With Dimitri Payet refusing to play for West Ham in an attempt to force a move away from London Stadium, Hammers manager Slaven Bilic has slammed the player, saying he’s “let down and angry” that Payet would betray the club after “we gave him everything.”
Well, a gem unearthed by a number of English papers show that Slaven Bilic should be the last to throw shade in Payet’s direction.
Back in 1997, while Bilic played for West Ham under manager Harry Redknapp as a 29-year-old defender, the Croatian did nearly the exact same thing, causing Redknapp to explode in his own way to the media.
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“He’s on a fantastic contract, the highest paid player in the club’s history,” Redknapp said in March of 1997 referring to Bilic. “He signed it . . . Now he wants a move and feels Everton are a big club, so there’s nothing we can do. West Ham are a big club in our eyes, but he feels otherwise.”
While he never went on strike like Payet is, Bilic clearly looked to force a move with his actions. In response, the Croatian told the media at the time, “I had to do this. We are professionals – all players know, if anyone gets the chance of a big club, he must take it.”
Sure enough, that summer, Bilic was sold to Everton, where he spent two seasons and made 28 appearances before moving back to his hometown club Hadjuk Split and retiring.
And that wasn’t the only time that happened with Bilic as a player. Back in 2015 when Bilic was hired at West Ham as manager, Redknapp was asked about his relationship with his former player. Redknapp recalled a bust-up with Bilic when the club blocked a move to Spurs.
This gives the Payet situation a special twist, as it appears Bilic may be casting stones at his own glass house.