Soccer

Truth behind Slaven Bilic’s controversial West Brom sacking after Man City drew

Julian Dicks has revealed the truth behind Slaven Bilic's controversial sacking as West Brom manager.

Bilic was relieved of his duties at the Hawthorns in December 2020 just hours after leading the Baggies to a creditable 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

The popular Croatian was shown the door along with assistants Dean Racunica and Danilo Butorovic – and first-team coach Dicks.

The quartet helped guide Albion to promotion on the final day of previous season, as they finished second in the Championship, but that wasn't enough to keep them in a job long-term.

Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes, Dicks revealed the truth behind the controversial decision.

"You're travelling to the Etihad to go and play Manchester City, having just come up from the Championship," Dicks began, reflecting on that fateful night against the champions.

"You know it's going to be a tough game, and everybody has to give 100% to even a chance of taking anything from the game.

"We rode our luck in that game, don't get me wrong, and Sam Johnstone was sensational that night and we managed to nick a draw.

"We were on the coach back home later that evening – we had two coaches, one for players and one for staff – sat at the front, and a couple of the sports analyst lads called me to the back and showed me a story doing the rounds on Twitter claiming we were getting the sack.

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"I went 'come on, seriously? We've just drew away at Man City.'"

The message was true, and the next day, Dicks, Bilic, Racunica and Butorovic had their fate confirmed.

"To be honest, I didn't think anything of it; you know what social media is like. But lo and behold, the next day comes and we get called into the office and that was it," he continued.

"Obviously the decision was made before then; they expected us to go to the Etihad, get smashed by four or five and then it would've been an easy decision.

"But it didn't go that way, so clearly the decision had already been made because you just don't get sacked from a club like West Brom off the back of a point away at Man City.

"I don't think the fans took too kindly to the decision, and there's something to take from that. It means you've done something right for their club. Whatever people think of Slaven, he's a really nice man and he's very good tactically."

"Norwich went about it the right way with Daniel Farke; he got them up, then took them down again but the board stuck with him, and they're right back up there again.

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"To be honest, I thought the board might've done that with Slaven, but unfortunately the chairman got cold feet and he wanted a change."

Dicks, though, does not harbour any ill-feeling toward those who made the decision, instead choosing to see it as part and parcel of football.

He added: "Do I think it was a bit harsh of the board to get rid of us so soon? Most definitely, but I do understand the decision because football's a big business.

"It was a premature decision if you're asking me, but that's football – nothing surprises me in this game anymore.

"We'd just got promoted and didn't really have a lot of money to spend, but the chairman still wanted us to work miracles, and unfortunately that just doesn't happen in football."

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