Watford’s managerial roundabout is an embarrassment to English football

Watford sacked boss Xisco Munoz on Sunday following their defeat to Leeds United.

The 1-0 defeat at Elland Road was Watford’s fourth of the season and left them in 14th place after previously picking up wins against Aston Villa and Norwich City, while also taking a point from Newcastle United.

Despite a poor performance against the Whites, Xisco Munoz’s side had pulled off a satisfactory start to the season for a side that were favourites for relegation after they had won promotion to the top tier for the third time in 14 years.

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The Hornets have spent a majority of this century in the second division and, while remaining in the top tier for five years prior to last season, had never managed a top half finish in the Premier League.

Similar to the nicknamed ‘Yo-Yo’ club that is Norwich City, who have stuck by current boss Daniel Farke since 2017, Watford have failed to make themselves a staple in the top tier of English football and as they look to appoint their sixth manager in two years, it is becoming more obvious that they are happy to accept mediocrity.

While a continious managerial roundabout would suggest they are searching for the right man to improve their position as a football club and help them to become a permanent fixture in the Premier League, when you look at the decisions they have made in sacking certain managers it certainly raises a lot of questions.

Javi Gracia was the perfect example of one of Watford’s most controversial sackings, with the Spaniard being shown the door after only four matches of the 2019/20 campaign.

The Hornets had endured a poor start to the season and picked up only one point, however Gracia - who spent 20 months at Vicarage Road - had led them to their highest Premier League finish and to the FA Cup final the season before.

Similarly, in December 2019 Nigel Pearson was appointed Watford boss until the end of the season with the task of keeping them in the top tier. The arrival former Leicester City manager was unexpected - given the Hornets reputation of bringing in lesser-known foreign coaches - but it was believed by many that he would get the job done.

Watford, once again, shocked supporters when they dismissed Pearson with two games remaining of the season. The club were seven points adrift at the bottom of the league when the ex-defender took charge and were three points above the bottom three when he was sacked, however the Hornets went onto lose their final matches and were subsequently relegated.

If Watford had gone onto win their remaining fixtures then perhaps the decision would have been brushed aside, but the sacking of Pearson was quite clearly what resulted in their return to the Championship and it is truly baffling why such a thing would be allowed to happen.

Xisco Munoz was relatively unknown when he joined the Hertfordshire club from Georgian side FC Dinamo Tbilisi, but the 41-year-old enjoyed Championship success following his arrival last Christmas and his start to life in the Premier League had looked reasonably positive for a newly-promoted side - especially in comparison to the Canaries who sit bottom on one point.

Sackings and managerial appointments is part and parcel of football, however I struggle to look at a situation like Watford’s and see how they can possibly believe the dismissal of Munoz is beneficial to the club.

It is unlikely that the Spaniard’s replacement - who is reportedly set to be former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri - will be able to significantly improve on their results so far and if the Hornets are to inevitably return to the Championship next season then questions really ought to be asked of their intentions.

Assumptions can be made of those making these decisions behind the scenes at Vicarage Road and of course we will never know why they believe sacking the likes of Munoz, Pearson and Gracia were ever sensible decisions, but I can safely say I won’t be cheering on Watford anytime soon and I feel sorry for their fans who have no option but to support a side that will continue to be one of the biggest embarrassments of English football.