Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Thursday November 1 2012
At the top-table at tonight`s fans` forum were Head Coach Gianfranco Zola [GZ], Chief Executive Officer Scott Duxbury [SD], Technical Director Gian Luca Nani [GN] & Club Captain John Eustace [JE]
First-half: Focussing on off-field matters -
GZ: "This club is considered as being one of the clubs which will become one of the leading clubs for the company [the Pozzo`s]. They are planning to make Watford one of, if not, the top team. We have a lot of loan players at the moment but if we believe they are good enough they will stay at Watford. I`m here not because I want to spend my life in the Championship, but because I am an ambitious manager and I want to play at higher levels. That`s where we are heading to. I believe that the Pozzo family have no interest in Watford playing in the Championship for a long time."
SD: "These are players that passionately chose to come to Watford. The players that came, it was their choice, they wanted to be here. If they are good enough and they want to be here we have the option on all of them. All of the players we want to stay will stay."
SD: "The accounts will be published towards the end of November. I don`t really want to comment on them in any detail. The debt we were aware of; the debt we are managing. Our aim is to implement a business plan which will make the club self-sustainable as quickly as possible. We are reducing the debt and we are getting towards a position where we are breaking even."
SD: "They [Saracens] will be using it this year and that will be it. No-one will be using the pitch other than Gianfranco."
SD: "I think it`s achievable quite quickly. It`s a combination of getting the price point right and that we`re not pricing people out of games. The season ticket will always be the cheapest way of coming to watch us. Ultimately we need to be an attractive proposition to come and watch."
SD: "What I`d like to do next season is move the family stand potentially to the Lower Rous and look at introducing some unreserved seating; some cash turnstiles."
GZ: "Working with 29/30 players you can get all of them training. Training is only one part of it, if you can`t get a game, something is missing. They are there training every day for something and because of the number of players they don`t get what they`re looking for. We want to take this club forward respecting every single player."
SD: "The academy is central to our future & our development. We haven`t downgraded, we never had category one. What we had was Harefield. To actually achieve category one, which is essentially a certificate from the Premier League, there were huge costs of £2m. Essentially we couldn`t afford that. If in the future we`re in a position to go to category one we can always apply for it. We`re doing exactly what we`ve always done. I think the academy is in safe hands."
SD: "The priority is the South West corner. Let`s get 15,000 fans every week then we`ll worry about the East Stand."
"Premier League status would have an impact as attendances would increase. Timescale? There is no timescale. "
SD: "Very, very simply, Gino`s philosophy is to take clubs with a strong community heart but haven`t quite achieved their potential yet. It`s a sore point but the London geography was a big part of it. Ironically the East Stand was a real positive as it was an obvious way the club could improve."
SD: "It doesn`t matter what press we`re getting, we`re now getting coverage in a major national newspaper. We`re being noticed, that`s no bad thing."
SD: "Within reason I`m prepared to consider everything in order to get the attendances back."
GZ: "We fight every time!" [On relationship between technical director & head coach]
GN: "We trust each other a lot. We have the same idea of football. He manages the team, he`s in charge of football, the team, the squad. I look after the contracts, everything outside of the pitch, I look after the scouts, I try to identify talent. We have the same ideas about football, the style."
GZ: "Managers in this country are in charge of everything. That goes for choosing the kitman, the masseurs, the players. That`s a huge job - you can`t do everything. Gian Luca knows what type of players I need & he provides me with more choice."
SD: "I am a far better CEO now than I was in the past. Provided you don`t make the same mistakes twice you`re a better person for it. All we can promise is we can give everything to this football club & we are better individuals for our past."
SD: "This football club stands on its own and is not a feeder club to Udinese. It`s a family club rooted in the community. We want to be successful and we want to be ambitious but never we`ll never lose sight of our values."
"If we could have our time again we wouldn`t have bought so many loan players in at the last minute."
SD: "It was just simply mechanics and finances and getting them here quickly." [Players signing for Udinese before joining us.]
Second-half: Focussing on on-pitch matters -
GZ: "It can be good, it can be bad. To be honest, the tendency is that you use Twitter and you think you`re talking to your friends when actually you`re not. Unfortunately there are people on Twitter who use those sentences for different purposes. For players it can be risky. We need to keep an eye on that and we just need to make sure everyone is sensible when using those news ways to communicate. We as a Club keep an eye on Twitter, Tweets - is that we call them?"
GZ: "It was always in my mind to have a couple of systems to play. I played three at the back in a couple of games - one was a friendly, out of the blue I played three at the back. I like the system, I`ve seen it played before and I thought it was a very good system. Whether I`m going to keep playing this system, I don`t know. Sometimes you have to give space to instinct and I never suffocated my instinct as a player and I won`t do it as a manager. Whatever system we play, it doesn`t change our philosophy."
JE: "The foreign players and the loan players coming in we`ve made them feel at home. It doesn`t matter who comes in and who goes out we`ll stick together. I think we`ve got to start learning Italian and Spanish. The gaffer`s got the lads learning English who can`t speak English having lessons every day. It`s a big project isn`t it? We`re starting this season and the club has to stick together through thick and thin."
"I think we`ll have to have a British versus foreign league [for the training ground`s famous tennis table]"
GZ: One reason is that a lot of players that came over here didn`t do pre-season with us. Another reason is that last season they didn`t play maybe 10 games. The players that come from abroad, they really struggle to find their rhythm at the beginning."
GN: "The Pozzo family did an unbelievable job with the scouting network. They discovered so many players it`s unbelievable. Our job will be to try to scout young talent all over England. If we have the asset that we can use the Udinese connection, why not? We`ll try to discover the best talent in advance to bring here and bring the English philosophy. Honestly, the job that they [the Pozzo`s] did is amongst the best in the world.
GZ: "Success this season would be to improve the position we achieved last year. We are ambitious but know this year we have many players that just come in and don`t know the league. We don`t want short-term victories. We`ve played some very good teams and the best from us is to come yet. We have to be patient, we have to keep it on the carpet as they say in this country."
GZ: "That`s vital to be honest [keeping British players at the core of the squad]. I re-call happy days when I was at Chelsea despite having so many different nationalities. The core of the team was English - Denise Wise, Steve Clarke. In this team the core remains the same."
GN: "I would like to have this problem!" [Of drawing Udinese/Granada in European competition]
GN: 'Fernando has asked me to stay already.'
GZ: "I don`t think anyone can doubt that he`s been a big asset. Sometimes I should rest him, because he`s 35, but he doesn`t look like 35 so at the moment I`m sticking with him."
GZ: "What is incredible about him is his attitude. I wish I could have 20 players with his attitude. After Bolton he played a good game; scored an unbelievable goal, and I dropped him because I needed to play a different type of player. He gives everything, he`s always positive and he never said a word about being dropped."
JE: "All the young lads look up to him. Maybe from the outside looking in he might not be the prettiest on the eye, but he`ll always give 100 per cent for his team and his team mates. As you say he`s a Watford legend. He`s an ambassador for the club and good for the younger lads to look up to."
JE: "The circumstances a few years ago, I had to defer a bit of money to play. I had to do it, I wanted to play games. I had something to prove with the season before. I was given the option and I took it and I`m very glad I did. I`ve really enjoyed it and one of the best moves I made really."
GN: "John will be with us until the end of the season for sure. We can`t promise anything, but he`s a wonderful boy and his attitude is fantastic. We have a lot of players whose contracts are ending at the end of the season."
SD: "We had to employ somebody at West Ham to tell him when the fans were chanting his name!"
GZ: "I have to improve on many things as a manager.'
Date:Thursday November 1 2012
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