Slaven Bilic delighted to provide joy for West Brom fan base
Slaven Bilic says seeing Albion fans smiling is the best thing about winning promotion to the Premier League.
The Croatian head coach was appointed Baggies boss last June with the aim of getting the club back into the top flight within two seasons.
But he took just one with a draw against QPR on Wednesday seeing Albion end the 2019/20 campaign as runners-up in the Championship.
Following that game, thousands of fans flocked to The Hawthorns to sing the manager’s name and show their appreciation for the players.
That was despite warnings telling them to stay away due to Covid-19.
But Bilic said he understood why supporters were eager to celebrate with the team.
“You can’t stop it, and they behaved,” he said.
“It’s not a cliché, the fans are why we do this.
“Of course, I am proud for my family, I am proud of myself and my staff.
“We are professionals and it’s good for your career.
“I am proud of the players. It’s good for them, they get recognition, money blah, blah, blah.
“But it’s about the club and it’s about the fans.
“To do something and to see those people, kids, older people. When you are the reason they are smiling, that is unbeatable. You can’t buy that.”
Albion are likely to have just six weeks between their final game of the 2019/2020 season and their first match back in the Premier League.
September 12 has been earmarked as the start date for next season with the Baggies players having been told to rest and recuperate at home over the next three weeks.
But Bilic also wants them to enjoy their achievement.
“It’s a short break, six weeks,” the head coach added.
“But even if it was six hours you have got to enjoy it. You’ve got to enjoy these moments.”
Meanwhile, bookmakers have already started compiling odds for how the Baggies will get on in the Premier League.
Albion last won promotion back in the 2009/2010 season and went on to finish 11th in the top flight the following year.
The Baggies are 6/1 with to go one better than they did that year and finish in the top half of the table.
They are an 8/1 shot to finish the 2020/21 campaign higher than rivals Wolves.
Albion are also 1000/1 to win the Premier League, 150/1 for a Top 4 finish and 6/5 to be relegated.
Steve Freeth, from Bet365, said: “Albion did the double over Wolves in style the last time these two were in the Premier League with a 5-1 hammering in their own backyard, but a lot has changed at Molineux since then and you sense fans of Nuno’s side will be licking their lips at the renewal next season.”