Thursday, February 11

Slaven seems to understand

Slaven Bilic's comments after the Liverpool match proved he knows exactly what West Ham fans want. Bilic said: "It is a special night. Yes, tomorrow is a new day and we have to concentrate on Norwich tomorrow but tonight there is no harm at all in saying this is a special night for our club. I'm so proud and happy for my players and proud of everyone that has any connection with the club because it is a great night for West Ham. OK, it is only for the last 16 but it was a late night kick-off, it was against Liverpool, it's our last season at Upton Park, it's over 120 minutes and we scored with a great header in the last second of the game despite having injuries. We overcame all of that so that is why this game will go down as one of the greatest nights and games in West Ham's history."

Yes, he exaggerated a little by claiming that it was one of the greatest nights in West Ham's history. But he spoke of emotion, pride, heart and special nights. In many ways the winning goal was straight from the Big Sam textbook; a set-piece and a thumping header. But whereas Allardyce would have spoken pragmatically about grinding out a result, Bilic appears to get what being a fan is all about and realises that a win under the lights is always something special. He appears to understand the romance of football.

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