Football Features

Every Watford manager under the Pozzos and where they are now

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:30, 24 June 2022

The Pozzos just couldn’t help themselves last season, sacking another two managers.

First, they led Xisco to the managerial chopping block after just seven games, relieving the Spaniard of his duties at the start of October, despite him guiding the club to Premier League promotion the season prior.

His replacement, Claudio Ranieri, didn’t last long either, with the esteemed Italian coach drafted in that October and then sent packing in January, a mere three-month existence. Roy Hodgson then had a crack at the whip.

Watford Championship odds 2022/23 (Sky Bet)

  • Watford to win the Championship 6/1
  • Watford to gain promotion 2/1
  • Watford to finish in the top six 4/5
  • Watford to get relegated 33/1
  • Watford to make the play-offs 9/4
  • Watford to win the play-offs 9/1

The former England manager was unable to keep Watford afloat, and they will now be playing in the Championship next term — and they already have a new coach at the helm, but one who was signed under a controversial spotlight.

Rob Edwards has relocated to Vicarage Road, but his former club, Forest Green Rovers, were not happy with the process of his appointment, publicly declaring their outrage at Watford and the manner in which they went about approaching the 39-year-old.

A statement on Forest Green Rovers’ official website read: “We had no contact from Watford, from whom we might expect less, but in any event this kind of behaviour gives football a bad name.”

The Pozzos will now being hoping that the bad press was worth it, but given their track record, Edwards will do well to make it to Christmas. Can he avoid the Pozzos’ trigger-happy fingers, or will he join the list of 16 below to fall victim to the owner’s relentless sign-and-sack policy?

With that in mind, we’ve looked back at all the managers at Watford under the Pozzos and where they are now.

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 spent 10 years at the  Turf Moor helm as he established the club as a Premier League mainstay. However, Dyche’s magic finally ran out last term as he left Burnley and the club suffered relegation alongside Watford.

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 and recently left Al-Ittihad in January.

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.

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 Sheffield United, but he was sacked from the latter in November.

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 the Getafe manager for his third stint at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

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 the season’s end, though, and recently endured a similar fate in Italy as Cagliari suffered Serie A relegation.

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 and recently guided the west London club back to the Premier League after winning the Championship.

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 leaving Al Sadd.

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.

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! Pearson is now the head coach of Bristol City.

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 manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv.

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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, but a trickier than expected start in the Premier League last season 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. He then joined Huesca but was recently replaced by Jose Angel Ziganda.

Claudio Ranieri

Hired: October 2021
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 2/1/11
Fired: January 2022

Oh Ranieri had a torrid time during his ephemeral stint as Watford boss, enduring the lowest win percentage of his managerial career at just 14.29%. Such form would lead to question marks at any football club but at Watford? Certain dismissal. That ultimately came to fruition in January, as Ranieri was ousted, and in came Roy Hodgson…

Roy Hodgson

Hired: January 2022
Games managed:
W/L/D Record: 2/3/13
Fired: May 2022

If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Ranieri’s 14.29 win percentage, try Hodgson’s 11.1%. The evergreen manager was unable to turn the tide when he came in at the turn of the New Year, and he ultimately left Watford with a whimper, winning just two of his 18 games as the club suffered relegation.