On this day in 2010: West Ham sack manager Gianfranco Zola

Gianfranco Zola was sacked as West Ham manager on this day in 2010.

The Italy great had become the Hammers’ first overseas-born manager in September 2008, appointed as the permanent replacement for Alan Curbishley, who resigned in a dispute over transfer decisions just weeks into the season.

Zola, taking his first job in club management after moving into coaching with Italy’s under-21s, enjoyed an encouraging start as his side played with considerable flair and some success, finishing ninth in his first season.

West Ham United’s new manager
Gianfranco Zola became West Ham’s first overseas-born manager when appointed in September 2008 (Ian Nicholson/PA)

They finished only two points shy of the European places at the end of that first season, and hopes were high for further progression in 2009/10 as Zola signed a new contract that extended his terms to 2013.

But things changed on and off the pitch during his second season in charge.

David Gold and David Sullivan completed their takeover of the club in January 2010 and were unimpressed as Zola’s side lurched through a disappointing campaign, with Gold calling their 3-1 defeat to Wolves “pathetic” as Sullivan refused to back the manager.

Soccer – West Ham United Takeover – Upton Park
David Sullivan (left) and David Gold completed their takeover of West Ham midway through Gianfranco Zola’s second season (Anthony Devlin/PA)

West Ham finished a lowly 17th with 35 points, five points clear of the relegation zone, and two days later Zola was shown the door, having won 23 and lost 36 of his 80 games in charge.

West Ham would turn to Avram Grant while Zola went on to have spells in charge of Watford, Cagliari, Al-Arabi, and Birmingham.

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