Zola Unveiled As Hammers Boss

It is official. Former Chelsea ace Gianfranco Zola is the new manager of West Ham United after being unveiled this afternoon at 4:30pm at Upton Park. The Italian fills the vacancy left by Alan Curbishley, and his first job is to propel the Irons up the table ... The ex-Azzurri striker has agreed a three year deal at the Boleyn Ground. Mike Lee, club director, announced his "delight" at the move before CEO Scott Duxbury said, "Last week we identified a shortlist of the highest calibre, all candidates demostrating qualities identified by the board to take the football club forward. "But despite this process it was clear that the unanimous choice was Gianfranco, so we're obviously very pleased that he's signed a three-year contract." Zola's Thoughts Gianfranco's first words as boss were, "Thank you very much. What can I say - I didn't know there were so many crazy people around," referring to the board's 'unanimity' in appointing him. "But I am very delighted to be here. It's a great honour for me, to be given such an important job. I promise that I will do my best to raise the goodness of this club. "It's a club that's got tradition, it's always created good talents, so I'm here to develop them, develop the team - to develop the players as a single player first, and then also as a team. "That is my duty, and as I said, I will do it with all of myself. I will give to these players all of my experience and all my knowledge. I am here just to be somebody good for them to become better players. That is my aim, and as I said I will do everything I can to succeed in this." After thanking the board and technical director Gianluca Nani, he went on to answer press questions. The first was regarding what he as an inexperienced manager could bring to West Ham. "I know I'm not the most experienced manager around, certainly, but I've got ideas and I've been in football for twenty years, so I know what we're talking about," he responded. "So, I will certainly give something to this club. Whether it's going to be enough or not, it's hard to say that. But I trust my knowledge a lot, and my knowledge of the game. And I think that the players will help me in this: I'll help them, they'll help me, so I'm very confident that it will be alright. "My decision to come here? Well, I was doing something that I liked very much (with the Italian U-21 side) because I've always said that it's very good to work with the young players, so in the beginning I was a little bit unsettled because I liked what I was doing. But this is a great occasion - a great club - so I couldn't say no and I was very pleased to accept it. As I say, it's a great opportunity and I'm sure that I can do a good job for this club." "A Chelsea Man?" Regarding his Chelsea connection, he replied, "I had seven wonderful years with Chelsea and that's something that I'll never forget - I'll never turn my back on that. "But here I have the possibility to have another experience, a different experience, as a manager. I hope that my next few years will be as good as the first seven. That's my aim and my target. But people have to try to understand that I have a new job and I'll do everything I can in my power to make it work. "Is this job a stepping stone? I like to work and to think step by step... This is a very important part of my life and I am totally focused on what I'm doing. What the future holds for me is something that I don't know about, but what is important is the present. The present is this club - they have got faith in me and I will try to make it work for them." Curbishley's Departure Gianfranco was asked whether or not he was concerned at the departure of Alan Curbishley, who was said to have left due to players being sold without his permission. "I don't know," said Zola. "I believe that Curbishley has done a great job here, and he's also a manager that I respect very much. I will try to carry on his job. "The other thing is that, when I spoke to the board, I said to them that we are in the same boat and that everybody has to work as a team. I like to think that this club is going to work as a team, including the board and (sporting director) Gianluca Nani. "We'll try to do things all together for the goodness of the club... I have no problem with working under a sporting director. My work is on the pitch, first of all, so my first duty is to develop the players and develop the team. Then I will report to the club and the director - he's working with me and not against me."


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