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From Gianfranco Zola to Claudio Ranieri: Every Watford manager under the Pozzo regime

Claudio Ranieri has become the latest victim of the ruthless Gino Pozzo ownership regime at Vicarage Road. Here are 13 other men who suffered the same fate.

There are many aspects of Italian football culture which can only be admired. However, there is one that is often looked down upon in Britain - that is their propensity to sack managers at a faster rate than Lord Sugar goes through Apprentice candidates.

Whether it's a string of poor results, behind the scenes unrest or even Premier League promotion, there's nothing to keep you safe with an Italian owner at the wheel.
Here, Planet Sport looks back on every Watford manager during the Pozzo ownership era. Get your popcorn ready, this is gonna be a long one…

Sean Dyche

Nationality: English

Hired: June 21, 2011

Games: 49

Wins: 17

Draws: 17

Defeats: 15

Departure: July 6, 2012

Achievements: Didn't even get one game under the Pozzo's

Sean Dyche had just taken Watford to their best league finish in four years (11th in the Championship) when Gino Pozzo acquired the club from Laurence Bassini.
Despite his impressive start to first-team management, the manager was sacked less than a month after the ownership of the club changed hands.
Considering the grand job he has done with Burnley - on a shoe string budget - it makes you wonder where Watford would be today if Dyche had been given more time to prove himself.

Gianfranco Zola

Nationality: Italian

Hired: July 8, 2012

Games: 75

Wins: 33

Draws: 15

Defeats: 27

Departure: December 16, 2013

Days in charge: 526

Achievements: Took the team to the Championship play-off final

Shortly after acquiring the club, the Pozzo family wanted to make a statement-making managerial appointment. They certainly did that by getting Italian legend Gianfranco Zola on board.
His most memorable moment was 'that' play-off semi-final with Leicester. The Hornets went on to lose the final against Crystal Palace and Zola was gone before Christmas, leaving Watford in 13th place.

Giuseppe Sannino

Nationality: Italian

Hired: December 18, 2013

Games: 36

Wins: 15

Draws: 9

Defeats: 12

Departure: August 31, 2014

Days in charge: 256

Achievements: Left the team second in the table

Since starting his journey in football management, Giuseppe Sannino has had 23 different jobs - TWENTY-THREE!
Watford was his 14th club and things went exactly how you'd expect them to go. After leading Watford to a 13th placed finish, Sannino started the next campaign with four wins from five but resigned after rumours of behind the scenes unrest.

Oscar Garcia

Nationality: Spanish

Hired: September 2, 2014

Games: 4

Wins: 1

Draws: 2

Defeats: 1

Departure: September 29, 2014

Days in charge: 27

Achievements: His only victory came away against Blackpool (1-0).

Oscar Garcia's spell at Vicarage Road was brief but for once, it wasn't the fault of the Pozzo family.
Garcia led Watford through four games before being admitted to hospital with chest pains. Ultimately, health issues led to his departure.

Billy McKinlay

Nationality: Scottish

Hired: September 29, 2014

Games: 2

Wins: 1

Draws: 1

Defeats: 0

Departure: October 7, 2014

Days in charge: 8

Achievements: Never lost as Watford manager

Billy McKinlay gave up a role as the assistant manager of Northern Ireland to focus on his new job with Watford.
Eight days later, he was sacked. Two jobs one week, none the next.

Slavisa Jokanovic

Nationality: Serbian

Hired: October 7, 2014

Games: 36

Wins: 21

Draws: 5

Defeats: 10

Departure: June 4, 2015

Days in charge: 266

Achievements: Promotion to the Premier League

You'd think that taking a club to the world's biggest league would be enough to give you some job security.
Well, you're wrong. Less than a month after securing Watford's return to the top flight, Jokanovic was gone! In fairness, he did finish second in the Championship behind Bournemouth. Embarrassing.

Quique Sanchez Flores

Nationality: Spanish

Hired: June 5, 2015

Games: 44

Wins: 16

Draws: 9

Defeats: 19

Departure: June 30, 2016

Days in charge: 365

Achievements: He lasted an entire season and reached the FA Cup semi-final

Quique Sanchez Flores became the fifth Watford manager in 12 months. To his credit, Sanchez lasted one whole season, lost to Crystal Palace in the semi-final of the FA Cup and enjoyed a decent first season back in the Premier League - finishing 13th.
His only flaw was signing a one-year contract.

