Football Features

Xisco sacked by Watford: Every Hornets manager under the Pozzos and where they are now

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:48, 4 October 2021

The Pozzos have done it again, they’ve sacked another manager, letting Xisco Munoz go just seven games into the Premier League season and replacing him with Claudio Ranieri.

Whether you felt Xisco deserved the sack or not, what is clear is that the Pozzos are impatient and will not hesitate to sack a manager if they feel that is the right decision. And they clearly feel it’s the right decision because they’ve done it 13 times now (although Hayden Mullins has also filled in twice as caretaker boss).

“The board feels recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving,” Watford’s statement on Xisco said.

“The Hornets will always be grateful to Xisco for the part he played in securing last season’s promotion and wish him well for his future career in football.”

The first question is, of course, when does Ranieri make it 14 and join this list? Obviously we can’t answer that yet, but the other question, the one we can answer is; where are all of these managers now? We’ve had a look and found out!

Sean Dyche

Hired: June 2011
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 17/15/17
Fired: July 2012

Where are they now? After being sacked at the end of Watford’s best finish for four years, Dyche got the Burnley job in October 2012 and is still there nearly 10 years later, having made the Clarets a Premier League mainstay with one of the most clearly defined systems of play in the English top flight.

Gianfranco Zola

Hired: July 2012
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 33/27/15
Fired: December 2013

Where are they now? Zola is currently unemployed, having most recently been assistant manager to Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea in their Europa League winning campaign in 2018/19. What is notable is that, despite being sacked in December 2013 after just 75 games, Zola remains the longest-tenured manager under the Pozzo family.

Giuseppe Sannino

Hired: December 2013
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 15/12/9
Fired: August 2014

Where are they now? Journeyman manager Sannino was only at Watford for half a season and has since had eight different jobs. He is currently out of work having resigned as Levadiakos manager for personal reasons in May 2021.

Oscar Garcia

Hired: September 2014
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 1/1/2
Fired: September 2014

Where are they now? One of La Masia’s best and brightest, Oscar Garcia never was able to coach senior players like he could youth teams. He lasted less than a month as Watford boss as he suffered minor chest pains soon after getting the job, leading to resignation. While he wasn’t sacked by the Pozzos, he is included here for context. And for what it’s worth, he is currently Stade de Reims boss.

Billy McKinlay

Hired: September 2014
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 1/0/1
Fired: October 2014

Where are they now? McKinlay was originally Oscar Garcia’s assistant, and took over the team when Garcia had to resign. He lasted just eight days before Watford decided on sacking him and appointing a different boss, even though he hadn’t lost either of his two games. He is currently assistant coach to David Moyes at West Ham.

18+ | New UK Customers Only | If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day’s betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £25 (min 3 bets) Plus 50 Free Spins on Grand Spinn. Even if your account is up, you’re guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 50 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply |

Deposit £20, Get £20 cash refund on loses T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. Deposit £20 using Debit Card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
Get up to £100 in bet credits T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.

18+ only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
£20 in Free Bets when you place a £5 bet T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here

Slavisa Jokanovic

Hired: October 2014
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 21/10/5
Fired: June 2015

Where are they now? Jokanovic is arguably one of the three best managers the Pozzos ever had. He got Watford promoted, finishing second in the Championship, but they couldn’t agree to a new deal and let him go. Since then Jokanovic has been back to England twice, first with Fulham and then his current position at Sheffield United.

Quique Sanchez Flores

Hired: June 2015
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 16/19/9
Fired: May 2016

Where are they now? The handsome bescarfed one, everyone loved Quique Sanchez Flores. He helped Watford finish 13th and reached the FA Cup semi-final. Yet the Pozzos still let him go at season’s end. He is currently unemployed.

Walter Mazzarri

Hired: July 2016
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 12/22/7
Fired: May 2017

Where are they now? This Alec Baldwin look-a-like took Watford backwards (his win percentage of 29.27% is the second-worst under the Pozzos) and was lucky to avoid relegation. He was sacked at season’s end, but he is currently back in his native Italy where he is managing Cagliari.

Marco Silva

Hired: May 2017
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 8/13/5
Fired: January 2018

Where are they now? Marco Silva’s brilliance at Hull got him the Watford job and his hot start had him linked to Everton, at which point Watford’s form fell off and he got sacked in January 2018. He got the Everton job in May but lasted just over a year. He is currently at Fulham, trying to bring them back to the Premier League.

Javi Gracia

Hired: January 2018
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 25/28/13
Fired: September 2019

Where are they now? Javi Gracia’s time in charge of Watford can be summed up in two moments, which are actually the same moment. He defied all the odds to get Watford to the 2019 FA Cup final, the club’s first since 1984, but then getting absolutely festooned all over Wembley by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, losing 6-0. No one could recover from that, and he was predictably sacked as the new season began poorly. Presently he is unemployed after being sacked by Valencia.

Quique Sanchez Flores (again!)

Hired: September 2019
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 2/6/4
Fired: December 2019

Where are they now? They say you should never go back, but obviously no one told the beautiful bearded specimen that is Quique Sanchez Flores because he came back for a second spell at Watford that went about as badly as second spells usually do. He hasn’t worked since being sacked from this job in December 2019.

Nigel Pearson

Hired: December 2019
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 7/10/5
Fired: July 2020

Where are they now? One of the scariest men in football, Nigel Pearson’s time in charge of Watford wasn’t great but it was effective, highlighted by their huge 3-0 win over the previously invincible champions-elect Liverpool. Pearson was bizarrely sacked early into Project Restart, despite Watford being out of the relegation zone. The Hornets unsurprisingly tanked those last few games under caretaker boss Hayden Mullins and got relegated. Pozzos gonna Pozzo!

Vladimir Ivic

Hired: August 2020
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 9/5/8
Fired: December 2020

Where are they now? Watford’s Championship adventure began under Vladimir Ivic and they were doing well. But, despite being fifth in the league with nine wins (and the highest win percentage since Jokanovic), Ivic was sacked after just four months. He is currently unemployed.

Xisco Munoz

Hired: December 2020
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 21/11/4
Fired: October 2021

Where are they now? Xisco had one brief: get Watford up. And he did just that, leading the Hornets to once again finish second in the Championship. Things were going great guns, but a trickier than expected start in the Premier League saw the Hornets win just once in their first seven, and predictably the Pozzos pulled the trigger and punted Xisco out despite him matching Jokanovic’s 58.33% win rate. Where will Xisco end up? Who knows.