The chances are if you don’t have anything to do with Watford FC, you are likely to be ill informed about the way the club operates. There’s no shame in that, ‘expert’ pundits have all tried to have their say with the same stories being regurgitated about a lack of stability or the shame in managerial sackings, either way they aren’t clued up about how the Pozzo family go about their business. When Watford FC were bought in 2012, the fans were to learn quickly what the Italian owners were all about, experiencing a new way of thinking to the norm, sure enough over 15 players entered Vicarage Road that summer in order to frantically get ready for the Championship season, so things are a little bit different for the Hertfordshire Club. Here is why I believe Watford possess the greatest owners in the Premier League.
credit Stuart Chalmers
- 5 Years, 4 successful campaigns
Since arriving, if you include the current campaign, Watford have had just one poor season out of the five since the Pozzo’s have taken over, this includes reaching a play-off final, promotion to the Premier League, an FA Cup semi-final and what now looks like two comfortable Premier League seasons. Year on year the squad assembled has been chopped and changed but as a whole it’s grown from strength to strength. There is no doubting that this rate of growth in such a short space of time puts the club as one of the most successfully operating club’s towards the top of the English pyramid particularly when you look at the spending power of the club season by season where prior to this season, spending was very low. In a results based business, the Italians have got the job done to continually move the club forward, something that can’t be said for some club’s with an abundance or resources trying to get promoted from the Championship or when looking in a healthy position to stay clear of relegation from the Premier League.
2. Building a squad to compete without money
As I’ve mentioned high spending power is not a luxury the Pozzo family have compared to their competitors. Watford would very much be up against it if they went toe for toe in terms of buying proven British based players where we’ve seen the likes of Aston Villa and Bournemouth adopt this strategy in their respective leagues. The Pozzo family have famously or infamously to many, used their scouting network as the foundations for all transfer activity. Initially Udinese and Granada were the suppliers, providing low cost loans and permanent transfers up until recently where largely foreign players have arrived at Vicarage Road. This is a completely different policy to the grain, one that has resulted in very few English players at the club but one that has ultimately worked and at such little cost when you look at the output. The owners are not willing to break the sustainability of the club and break Financial Fair Play like the heralded Leicester and Bournemouth but to instead intelligently use an alternative to find the answers.
3. Being in touch, valuing the club
Up and down the country you will find plenty of fans who are not happy with their owners, being treated like customers by owners who are overly concerned with the bank balance of the club with no consideration of the most important component of a football club. It’s easy for a foreign investor to disregard the identity of their new product. This is where the Pozzo family deserve tremendous appreciation by all of the Watford community. They have respected and embraced everything that the club are about since the moment they walked in, when you step inside Vicarage Road you will now see the Sir Elton John Stand opposite the Graham Taylor stand, both renamed under their tenure, both easily could have been the Bet365 Stand, The Tesco Stand etc. That shows the level of class and understanding the owners have of the game, to respect their biggest stakeholder and to make the best decisions that are not always financially driven. These are just a couple of examples of what the Pozzo family have done in this sense, they have not sold the club’s soul and sadly in modern football, it should be admired.
4. Building a complete football club
Vicarage Road Stadium has certainly changed since the Pozzo Family took over, no longer is it a building site with three stands, it’s a gleaming complete arena blended with the traditional and the new. This show’s that once again the whole club is on the up, a new club shop, a new stadium, a new big screen may seem insignificant when twenty two players go to battle on a Saturday afternoon but the owners are driving the club forward in every aspect. This is not a short term fix, this is everything that a football owner should be. Having a clear vision, having a clear strategy in order to go about achieving it, developing every aspect of the club to get there without jeopardising the future or identity of the football club, that is what the Pozzo’s are, that is why they are the greatest owners in the Premier League.
Did you know much about how the Watford owners since they took charge? Watford fans, do you agree with these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Ungry Young Man