This is the manager Watford should appoint - and it’s not Chris Hughton

by Charlie Zazzera / 01 December 2019, 15:39

With Watford six points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League, The Pozzo family now face arguably the toughest decision of their tenure in selecting their 12th Head Coach.

My message to the board... take your time, think about the style of play, and a succession plan!

Hughton shape stop gap

Chris Hughton has been installed as the clear favourite but would come as a strange selection with The Pozzo’s steering away from their successful strategy to go for a more ‘quick fix’ approach. 

Hughton has had his best success in the Championship and although he kept Brighton up, the fans were not happy about his defensive style, which saw the club move for a more dynamic style under Graham Potter...

The Hornets fans have been raging with Quique Sanchez Flores’ persistence with playing 3-5-2. A formation which relies on hoping they can shut teams out and nicking a goal on the break instead of concentrating on aspects that can win you a game of football...scoring goals. Is Hughton an Irish QSF?

The Golden Years 

Rewind seven years ago, The Pozzo’s took over Watford in the Championship and employed Gianfranco Zola as their first head coach, signed seven players in one day and gave the club a clear identity. 

The fans loved this new brand of exciting, attacking football which saw them reach the playoffs only to lose to Palace in the final.

Two seasons later, they continued this style of play and won promotion to the Premier League with the fans lauding this “Sexy Football” under Slavisa Jokanovic.


Chris Hughton has been linked with the Watford job.

It was only after being promoted and appointing Flores (for the first time), Watford lost this identity for a more pragmatic approach which saw them survive twice.

Javi Gracia deserves a mention for installing a balanced style, seeing the club reach their highest ever finish and an FA Cup final. He wasn't given time to cement his philosophy and after poor recruitment the club are in big danger of undoing all their good work and going back to where they came from when The Pozzo’s took over.

Who should they appoint?

Understandably the club will be thinking commercials and will want to stay in the Premier League at all costs but with a severe lack of confidence, this could lead to catastrophic consequences, *cough* Sunderland *cough*.

They should be identifying the man who can reinstall an attacking identity that will energise the fans and give them the best chance of going back up in style. If you’re going to go down, go down swinging!

Enter Jurgen Klopp’s former assistant, Zeljko Buvac aka “The Brain.” The Bosnian earned his nickname after creating the ‘gegenpressing’ system which was so effective at Dortmund and now Liverpool. The style focused on pressing opponents and turning over possession high up the pitch, before launching lightning fast counter attackers to catch defenders off guard. 

Phillip Cocu, Marcelo Bielsa, Slaven Bilić all manage in the Championship proving the attraction of English football and if the board can sell the project and trust Buvac, the Hornets could be buzzing once more. He’s a 33/1 shot to get the job! 

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Steve Ball
(Colchester United)
23rd February
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