Watford chief Gino Pozzo must realise the SIXTEEN managers he has gone through are NOT the problem… HE IS
HAS it ever occurred to Gino Pozzo that the problem at Watford has not been the SIXTEEN managers he has gone through — but the man who keeps hiring and firing them?
The Italian is a hands-on owner who cares passionately about the Hornets and desperate for them to be successful. That I don’t doubt.
PAChris Wilder is the latest manager to step into the Watford dug-out[/caption]
Gino Pozzo has gone through 16 managers at Watford
But how on earth can you build a long-term stable club that anyone can take seriously by having a revolving door that rotates so fast you need a lay-down and some Paracetamol to stop your head spinning?
I reckon when Pozzo re-hired Quique Sanchez Flores in 2019 it was only because he was so dizzy he forgot he had sacked him three years earlier.
It’s so difficult to keep up with what’s going on at Vicarage Road with the constant chopping and changing. I wonder if Pozzo can even name all 16 of them.
For the second season in a row, they’re on to their third manager in Chris Wilder — and don’t rule out a fourth because there is still time.
Wilder has signed a contract only until the end of the season — and I’m struggling to remember, Roy Hodgson aside, the last time a manager at that club successfully saw out at least his first contract term. That would be a good pub-quiz question.
But If he can see out the season, Wilder could even put that on his CV: saw through a contract at Vicarage Road. That would be some achievement.
The latest Watford boss has missed a trick by agreeing a short-term deal because the one thing all managers there can look forward to is a pay-off when they inevitably get sacked.
Pozzo switches coaches because he believes in the so-called “new-manager bounce” which can get the team an upturn in results.
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And he can point to the fact he successfully kept the Hornets in the Premier League for five years and that the club have been there for six out of the last seven.
But you can only get away with that sort of model for so long, eventually it catches up with you.
And I fear if Watford do not win promotion this season and are not careful, they could end up going into decline.
It was refreshing when the Hornets appointed Rob Edwards at the start of the season, giving a bright young British manager a chance. Edwards is an extremely well-rated coach and excellent man-manager.
But to sack him after 10 league games — of which he lost twice — was bonkers.
He had just taken over a team that had been relegated, had a culture of losing and were in a period of transition.
Incidentally, in his brief time as boss, he beat all of the current top three clubs in Burnley, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough.
Had they given him time, they might be in a better position. But, even if they were not, you can let him build a team and culture at the club that will stand them in good stead for the long-term — rather than the constant quick-fixes that Pozzo seeks.
Chris Wilder lost his first game in charge of Watford at QPR
Rob Edwards was sacked after just 10 league games and is doing a grand job at Watford’s bitter rivals Luton
And look at the job he is now doing at their bitter rivals Luton.
While the Hornets are struggling to even stay in the hunt for the play-offs, the Hatters’ 1-0 win at Sheffield United consolidated their position in the top-six.
How ironic would it be if Edwards ends up taking Luton up in the very season Watford axed him
Quite frankly, I don’t think the current Watford team are going to get promoted. I have not seen anything since Edwards was axed — apart from the 4-0 win against Luton in October perhaps — that suggests they are going to be a force to reckon with.
Slaven Bilic’s stint in time was blighted by injuries. At one point he had FIFTEEN players out. I’m not quite sure what Pozzo expected the Croatian boss to achieve with that sort of casualty list? Did he think they would storm to the Championship title or something?
On paper, there is no doubt they have the best technical group in the Championship.
Players like Joao Pedro, Ismaila Sarr, Ken Sema and Hamza Choudhury can all be class acts.
But for me the squad has been lacking the steel in the team that you need.
In the Championship, you always have to win the physical battle first: win the headers and tackles, pick up those second balls, and do the dirty side of the game. You get that right and then you can let the quality attacking players do their work.
Joao Pedro is one of the many great technical players at Watford
Yet even their attacking prowess is under question now. Their 1-0 loss at struggling QPR on Saturday means they have not scored a goal for 282 minutes. That is a worrying stat at the best of times, never mind when you’re chasing promotion to the Premier League.
Pozzo’s passion is his enemy. He needs to be calmer when the going gets tough and build a club that has a clear identity. When you go through so many managers, it is impossible to have that.
The fans’ resentment towards Pozzo has grown deeper and deeper — and once you lose the supporters you are on a hiding to nothing.
Although he is the owner, ultimately the club belongs to the Watford fans.
No team in the Premier League or EFL have gone through as many permanently-appointed managers than the Hornets in the past decade.
I was wondering the other day if any other professional football club in the world has?
Now that sounds like another good pub-quiz question.