​West Ham United fans have taken to social media to beg for the return of former player and manager Slaven Bilic, after the club wished the Croatian a happy 50th birthday.

A fan favourite during his playing days, Bilic managed the Hammers for two years between 2015 and 2017 and at the time of leaving had the best points per Premier League game ratio of any previous West Ham manager - earning 1.33 points per match.

Bilic was sacked in November 2017 following a 4-1 loss to ​Liverpool, with the club issuing a statement saying: "​West Ham United can confirm that Slaven Bilic has today left his position with the club.

West Ham United believe a change is now necessary in order for the club to move forward positively and in line with their ambition."

Looking back at that statement now, fans may disagree with the club having moved forwards since Bilic's dismissal.

After a dreadful first half of the league campaign, West Ham managed to finish 13th in the Premier League on the final day last season, and suffered fan protests at a number of matches.

This season has been even worse for the club who, despite having hired Premier League-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini and invested a significant amount of money on players over the summer, have lost their opening four games and been rooted to the bottom of the league table.

Their only win so far this season has come in the EFL Cup in a 3-1 win away at AFC Wimbledon, but even there it required a second-half turnaround after the Hammers found themselves behind inside two minutes.

Wimbledon also had a man sent off in the 18th minute, though Pellegrini's men couldn't break down their League One opposition until the 63rd minute.

Understandably, fans have since looked back at the 7th place finish under Bilic that saw them qualify for the Europa League and are pining for a return to better times.