WFC - Downplaying expectations
SO AFTER a nervy couple of weeks and as many twists and turns as you`d expect from a deal involving Watford Football Club, we`re under new ownership. Relief is surely the overriding emotion most, especially those aware of the significance of administrator Andrew Andronikou`s involvement in the deal. For most Hornet`s supporters that relief will be coupled with a dash of excitement and expectation too.
For one thing, the Pozzo family add Watford to their already impressive portfolio of football clubs - you will have to have been living under a rock not to know that they own Udinese & Granada and have done so with great success! Laurence Bassini has, rightfully, claimed he never had the backing of the supporter base but that was largely because in this day and age we expect to be able to Google any figure of note and find out enough information to base an opinion on. With Bassini that wasn`t possible and the digging that had been done by The Watford Observer
and The Guardian
painted a worrying image.
Of course, when he did finally complete his takeover, Bassini took forever and a day to actually communicate with the supporters. We weren`t asking for much, just some simple answers to some simple questions - of course, the infamous missed fans forums didn`t help his cause and by that point, he had surely lost just about all goodwill towards him.
Despite a public spat with Graham Taylor and the threat to withdraw vital funding, Bassini`s tenure at Vicarage Road was moderately successful. New players were acquired, improvements were made around the Vic`, a new pitch has been laid, the Red & Yellow Lion is open once more and Sean Dyche was appointed.
And what of Dyche in all of this? The Pozzo`s have said that Gianfranco Zola is in the 'project` and it appears that Dyche`s time in WD18 is coming to an end. Without trying to sound like an obituary, Dyche has done a tremendous job and I certainly hope that he hasn`t finished yet. However, with the Italian influence of Gianluca Nani coming in as Director of Football, perhaps it would be best to have a manager who has worked within the configuration of a continental model. Zola of course worked under Nani at West Ham and whilst Nani`s impact at the Boleyn Ground wasn`t always ideal, his portfolio does include the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Roberto Baggio and Luca Toni.
The Pozzo`s will be used to the Director of Football - Head Coach model and although Dyche deserves the chance to keep his job, it could be best for the club in terms of having the smoothest transition possible if the Pozzo`s are able to implement their own managerial strategy from the off.
In terms of expectations, there are a number of misguided 'Orns out there on Twitter or wfcforums who seem to be under the impression that the Pozzo`s will start chucking money around like it`s going out of fashion. This is not how they have gone about their business in Udine or Granada so if history is anything to go by, they won`t start now. The crux of their success elsewhere has been a world-class scouting setup which has allowed them to tap into unknown and undervalued markets, particularly in South America, where they have harvested talent on the cheap before selling the player on at a huge profit once they reach their peak. Whilst Watford`s scouting network probably doesn`t appear to stretch further than Scotland at the moment, it is a similar model to that which the Hornets have perfected in recent years.
The Pozzo family will of course want success for the Goldenboys and that equates to promotion, it`s premature to be expecting a romp into the top-flight next season. We`ve all seen what happened to Leicester - big-name manager, wealthy owners and transfer fees reaching £5m; it didn`t work. The Championship isn`t designed for egos, it gobbles them up and spits them back out. Promotion has to be a gradual and steady progression and I`m confident that the Pozzo`s are shrewd enough to know that too.