Watford have sacked head coach Rob Edwards and his assistant Richie Kyle, and sporting director Cristiano Giaretta has stayed on.
In a stunning move that completely contradicts statements made over the summer that the club wanted to reset its culture and operate in a different way, after just 10 games of the new league season, owner Gino Pozzo has swung the ax and relinquished the services of the young England manager only appointed in May.
He also reversed a board decision to remove Giaretta. Club staff were informed of the change late the week before last, Edwards met with players and football staff to explain the new structure and his expanded role within it and Giaretta was absent from 17 Vicarage Road for the game against Sunderland in September.
However, as is often the case in the decade Pozzo has been at the helm, the owner has taken time during the international break to assess things as he sees them and this morning informed Edwards and Kyle that their services would no longer be required.
Also, Giaretta has returned to her job after a “holiday” and was at the training ground today
Edwards has won three of his ten championship games as head coach, drawing five and twice. The Hornets scored 11 league goals and conceded as many. They also lost 2-0 to MK Dons and exited the Carabao Cup.
When asked in June if the days of hiring and firing coaches were over, chairman Scott Duxbury said: “What happened last season was almost a revelation. We hid behind relative success, but it wasn’t a significant success. What we needed was continuity behind a manager that we believe in and the fans believe in. We also wanted someone who could grow with us.
“There are many examples of successful clubs appointing a young British manager who is then supported as he and the club grow and become successful. This is the change we made and Rob will give us. It will solve communication, it will solve identity, he will become the face of the club and the custodian of the values that Watford Football Club is about.
“Gino Pozzo wants the club to be successful and play sustainable Premier League football. That was always his only ambition for Watford. I’m on the exact same page.
“However, he accepts that the way we try to achieve this has to change. We know we couldn’t go on like this. Watford Football Club needed their culture back.
“In Rob Edwards we have appointed a manager we all believe in completely and one who will lead and drive this change.
“We will support Rob Edwards come hell or high tide. We believe he will deliver what we all want – sustainable and successful Premier League football.”
Whilst there will be supporters who think Edwards got off to an unreasonably bad start in life at Watford, it’s hard to imagine that there will be very many who feel that after 10 league games and a den Passed point “hell or high water” cup tie.
Regardless of the results, however, it’s a decision that goes completely at odds with comments that Watford “needs its culture back”.
The Hornets became the butt of jokes and a vehicle for ridicule because of their constant hiring and firing of head coaches/managers. Last season alone the club had three different bosses, which only compounded the damage done by a truly terrible Premier League relegation campaign.
Fans, staff and players had good reason to believe that in Edwards they had the young British manager who was almost universally agreed to be what the club needed.
And with the culture change announced and a return to a way of working more familiar with Watford FC of the past, it was comforting to know that even if Edwards got off to a rocky start in life at Vicarage Road, there were senior figures at the club were ‘had his back’.
While 10th in the Championship after some so-so performances isn’t the flying start he’d hoped for, it appears Pozzo may have had a visit to the gates of Hades during the international break, or been advised to build an ark as “hell or.” Flood” was actually achieved just 139 days after the club announced Edwards would be their new head coach.
The club are expected to make an official statement later in the day and no names have yet been linked to the vacant post.
Watford travel to Stoke City for their next league game on Sunday, which will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
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