Watford appoint 18th manager in last 10 years as Slaven Bilic sacked

Watford will make Chris Wilder their 18th manager over the past decade after Slaven Bilic was sacked on Tuesday. Bilic came in as Rob Edwards’ replacement back in September after the Welshman lasted just 10 games into the new season having replaced Roy Hodgson at the end of last year.

But now Bilic has become the latest victim with the Pozzo family sacking the 54-year-old following their 0-0 draw at home to Preston last weekend. Watford released a brief statement on their club website, appearing to take aim at Bilics’ record of “just three wins since Christmas”.

“We are all ambitious to succeed this season, so something new is needed quickly while the opportunity of promotion is still real,” Watford technical director Ben Manga added. “With the January transfer window over, to change coach is the only option available to re-energise for the final games ahead.”

It’s now being reported that Chris Wilder has agreed to take charge until the end of the season on a short-term deal. He will join a long list of managers hired and fired by Watford over the past decade, starting with Gianfranco Zola’s reign.

The Chelsea icon was the Pozzo family’s first appointment after taking over at Watford in 2012, but the Italian lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Giuseppe Sannino. The ensuing years would see a host of managers come and go from Vicarage Road such as Slavisa Jokanovic, Quique Sanchez Florez (twice), Javi Gracia and Claudio Ranieri among others.

Most managers barely lasted a full season in charge before being sacked with some surprises dismissals along the way. Gracia led the club to 11th in the Premier League as well as the FA Cup final back in 2019, but was fired just four games into the following season.

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Watford remain in the hunt for a playoff push in the Championship as they sit just four points adrift of Norwich in sixth. Wilder has been out of work since being sacked by Middlesbrough back in October.

The 55-year-old has won promotion from all four divisions below the Premier League in his managerial career, starting with Oxford from the Conference Premier in 2010. He then won the League Two title with Northampton in 2016 before leading Sheffield United back to the Premier League with promotions from League One and the Championship.

But Wilder was unable to continue that impressive streak at Middlesbrough, just missing out on a play-off spot last season.

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