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WATFORD FOOTBALL CLUB Introduction - Why play as Watford?:- The 2019/2020 season has gotten off to a horrendous start for Watford with them sacking manager Quique Sánchez Flores after his second stint in charge of the club lasted only a matter of months. As such, the club represents a good challenge for players in FM. Watford definitely possess good players, however they also carry a lot of dead weight, which I'll touch on later. Being owned by the Pozzo's they have first rights on any player being sold from Udinese and also have a very, very large squad of players with many of them out on loan. The challenge for the player lies within being able to move the older players on, retain younger players that are actually good, recruit new younger players AND keep within budget whilst trying to finish in the mid-table of the Premier League. With a weak squad it is definitely a challenge, however as I will outline later on it is not impossible. First some history on the Hornets, though since you will be taking charge of the club feel free to ignore the part about this season under Javi Gracia and Quique Sánchez Flores. History:- The Watford Football Club was founded in 1898 with the amalgamation of West Herts and Watford St. Mary's, though the club recognises its founding as 1881. Watford joined the Football League in 1920 and after moving around they finally settled into a home at Vicarage Road in 1922. Perhaps Watford's most notable period was during Graham Taylor's 10 year managerial stint from 1977 to 1987 that saw the club rise from the Fourth to the First Division, even finishing second in the league in 1982/1983 which led to the Hornets competing int he UEFA Cup the following season. Watford also lost 2-0 to Everton in the 1984 FA Cup Final. After Taylor left the club they fell down to the Second Division (now the 3rd tier of football with the creation of the Premier League) before Taylor returned for a second stint from 1997 until his retirement in 2001 which saw the club secure back to back promotions after winning the Second Division in 1997/1998 and winning the First Division play-offs in 1998/1999. Watford only lasted in the Premier League for a single season, however, with the club finished on the bottom of the table. Taylor stayed on for one more season before he retired and was replaced by Gianluca Vialli. During the Italian's time at the club wage bills rose dramatically - especially for a club who were languishing in the mid-table of the First Division. Vialli only lasted a season, largely in part to the aforementioned wage issues leading to disputes with the club's board and was replaced by Ray Lewington. Watford faced administration in 2002/2003 as their financial situation was precarious to say the least. Players and staff agreed to a wage deferral to help the club's cash flow and reaching the FA Cup semi-final provided some much needed funds. The financial constraints were too much, however, with a large number of players released in the summer. The 2003/2004 season saw the Hornets finish 16th with a much weaker squad and the following season started promising with the team initially in the upper half of the (now renamed) Championship. Poor form came to the club and they dropped to the relegation zone leading to Lewington's sacking in March of 2005. Aidy Boothroyd succeeded him and led the club out of the relegation zone ending the season in 18th. The next season was a complete turn around as Boothroyd led Watford to finish 3rd, defeating Leeds United 3-0 in the play-offs to gain promotion to the Premier League once again. While Watford managed to reach the Fa Cup semi-finals again, they also finished bottom of the league winning only 5 games. Boothroyd continued with the club until a few months into the 2008/2009 season when he left the club by mutual consent with Watford sitting 21st in the Championship table. Irishman Brendan Rodgers had a brief cameo appearance as manager leading the team to 13th on the table before departing to Reading at the end of the season. Malky Mackay then took charge. Watford continued to struggle financially and once again came close to administration. Mackay left to manage Cardiff City in June 2011 after achieving nothing of note. His replacement Sean Dyche led Watford to their highest league position in 4 years but was controversially dismissed in July 2012 and replaced by former Italian international and Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola following the Pozzo family's purchase of the club. With financial woes behind them Watford managed to finish 3rd in the Championship in 2012/2013, losing in the play-off final to Crystal Palace 1-0. The next season Zola was replaced by Giuseppe Sannino and finished in 13th. Sannino resigned before the new season and was replaced by Óscar García who shortly after resigned for health reasons. Billy McKinlay was the next man in charge and despite getting 4 points out of 6 under his leadership he was replaced just 8 days into his tenure by Serbian Slaviša Jokanović. Under Jokanović