On this day: Pompey make approach for Bilic

Slaven Bilic.
Slaven Bilic.
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On this day in 2009, Pompey had approached Slaven Bilic to become their new manager.

And the Croatia boss was ready to join Sulaiman Al Fahim’s Fratton revolution.

Bilic had emerged as the new favourite to succeed Paul Hart after his agent revealed the Blues had been in touch.

The former Everton and West Ham man’s representative, Rudi Vata, confirmed the Croat would be keen on a move to Fratton Park.

He said the prospect of guiding Pompey into a bright, new era and turning them into a Premier League force appealed to Bilic.

Vata told The News: ‘Slaven is open to offers and there is interest from Portsmouth.

‘There are different clubs who want him but he is very interested.

‘Portsmouth have tried to get in touch, but there is no concrete offer at this stage.

‘But the idea of working with and building the club would excite him.

‘Slaven is hungry for the right club with the right ambition because he is a hungry manager.

'He is a person who sets high goals and wants to work hard to achieve them.

‘There are going to be special things from him in the future.’

Pompey were going to have to fight off interest from a host of top clubs if they were to secure the services of Bilic, who had been backed for the Fratton job by a large number of Blues fans.

Sides in Germany were keen on him, while Celtic and other Premier League clubs had previously shown an interest.

The job Bilic did at Croatia since taking the reins in 2006 had seen him develop a reputation as one of the brightest managers in the game.

His stock rose after his side qualified for Euro 2008, denying England a place in the tournament.

They went on to make an impression, too, reaching the quarter-finals before bowing out after a penalty shootout defeat.

Bilic was under contract with Croatia, who drew 22 with Ukraine in Zagreb on Saturday, until 2010.

But Pompey’s chances of landing Bilic would have been helped by the fact Croatia’s next World Cup qualifier was not until August, when they travelled to Belarus.

Former Celtic defender Vata explained Bilic was now ready to consider his options, with the Croatian FA expected to let him leave if he received a lucrative offer.

He said: ‘Slaven has been focused on the Ukraine game, but he is now in a situation where he can consider offers.

‘He is comfortable about his situation. There are a lot of different clubs who want him and he is considering those options.

‘There are big teams in Germany interested and other teams in England have shown an interest, as well as Celtic.

‘Slaven still has a contract but he has a fantastic relationship with everyone at Croatia.

‘I’m sure that means the situation is very possible to move to the right club.’