Random 1990s Footballer Tuesday: #34 Slaven Bilic
Name: Slaven Bilic
In his 90s prime for: West Ham, Everton
Lowdown: After looking for a Euro 2012 theme to this week’s entrant, we settled on Bilic after realising there were no foreign players at the tournament that played Premier League football in the last millennium.
The Croatian defender began his career at Hadjuk Split in 1988, but was loaned out to two different clubs in his home country before making the grade in the capital, gaining man of the match awards in his first three games for the club.
After five years at Split Bilic moved abroad, signing for Karlsruher in Germany for £750,000 in 1993, where he notably became the Bundesliga’s first ever foreign captain, leading the club to the semi-finals of the 1993/4 UEFA Cup.
In January 1996 Harry Redknapp then spent £1.3million to bring the Croat to the Premier League and West Ham, breaking the club record fee in the process. He shone in London, and was selected for the Croatian national team for Euro 96, where they upset the odds to qualify for the quarter-finals.
After just eighteen months at the Hammers, Joe Royle’s Everton splashed out a massive £4.5million on Bilic, but he was not a success at Goodison, making just 28 league appearances in three years. After a period dominated by injuries and suspensions, he was allowed to leave on a free transfer in 2000, at which point he moved back to Hadjuk Split.
Now: After retiring in 2001, Bilic immediately took over the reins at Split, before managing the Croatian Under-21 squad for three years until 2006, when he immediately moved to the position of national team manager. After Euro 2012, ending a spell of six years in the job, he will join Lokomotiv Moscow as Head Coach.
The video above shows him playing in his successful rock band Rawbau. Look out for him on base guitar.