Paul Ince: It’s sad to see what’s happening at miserable West Ham – but Bilic isn’t to blame, the board are

The former West Ham midfielder defends under pressure manager Slaven Billic, and asks what the board are playing at by airing their dirty laundry in public

Billic isn’t the issue

As a West Ham lad, I find it pretty miserable to see what’s going on there at the moment. It’s a real shame. It’s sad seeing everything that is coming out about the club, and it’s not as though these struggles have just suddenly started this season – last year wasn’t great, either.

There’s plenty of speculation about Slaven Billic leaving. But he isn’t the issue, and I’m glad he’s still at the club. The way he is and behaves, you can see just how much he cares about West Ham United. He wants to do well but, most importantly, he wants the players to do well, and I know that the players love playing for him.

There were rumours that suggested they don’t, but that’s rubbish.

Last year, when there was all that talk about him leaving, it was actually the love of the players that kept him at the club – otherwise he’d be up the road, it’s no coincidence.

What are the board playing at?

I really dislike the comments coming out from the owners. They’ve been talking about how they wanted Renato Sanches, but Billic didn’t as he was happy with his squad.

It’s his team and it’s down to him which players they sign. Whether or not the board wanted Sanches, that’s something which should be kept behind closed doors.

It’s totally unfair of the board to go broadcasting that – I’m not sure what they are playing at.

When you see stuff like that, it’s not really a surprise that the team are struggling.

It also makes you wonder whether he will get the axe if he doesn’t pick up results pretty quickly. It looks that way to me. If I was managing West Ham, and the board came out and spoke about me that way, I wouldn’t be too pleased about it.

Players need to perform

When all you see around you as a player is that your club is in crisis, of course it’s going to affect you – especially if you have a real affinity with the manager like the players there seem to.

But they haven’t got a bad squad and they’re more than capable of getting results. It’s down to the players to perform – they seem all at sea at the moment, making stupid mistakes, and that needs to change.

Sometimes it looks like they don’t care enough, and that really shouldn’t be the case.

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