Journalism student Billy Hawkins reflects on a dramatic week at the Vic’ & a change of head coach
ON Monday morning, whilst thinking about what to write, the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas seemed the most relevant to the then-current Watford situation; a manager under pressure following a less than convincing season. And, who doesn`t loathe an unjust sacking? Yet, as I returned from work to discover and read Gianfranco Zola`s open resignation letter, the subject matter for this column defined itself very clearly.
The biggest thing to take out of Zola`s resignation, and his respectful way of doing it, is just how humble the man is, even in the process of a monumental career change. He holds no ill will towards either players or fans – even those who were less than supportive during the drop in form – and, as he admitted after the Sheffield Wednesday loss, he holds full responsibility for the team’s change in fortunes.
It hasn`t taken for the club to move on to the next man – Giuseppe Sannino – afterall, football is a business that requires constant management.
It is no surprise that a defensive coach seems to be the favourite for the job, considering the biggest failure of Zola`s reign was a perpetual failure to defend.
Although a mixture of injuries and bad luck haunted Zola throughout last and this season, the basis of any successful side – especially one coached by an Italian – is the defence; Helenio Herrera invented Catenaccio at his Grande Inter side in the 60`s, and Arrigo Sacchi perfected the defensively sound, pressing based zonal marking system which won him two consecutive European cups.
Whilst Sannino has no such experience – having only bad experiences at the top level in Italy – his Serie B reputation is respectable.
Surely experience in the second division – the same level of football as Watford play – is more important than any other experience a manager may have.
The disenfranchised are usually inclined to stay and repeat the same things over and over again; Zola had no such inclination.
Seeing that he survived much longer than many thought, there was a good chance that the Pozzo`s were determined to see him through to the end. Choosing to resign, for the good of the club, shows a man has more integrity than the majority of humankind.
A man who will be missed for the all the highs and lows of last season; for the masterclass at Brighton, for the loss to Leeds, for the quality of the football and for the Play-OIff Final loss.
Everything amounts to a season that will live long in the memory.
Gianfranco, you will be sorely missed by all at Vicarage Road.