Hurst admits he questioned the wisdom of appointing Zola when he first moved into the Hammers hotseat.

But he feels the former Chelsea star deserves to be at the helm for next season.

Hurst said: "Whether Zola will stay, I'm not sure. It's been a great experience for him this year.

"I'd argue that when he came he wasn't the right man for the job because he came with very little experience and that was a risk in itself.

"I would argue that, having come through the two years - and he must have gained mountains of experience at the club - with the solidarity of the people now owning it, he could stay.

"He was a great player and on balance now, having got through this year, he deserves another chance. The changing of managers, I don't agree with for the sake of it.

"We've had problems at the club which are not all related to him, he has kept the club up and deserves another chance."

Hurst, England's 1966 World Cup hat-trick hero, also has faith in new owners David Sullivan and David Gold, despite their public outbursts on team matters.

He said: "It is a difficult position where the owners of the club make comments about the team, but there are arguments on both sides.

"You could argue they should let the manager get on and manage. You could argue they are as frustrated as the fans and perhaps they shouldn't say so much, but it only illustrates they have a passion for the club.

"That is good because, at the top level, people running clubs aren't always from the area. They certainly have their heart and soul in the club."

Hurst was speaking at Lilleshall National Sports Centre today where the Northern Premier League unveiled Evo-Stik as its new sponsor for an initial three-year deal.

Hurst, who was spotted by West Ham playing Sunday football in the Tandridge League, is an advocate for non-league football and its role in the development of the English game.