Editor Tom Bodell reflects on Gianfranco Zola’s resignation as head coach
IN the end, it was all rather inevitable.
Gianfranco Zola is a good egg – it`s one of the many virtues people use to beat him with, afterall – but after his admission of a confidence of crisis following the Yeovil aberration and conceding that he would think about his future after Saturday`s defeat, the writing was on the wall.
Most managers under pressure come out fighting when speaking to the press after games; doing their best to talk up the job they`ve done at the club in the face of criticism from all sides and lacklustre performances that have symbolised the pressure they`re facing.
Whilst earlier in this winless run of nine Zola was more bullish about the Hornets` chances after turning their form around, it became painfully obvious that the Sardinian was a beaten man in recent weeks.
It was typical of a classy individual such as Zola that he eventually chose to step down rather than waiting for the bullet.
Many others would have waited to be told their services were no longer required and enjoyed the subsequent cash reward for their failings.
Zola has always been a first-class human being and Fernando Forestieri was among those to highlight his coach`s personal qualities on top of his professional ones last season.
In my few dealings with him last season, Zola proved to be exactly the kind of man he is portrayed as by the media; classy, absorbing, witty and charming and the time I spent with him was worth twice as much as with many others.
We all know my position on Zola, but that`s no longer relevant, the focus quickly switches to finding the right successor.
The new man has to be comfortable in the Head Coach-Director of Football model and happy that although the scouting department scour every corner of the globe for new talent, the Pozzo pool is a useful resource and one which is plundered frequently.
For those reasons alone, we can disqualify messrs Ian Holloway and Neil Warnock from the list of potential replacements.
Holloway should of course be disqualified simply because of his disdain for the model and the scurrilous claims he spent last season making.
A lot depends on who makes the appointment. If it is Gino Pozzo, then all signs point to a continental coach who might not be well-known to a British audience. If it is Gian Luca Nani and Scott Duxbury – responsible for running the club on a day-to-day basis – then it would appear more likely to be someone who has managed in England before.
Steve Clarke coached under Zola at West Ham whilst Duxbury and Nani were in the same roles they occupy presently, four does not necessarily derive from putting two and two together.
The one big positive for me is that this resolution was reached before January. With a fortnight before the transfer window opens, at least the new man will be able to liaise with Nani before the period for recruitment begins.
Our turn on the Zola-coaster might be over, but there are plenty more ups and down to be had this season.
Keep the faith.