West Ham fans' emails key to persuading Zola

Supportive West Ham fans helped the club clinch Gianfranco Zola's commitment yesterday.

The ex-Chelsea striker is set to sign a three-year deal worth £4.5million at Upton Park. Zola, 42, feared a backlash from Hammers fans because of his Chelsea links.

And officials spent yesterday e-mailing positive comments from supporters to his Sardinia home to calm his concerns.

West Ham hope to unveil Zola as their first foreign manager today.

Hammers legend Billy Bonds, 61, said: “I can understand his apprehension over the fans.

“If he hits the ground running and gets six good games under his belt they will like him.”

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