Slaven Bilic says he leaves West Ham United with his head held high after creating lasting memories at the club.

The Croatian was relieved of his duties at London Stadium earlier today and has taken to the club website to reflect on his spell in charge.

“I would like to say how proud I am to have been given the opportunity to manage West Ham United football club,” he said.

“It has been far more than a job for me. Having worn the claret and blue as a player, I felt that connection when I returned as manager and I have always known how truly special the club is.

“I am sad that it hasn’t worked out in the way we wanted this season. But I leave with my head held high, along with some wonderful memories that I will always cherish.”

Bilic’s tenure was, in many ways, a tale of two seasons, with his first at the club’s helm yielding a superb seventh-place finish as the Hammers said goodbye to Upton Park in style.

However, the move to London Stadium heralded a downturn in fortunes as United struggled to an 11th after battling relegation for much of last term.

He deserves credit for the manner in which he oversaw United’s final year at Upton Park and Bilic reflects fondly on the campaign, while accepting he has failed to maintain the standards set in 2015/16.

“My first season in charge was fantastic and we broke so many records, losing only one game against the top six teams home or away, and finishing just four points outside the Champions League places,” he said.

“For it to end the way it did (a 3-2 defeat of Manchester United), on that final night at the Boleyn Ground, was sensational. To have been part of that magical evening is something that will live with me forever.

“I was confident I would be able to progress this season and continue to close the gap between expectation levels and reality, but unfortunately it has not been the case.”

Bilic finished by thanking the board and those who he has worked with while at the club, as well as wishing the Irons success in the future.

“I would like to thank the chairmen and the board, for offering me the chance to manage this great club, and for the support they have given me,” he said.

“I would like to thank the players – some of whom have been here since my first day – for the effort and commitment they have given me.

“Finally, I would like to thank the West Ham United supporters. We had a special bond when I played for the club, and that bond was still there when I returned as manager.

“I genuinely hope they get the success they deserve and I wish everyone at West Ham United all the very best in the future.”