Walter Mazzarri

Nationality: Italian

Hired: July 1, 2016

Games: 41

Wins: 12

Draws: 7

Defeats: 22

Departure: May 21, 2017

Days in charge: 325

Achievements: Didn't get relegated

In truth, not a lot happened during Walter Mazzarri's reign. Watford avoided relegation by finishing 17th in the Premier League and the Italian faced the chop at the end of the season - pretty standard stuff.

Marco Silva

Nationality: Portuguese

Hired: May 27, 2017

Games: 26

Wins: 8

Draws: 5

Defeats: 13

Departure: January 21, 2018

Days in charge: 239

Achievements: Got Everton to pay £4million in compensation

There was a lot of hype around Marco Silva when he first joined Watford. The Portuguese managed lived up to expectations in the early part of his reign, but coincidently results began to suffer once Everton came knocking on his door.
Silva was dismissed in January 2018 before making his way to Merseyside and joining the Toffees. Watford may look like the victims in this situation, but considering Everton paid £4million in compensation, you really have to question who the true casualty was.

Javi Gracia

Nationality: Spanish

Hired: January 21, 2018

Games: 66

Wins: 25

Draws: 13

Defeats: 28

Departure: September 7, 2019

Days in charge: 594

Achievements: FA Cup final and highest league finish in 33 years

Probably the single best managerial run under Pozzo's reign was Javi Gracia's near 600-day spell.

The Spaniard not only took the club to the FA Cup final, but also oversaw Watford's best league finish in over three decades, finishing 11th.

His reward? The usual. Gracia was unceremoniously sacked after starting the new season with three defeats from four games.

Quique Sanchez Flores (second spell)

Nationality: Spanish

Hired: September 7, 2019

Games: 12

Wins: 2

Draws: 4

Defeats: 6

Departure: December 1, 2019

Days in charge: 85

Achievements: Not much to say here. I guess a good pay-off never hurt anyone?

Nobody really knows what possessed Quique Sanchez Flores to return to Vicarage Road.
Then again, his return was only a brief one as he lasted 85 days after winning just two of his 12 games.

Nigel Pearson

Nationality: English

Hired: December 6, 2019

Games: 23

Wins: 7

Draws: 6

Defeats: 10

Departure: July 19, 2020

Days in charge: 85

Achievements: Ended Liverpool's 44-match unbeaten run

To be fair to Nigel Pearson, his first three months in charge of Watford were pretty spectacular. Despite taking over a club rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, Pearson masterminded wins over Manchester United and Liverpool as the Hornets began to move up the standings.
However, Watford's newly found momentum came to an instant halt as the football in England was put on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Once games resumed, the team failed to rediscover their best form, Pearson was sacked with two games to go and Watford went on to be relegated.

Vladimir Ivic

Nationality: Serbian

Hired: August 15, 2020

Games: 22

Wins: 9

Draws: 8

Defeats: 5

Departure: December 21, 2020

Days in charge: 126

Achievements: Dropped Troy Deeney for disciplinary reasons - never told him what those reasons were

The man tasked with taking Watford back into the Premier League was Vladimir Ivic.
Few had ever heard of him before, but it didn't really matter as the Serb was gone after just 126 days.


Nationality: Spanish

Hired: December 21, 2020

Games: 36

Wins: 21

Draws: 4

Defeats: 11

Departure: October 3, 2021

Days in charge: 287

Achievements: Promotion to the Premier League

Xisco arrived at Watford as a complete unknown yet despite this, he became a hero at Vicarage Road after taking the club back into the Premier League.
The Pozzo family backed him substantially during the summer transfer window, but just because you spend their money doesn't mean you get to keep your job.
In fact, Xisco was given seven games in the Premier League before being sacked. No, we don't know why either.

Claudio Ranieri

Nationality: Italian

Hired: October 4, 2021

Games: 14

Wins: 2

Draws: 1

Defeats: 11

Departure: January 24, 2022

Days in charge: 112

Achievements: Thrashed Man United 4-1

Dilly ding, dilly dong! The tinker man Claudio Ranieri enjoyed two memorable wins during his stay at Vicarage Road - a 5-2 thrashing of Everton and a 4-1 humiliation of Manchester United.
Unfortunately for the 70-year-old, Watford only picked up one point from their last eight games as the team dropped into the bottom three.
For once, the sacking was somewhat justified by the results.

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