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Watford did one thing right with Marco Silva sacking

Thursday 25th January 2018

Watford was derided for sacking Marco Silva. Including new man Javi Gracia, the Pozzo family has hired 10 different managers since 2012. Watford's owners actually had the audacity to move on from Slaviša Jokanović after he guided them to promotion from the Championship in 2015. That type and frequency of change rarely yields progress. That said, the club has enjoyed three consecutive Premier League seasons under as many managers since their most recent promotion. Like many of the Pozzo's previous sackings, this one makes little sense.

Silva was a highly regarded manager. He had admirably endeavoured to steer a doomed Hull City to safety.  Ultimately his efforts were futile. Ownership was intent on selling its best players, including Robert Snodgrass, from under the Portuguese's nose. This season he had guided Watford into the top half of the league during a blistering start.

Cruelly, early success may have sealed Silva's fate. It was inevitable the Hornets would cool down. Silva had kept them in the top ten but the club was only four points above the relegation zone, winning just one from its last 11. 

Those struggles do not vindicate his sacking. How can a manager be expected to assemble, mould, and fine-tune a squad in half a season and one transfer window? Silva was still employing a heavy rotation policy, clearly determining his best, most effective team. He continually moved Troy Deeney in and out as the starting centre-forward. Silva was searching for the right formula. That search will go uncompleted.

Given the nature of the situation, the footballing cognoscenti have been quick to criticise a club notorious for its unfounded, misguided ruthlessness. The critiques are justified. This is a sacking uncalled for, unnecessary, and detrimental to the progress the organisation should desire. The question is, does it?

Would it be so surprising were the Hornets to spiral out of control, slip down the table, and into the relegation zone? It remains to be seen. The alleged faults with the decision each boast an element of credence, accuracy and significance. 

Still, there is one thing Watford did right: They targeted and acquired a replacement in whom they believe. For now.

I am not here to write that Javi Garcia, a 47-year-old middling Spanish manager with little outstanding mementoes on his resume is a wonderfully astute hire. He might be. He might not. Watford clearly think he is the right manager to succeed Silva. Once they committed to letting the Portuguese go, they identified and moved for the man to replace him. 

Contrast that to the panic seen at Stoke, Everton, and Swansea City, where managers were sacked without a clear plan in place going forward. It's as though they decided to fire the manager then cross the 'hiring' bridge when they reached it. Watford was prepared before it reached the bridge.

The Pozzos know exactly what they are doing. Many people, myself included, think it is not the right way to manage the club. For instance, the move could have been made nearer the window's open. Unless, of course, the owners wished to control spending.

Is Gracia prepared to manage the players in place? Only time will tell. The point is that for as long as the Pozzos remain in charge they will follow the plan they have laid out. Each new manager will have to cope. And so will we.

Andrew Dowdeswell

A sport obsessed 20 something who just really wants Arsenal to finally win the league. Please Wenger, what the hell happened to you?!

Total articles: 175

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