David Sullivan has revealed that West Ham was two hours away from appointing Benitez as their manager.
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan told Sky Sports News HQ that Rafa Benitez finally decided to join Real Madrid snubbing them, so the club hierarchy offered the managerial post to Slaven Bilic, the manager whom Sullivan regards the ‘best of the rest’.
Sullivan told in an interview: “I interviewed Slaven four or five years ago and he said he wouldn’t come unless we gave him £30m to spend. He was my first choice four or five years ago. We saw three or four people before we appointed Avram (Grant).
“This time around, it is common knowledge we tried to get a very high level of manager, with vast experience and one of them went to Real Madrid after we had agreed on everything with him, and therefore, we went with the best of the rest – and Slaven was the best of the rest.
“We were two hours from getting Benitez and then Real came in. We had agreed on a contract and everything. I’m a great believer what happens, happens. He is a top manager whatever anybody says and I think he’d have done a wonderful job for us.
“We tried (Jurgen) Klopp as well but he wouldn’t come because he said he wanted a break. But I’m glad about the manager we have got.”
Last night Andy Carroll came off the bench to fire the Hammers to their first win in the past two months.
Half-time substitute Carroll produced a stunning header in the 79th minute to earn West Ham all three points against Southampton. Interestingly he did exactly the same thing last time when the Hammers achieved a Premier League win, against Chelsea on 24th October.
On Monday against Southampton, they fell behind when Carl Jenkinson surprisingly turned Shane Long’s cross into his own net in the 13th minute. However, Michail Antonio led the West Ham fight back when the attempted clearance of Victor Wanyama deflected in off the Antonio, paving the way for Carroll’s late heroics.
After five consecutive draws and not a single win since the end of October, West Ham badly needed this result against Southampton.
Their impressive start to the campaign was in danger of becoming a distant memory but this victory might kick-start their season again.