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Slaven Bilic: 'Massive club' West Brom was an easy choice

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Slaven Bilic has paid tribute to Albion's history at his official unveiling – saying it took him less than 24 hours to agree to become boss of such a 'massive club'.

Slaven Bilic (AMA)

Speaking in the Richardson Suite of The Hawthorns flanked by technical director Luke Dowling, he explained why he chose the Baggies over other offers.

Bilic has signed a two-year contract, and is aware there are long-term aims for the club to consider, but he revealed his aim was to get promotion in his first season.

"It feels great," he said. "I would like to thank Luke and the club for giving me an opportunity and this privilege to be the manager of such a big club.

"I knew where I was coming. I'm not British but I've spent some time of my life here playing and managing, it was my wish to come back to England.

"The Championship was always on my bucket list, it was one of my boxes I wanted to tick before I retired.

"Not only that, but I've got the opportunity to be the manager of a massive club for this league.

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"And when I heard about the project it made me very tempted and it was only positive thinking about it.

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"It took me one day to say yes. It wasn't a big negotiation. I wanted to come here. Also, the club really wanted me. That is the most important thing.

"From then it was obvious that I'm going to choose this. It's a big responsibility but I can't wait to start.

"We have a big task in front of us and we're going to give everything."

Bilic has managed in the footballing hotbed of Turkey, but he revealed he was blown away by the atmosphere at Albion's final game of last season, the play-off semi final second leg against Villa.

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"It's not easy to play here (at The Hawthorns)," he said. "It's one of those clubs you can use the atmosphere to help you.

"I could feel the atmosphere in that second game against Villa through the telly. I spoke to people about it the next morning in the coffee shop. This is proper football."

Bilic's appointment has been well received by the majority of the Albion fanbase, with 82 per cent of voters on an Express & Star poll saying they were happy with it.

"That means a lot," said Bilic. "It's a massive club. What makes this club massive? History and the fans. They are very demanding but also very loyal.

"It's not a trendy club, it's not a five-year-old club, it's not an investment club, and suddenly it's a big club, it's a very traditional club, a family club, but also very big.

"I'm going to try to get back to the Premier League because to be fair, short term or long term, that is where this club belongs.

"Unfortunately it's not only us who are big, maybe half of the league can say the same thing.

"But West Brom has got something special, they were very recently in the Premier League.

"Last year, they kept almost everybody. Now we're going to see what happens during the window. I'm sure we'll do everything to be in the position before it starts."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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