wonderful aura' about him at today's official unveiling at The Hawthorns.

He believes Bilic is the 'perfect fit' for Albion's next two years, and said the Croatian's energy and his passion for the role convinced the board to appoint him.

"What we got from Slaven is how much he wanted to come here," said Dowling. "Slaven doesn't need a Championship job, the fact that he wants it, and wants to bring his family over, and take the club back to the Premier League – that was a big factor for us.

"As well as what else he brings – he's got a wonderful aura about him, as a player and a manager.

"He's managed some great experienced players, and given some wonderful players their debuts, including the current Ballon d'Or winner in Luka Modric.

"With what we want to do here with the very talented experienced players and some of our younger ones coming through the academy, it was the perfect fit."

Bilic said his aim was to take the Baggies up to the Premier League, but Dowling says the board have not given him a set target.

Having handed him a two-year contract, Dowling hopes that in the scenario promotion isn't achieved in the first season, a foundation is set for second season.


"We've said to him we want progress," revealed Dowling. "Does that mean we finish third or above?

"Not necessarily, we want a certain style of football, organisation, and if we can blood one or two of the younger ones, we feel that would be progress.

"We also know that realistically a promotion chance is there. If it doesn't happen this year, it will happen next year."

Dowling interviewed five candidates for the role in person in the four weeks in between defeat to Aston Villa in the play-off semi-final and Bilic's appointment.


"I'd like to thank the candidates we did speak to, we did a thorough check and took our time but once we met this man there was only one person we wanted to lead us forward," he added. "We can't wait to get going.

"We didn't want to go out there and speak to 10 or 12 candidates, we narrowed it down to five for face-to-face meetings.

"But it sped up very quickly once we met Slaven. Within a day the negotiation was more or less done. I left the meeting knowing this is the man we wanted.

"We didn't go through 12, 13, 14 candidates. We believe there's only a certain amount of people that can manage this club."

Darren Moore was sacked in March and there was criticism from some sections of the fanbase over how long it took to find his permanent successor. But Dowling said he'd also received some positive feedback too.

"I'd like to thank the fans because we've had some wonderful messages to the board, backing us," he said.

"Going back to the Darren scenario, we decided to stay with Jimmy (Shan) until the end of the season so Slavan doesn't have any hangover from the play-offs.

"For many supporters out there, if we'd have said we're going to wait a month after Villa and we appoint this man, they'd accept it."


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