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Zola hits back after West Ham dismissal

Gianfranco Zola had a pop at co-owner David Sullivan after being sacked as West Ham boss. Zola was dismissed by the club after a dismal season which saw them narrowly escape relegation to the Championship.

But as the Italian attempted to steer the team out of danger at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table, his position was undermined by Sullivan, who took control of the club in January along with David Gold.

The Italian made a veiled reference to Sullivan's actions in a statement issued through the League Managers Association.

"I am extremely disappointed to be leaving West Ham United," said Zola.

"Over recent weeks, I have been the subject of various adverse comments, from within the club, which have been widely reported in the media.

"Despite what has been a very difficult period for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at West Ham.

"I would like to sincerely thank the players and my staff for their continued support, hard work and commitment. I am extremely proud of their efforts, over a long and difficult season, in retaining West Ham's place in the Barclays Premier League.

"West Ham is a great club, with fantastic supporters and I wish the club every success in the future. The termination process of my contract is now in the hands of the LMA and I therefore will be making no further comment at this stage."

But LMA chief executive Richard Bevan insisted Zola would not have to wait for another crack at management and hinted that the Italian had been given little support by the club's board.

"Clear communication and a supportive framework at the top of a football club are essential for stability and delivering results," said Bevan.

"Gianfranco has had to manage his team through a period of significant uncertainty at the club and has shown dedication, resilience and commitment to his players, staff and the fans.

"Without a doubt Gianfranco is a talented young manager and I am sure that in the fullness of time he will be back working in the game."

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