Watford won promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2014/2015 season finishing 2nd in the Championship. Oddly Jokanović's contract was not renewed by Watford and he was replaced by Spaniard Quique Sánchez Flores. In their first season back in the top flight they finished 13th and reached the FA Cup semi-finals again. Towards the end of the season Sánchez Flores utilised a clause in his contract that allowed him to break his contract as he felt that he and the owners did not share the same point of view about the season. Italian Walter Mazzarri signed next. The following season Watford just beat the drop finishing 17th with Mazzarri resigning after just a single season in charge. He was replaced by Marco Silva who in turn was sacked six months later and replaced by Javi Gracia in January 2018. Gracia was sacked on the 7th of September 2019, replaced by the returning Sánchez Flores, who in turn was sacked on the 1st of December 2019 with the club on the bottom of the Premier League tale. During the Pozzo's ownership of the team significant money has been spent with Vicarage Road's main stand being demolished and replaced by the new Sir Elton John Stand. The Pozzo's also own Udinese Calcio in the Italian Serie A and owned Spanish La Liga side Granada CF until June 2016. This allowed for a lot of freedom of movement of players between all three clubs and allowed Watford to have more players on their books who were loaned out to further their development, and in some cases seek work permits. - Watford Football Club 2019/2020 Season:- Home Ground: Vicarage Road (Capacity: 21,250) Training Facilities: London Colney, St. Albans -Suberb training facilities -Excellent data analysis facilities -Great youth facilities -Adequate academy coaching -Good youth recruitment Media Prediction: 11th Transfer Budget: £15M Wage Budget: £1,251,238 p/w (£41.18K p/w available) - Season Thoughts:- As you can see above the board expects you to finish in the mid-table which is something that should be easily doable. They also expect the team to reach the FA Cup Fifth Round, the Carabao Cup Fourth Round and next season to finish in the top half of the table, with the following years to work towards being recognised as 'the best of the rest'. The board also requires you to work within your wage budget and desires the signing of young players to develop for profit, which is something that Watford are doing in real life. In addition they would prefer if you do not sign players over the age of 32, desire you to sign players under the age of 23 that are first team ready, and desire you to sign players under the age of 21 for the future. All of these are achievable. £15M in the transfer budget is a tidy sum which can be added to by further player sales, something I'll touch on more later. The wage budget only has around £40K p/w spare which in the Premier League is not a lot, so again shifting high earners that aren't worth it is a huge priority. -
December 23rd 2017 "Hello and welcome to WD18 as we follow the career of the young and ambitious Josh Poynter after he took charge of Watford in July 2017, replacing outgoing manager Walter Mazzarri, Who had been sacked by the Watford owners at the end of the 2016/17 season after a downturn in form saw the hornets finish 17th in the Premier League. Marco Silva had been due to take over at Vicarge road however a dispute with the owner Gino Pozzo saw the appiontment fall through. Many expierenenced names were linked with the role but on the 26th June the Pozzo's made a shock announcement by appointing 23 Year old Josh Poynter despite him having only just gotten his coaching badges and not having any managerial expierience. Poynter was given a 1 year contact and was backed by the board in the face of the fans concerns about his appiontment. Poynter got straight down to business shipping out the dead wood in his squad as well as bringing in new signings to improve the team heading into his inaugural season as Watford boss. Over £30 Million pounds was spent in the summer but through player sales Watford ended the summer with a net profit of around 4 Million. 2017/18 Season so far Confidance was high at Watford after winning all their pre season games but they were brought straight back down to earth with an underwhelming performence against Hudderfield on the opening day of the season. A 2-2 draw at Leicester followed before an embarrassing loss to League 1 Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup. The poor results would continue until a late goal against West Brom secured Poynters first win as manager and eased the pressure on him. Form still wouldn't pick up though and apart from a 4-0 demolition of Liverpool there was little to sing about with the Hornets stuck in the relegation zone, but two games would truly kickstart their season. A 6-2 win against Newcastle and a 5-1 win at West Ham took Watford out of the drop zone and led to big improvement in performances despite losing their next 3 games. However a 4 game unbeaten streak in December leaves Poynters men 15th in the table, Table