Zola’s job is safe

WEST HAM co-owner David Sullivan has insisted that Gianfranco Zola s job is safe despite a week in which the pair have traded barbs in an ugly public slanging match, writes Ben Welch and Iain Liddle. The former Birmingham City supremo drew his manager s i

WEST HAM co-owner David Sullivan has insisted that Gianfranco Zola's job is safe despite a week in which the pair have traded barbs in an ugly public slanging match, writes Ben Welch and Iain Liddle.

The former Birmingham City supremo drew his manager's ire by revealing the club was on the precipice of 'Armageddon' due to their precarious financial situation.

Zola, who read the comments in a newspaper rather than being told directly, hit back on Tuesday and claimed they were disruptive and ill-timed having come on the eve of a crucial Premier League clash against Birmingham City at Upton Park.

In an attempt to difuse the row, Sullivan has given his backing to the beleaguered boss publicly, despite one of Zola's complaints being the owners' apparent need to conduct their business via the press.


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"It's 100 per cent secure," said Sullivan of Zola's position.

"In 17 years we sacked two managers at Birmingham. We're not sackers.

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"We support managers and we will bring in players to improve the team in the summer.

"I think over the next 14 games we'll learn an awful lot about everyone at West Ham, the team and the manager.

"I'm confident over the next 14 games that the team will improve and that we'll claw our way up the table."

With estimated debts of �110 million, Sullivan said the club's fiscal nightmare would further implode if they were relegated to the Championship - a harsh reality the club are flirting dangerously with.

"It'll be Armageddon if we go down. It'll be worse than what's gone on at Newcastle," said the co-owner.

In the midst of financial meltdown, Sullivan warned the club's staff that everyone will be asked to take a 25 per cent pay cut, which could include the manager, but Zola is adamant he is not in the job to line his pockets and was angry the comments came to light before yesterday's (Wednesday's) game.

"They can talk to the press as much as they want. Obviously, when an article comes before a match, then I am not happy because I don't think it is any good for the whole team," blasted the Italian.

"I think the article should have been done at another time and maybe they (the owners) should talk to us before talking to the newspapers."

Zola added: "Personally I can say I am not here for the money. Last year when I signed the contract I didn't even know how much I was going to earn.

"I came here because I had a plan, I had a project and I liked what I was going to do. I didn't even know what I was going to earn and then after a while the club came to me, called me in and offered me a new contract. But it's not about money, it's just about working for something positive.

"I always enjoy working for this club and the money was something that came after.

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