Watford’s turbulent managerial history under the Pozzo family’s ownership

Rob Edwards’ sacking after just 11 games in charge of Watford is the latest in a long line of changes under the ownership of Gino Pozzo and his family.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the club’s turbulent managerial history since they entered the boardroom.

Rob’s reign

Rob Edwards waves to the Watford fans
Rob Edwards is waving goodbye to Watford (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Even by Watford’s standards, Edwards’ reign was a short one.

Only Oscar Garcia, who resigned due to ill health after four games, and his ill-fated replacement Billy McKinlay, who was sacked after just two, have spent shorter spells in one of football’s hottest seats.

Edwards earned the role after leading Forest Green to promotion from League Two and he started promisingly at Vicarage Road, with seven points from his first three games in charge against Sheffield United, West Brom and Burnley.

A four-match winless run followed, with draws at Birmingham and Preston before defeats to MK Dons, in the Carabao Cup, and QPR, with victory over Middlesbrough only a brief respite.

The Hornets drew at Rotherham and lost at Blackburn and a 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland, who equalised late on through Jewison Bennette, proved the final straw for Pozzo.

Constant change

Watford managers under Pozzo ownership
Watford managers under Pozzo ownership

Starting with Gianfranco Zola shortly after their July 2012 takeover, Pozzo and family – along with chairman Scott Duxbury – have made 16 permanent managerial appointments in just over 10 years.

That included three in 37 days in one madcap spell shortly after Gino Pozzo took sole charge in 2014.

That was admittedly influenced by Garcia standing down due to ill health after just four games in charge, though the decision to appoint McKinlay on a permanent basis and sack him two games – and four points – later was Pozzo’s alone.

Gino Pozzo, centre, and Scott Duxbury, left
Gino Pozzo, centre, and Scott Duxbury, left, have never hesitated to pull the trigger (Mike Egerton/PA)

No manager in their time in charge has matched Zola’s 75 games, with Javi Gracia the only other man to break through the half-century mark in a single spell – Quique Sanchez Flores was appointed twice, serving first for 44 games and then 12.

Win percentages are an imperfect measure of success in that time due to the difference between Premier League and Championship football. Slavisa Jokanovic and Xisco Munoz, as well as McKinlay, cracked 50 per cent but Gracia’s 37.9 per cent is the best record for a reign spent wholly in the top flight. Edwards managed only 27.3 per cent with Watford in the second tier.

Beppe Sannino, Walter Mazzarri, Marco Silva, Nigel Pearson, Vladimir Ivic, Claudio Ranieri and Roy Hodgson are the other managers to work under Pozzo, as well as two-time caretaker Hayden Mullins.

Bilic bounce?

Slaven Bilic
Slaven Bilic is the latest to try his luck in the Watford hot seat (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Slaven Bilic has already been named as Edwards’ successor, on an 18-month contract that may appear optimistic for Watford’s fifth permanent manager since the start of last season.

The Croatian’s previous spells managing in England saw him spend just over two years at West Ham, winning 42 of 111 games in charge, and 18 months at West Brom with 26 wins from 65.

Matching even his Baggies record would rank him among Watford’s longest-serving and most successful managers of the Pozzo era.