Written by Danny Ion
As a Watford fan, I can honestly say that the Pozzo’s (now just Gino) are the best thing that has ever happened to my club. I have supported them since I was born pretty much.
We’ve had many highs, many low’s. Before the Pozzo’s took control in the summer of 2012, we were really struggling with our finances. Thanks to our… lets just say ‘bad owner’ last time. There are so many words I could use to describe him but I shall keep my cool.
As the majority of you will know, The Pozzo’s at the time owned two football clubs before they took over us, (Udinese – Italy & Granada CF – Spain) hence the nickname ‘Udinese B’ due to masses of players we signed from Udinese. Now it is just us and Udinese that they own, they sold Granada this summer. They have owned Udinese since the 1980’s but in time, I think they want to make us the priority.
We have signed many players since they took over. Some good, some bad. A complete mixture if i’m being perfectly honest.
I was going to just put in the best 11 players signed since 2012 but then that would mean leaving a certain someone out & I think all you Watford fans should know exactly who I’m on about.
Here is the best XI of the Pozzo Era at Watford:
Heurelho Gomes – Do I really need to say why?
Marco Cassetti – This guy was so cool. If we had him in his prime, he would have been even better. He gets in this squad with his facial hair alone.
Craig Cathcart – Many eyebrows were raised when the club announced we would be re-signing him. He didn’t exactly enjoy a previous loan spell with us, back in 09/10 season, not really performing well. But how he has proved everyone wrong (including myself). A very consistent performer at the back and got better each game he played. He scored a superb and vital goal at home to Birmingham to give us a 1-0 win on the way to promotion. Injury has plagued his season so far this campaign. One of the first names on the team sheet when fully fit.
Sebastian Prodl – The 2nd one of the centre backs still currently with the club. He had an up and down campaign last season, regularly being left on the bench up until the last few games, scoring 2 goals against West Ham and Sunderland. This season though, he has been superb. One of the 1st names on the team sheet. Has been consistent throughout. A dazzling display against Man Utd at home earned him a deserved MOM. Legend has it that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still getting nightmares of him still in Sebby’s back pocket. The Liverpool away game proved how much we missed him.
Fernando Forestieri – Before you say it, yes I know he never played in this position but I just had to fit him in. An immediate fans favourite. Sometimes his attitude would come into question but his talent was there for everyone to see. Full of flair & skill, he would terrorise defences. Not the most clinical in front of goal, but his creativity was superb. Many fans were gutted when he left, including myself.
Almen Abdi – Easy decision really. For anyone nicknamed ‘The Professor’, you have to pretty damn special. Genuinely the most gifted player I’ve seen play for Watford. Everyone loved him and we still do.
Etienne Capoue – A real coup when we signed him from Spurs at the start of last season. Spurs fans were laughing, who is laughing now? He couldn’t hit a barn door last season yet he has 5 goals this season. 4 goals in the 1st 5 league games and then also bagging in the last game at home to Leicester. Loves a cheeky nutmeg or two also. He has even been talked about a recall to the French national team, just rumours though mind. Class act.
Nathaniel Chalobah – The only one in this squad that never actually signed for us (1 season loan from Chelsea 12/13 season). Many fans asked, ‘Who’? 17 years old when he joined us, but he played like a lad in his prime. We knew he was special as soon as we first saw him in action. Look up ‘Chalobah goal v Leicester’ on YouTube, then you will see what I mean by special. It says a lot now that he has been on the bench for Chelsea for almost every game this season. I think it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a regular there.
Ikechi Anya – This was a tough one. Possibly controversial. I would have gone for Nordin Amrabat but he hasn’t played that many games to be selected, sorry Nordin. Kech is probably the quickest player I’ve ever seen at Watford. An absolute gentleman too. Always worked hard which is what everyone wants to see.
Troy Deeney – Will now probably go into most Watford fans all time Watford XI. What a guy. Started the Pozzo Era in jail as you all know but what a difference it made to him. His season didn’t start until September yet he still managed to score 20+ goals that season. He’s also the holder of scoring the most memorable goal in Watford’s history. That one Yes. The only Watford player in history to score 20+ goals in 3 consecutive seasons (12/13, 13/14, 14/15). A leader on/off the pitch. Should have gotten an England call up by now. Turned down Champions league football to sign a new contract this summer. This says everything about his commitment. Legend. I could continue writing countless of paragraphs about him but I think you all know how much of a legend he is.
Matej Vydra – Another easy decision (Sorry Iggy). ‘Vyds’ was class. His finishing was just unbelievable. The partnership with Troy was probably the best I’ve ever seen. As soon as he started to move, players knew instantly where he wanted the ball. A very similar player to Jamie Vardy, the way he would always look to run onto the balls. This was his main strength. More often than not, it would end in a goal.
Slavisa Jokanovic – Well he did get us promoted didn’t he?
Watford fans, what changes would you make? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Franziska