Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Thursday September 13 2012
Gino Pozzo, son of Giampaolo and the man overseeing his family's investment in Watford has today spoken publicly for the first time about the family's purchase of the club, giving an interview to The Times.
Most encouragingly Pozzo Jnr. confirmed that Watford would not be becoming a feeder club to Udinese, the star attraction in the family's portfolio of football clubs, and that each club was a separate project in it's own right.
'Our system relies on buying lots of players, and Udinese can only have 24 or 25 per season,' Pozzo told Rory Smith.
'This is where Watford and Granada can benefit. We can loan them better players than they would otherwise be able to get.
'But make no mistake, they are club in their own right. They are independent projects. Watford will not be a feeder club for Udinese. They can benefit now from the link, but look at Granada: they are in the top division and they compete on their own basis.
'This is what we want for Watford. This is a not business for us. We like to compete.'
Watford have of course benefited from the excess players at both Udinese and Granada, signing no loss than 12 on-loan from the two clubs over the summer.
However, this is all just a small part of the bigger picture, a plan which the Pozzo's have implemented to great success in Andalusia and Udine.
'There are two sides to it. There is the selection of players & there is the development of those players. We invest more money in players between the ages of 17 and 23 than any other team in Italy,' boasts Pozzo.
A statement, which highlights exactly why the Pozzo family are seemingly less than keen to invest the necessary funds in the Harefield Academy set-up to appease the regulations of EPPP.
Pozzo also touches on the continual cycle of allowing the bigger, more established names to move on once the price is right, something which Watford have themselves done to great effect in recent years.
'You renew yourself or you die.
'Our system is to always have the next round of players in place. This is why we don't shop on July or August unless a good opportunity comes up. My market is every day of the year. We bought players in March this year who will join us in the summer of 2013 [at Udinese].'
Three such examples of this method at Udinese this summer were the losses of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, utility man Mauricio Isla and midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah who moved on to Inter Milan and Juventus respectively.
Not that this sparked a crisis for the ever-prepared club owner: 'Take Samir Handanovic. We knew he would be going, so two years ago we signed his replacement. By the time Handanovic left, he was ready, integrated into the side. That is how we try to minimise the impact of players leaving. We sign players long before we need them.'
By no means are all the concerns of Watford fans allied, it is good at least to hear from the man who is running our club & better to hear that this isn't just a link-up to benefit Udinese or Granada.
Whilst it is of course true that we wouldn't be able to benefit from players of Almen Abdi, Matej Vydra or Daniel Pudil's quality normally, the same reservations still remain (to my mind at least), about whether or not chucking 12 new players at a manager who seems to have a limited amount of say in who arrives & who doesn't, is the best way to run a football club.
Time will tell, but at the very least unlike with Laurence Bassini there is a very clear plan going forward.
Date:Thursday September 13 2012
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