Thursday, 11 September 2008

West Ham announce Zola appointment

West Ham United have announced the appointment of Gianfranco Zola as their new manager, with the former Italy forward replacing Alan Curbishley who resigned from the post last week.

Gianfranco ZolaZola's precise job title is head coach, indicating the club's wish for him to work closely with Gianluca Nani, the Italian brought in to serve as technical director at Upton Park in March.

It is a first senior coaching role for the 42-year-old Zola, who had been assisting former national-team colleague Pierluigi Casiraghi with Italy's Under-21 side, leading them to the 2009 UEFA European U21 Championship play-offs.

The former Napoli and Parma star will have a three-year contract, beginning on Monday and will take charge of his first match against Newcastle United on September 20.

"I am very delighted to be here," Zola said. "It's a great honour for me to be involved in such an important job.

"And I can promise I will do my best to improve this club. It's a club with tradition, that develops good talents and I am here to develop the team, the players. That is my duty, and I will give my all and give the players all my experience."

English football will hold no surprises for Zola, who will watch from the stands as caretaker manager Kevin Keen remains in charge for Saturday's Premier League visit to West Bromwich Albion.

He had a hugely successful seven-year association as a player with Chelsea, West Ham's London rivals, making 229 Premier League appearances and scoring 59 times.

The Sardinian, who also struck the winning goal for the Stamford Bridge outfit in the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against Stuttgart, left Chelsea in 2003 to wind down his playing career back in Italy with his hometown club Cagliari.

Source: UEFA

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