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The Pozzos at a Watford game (Photo: BBC)
The Pozzos at a Watford game (Photo: BBC)

Watford – In the Pozzos We Trust

“In the Pozzos we trust,” is a phrase that is well-known around Watford, but why has it come about?

Lately it has been used as a reply to any criticism. For example “You have had 5 managers in 12 months,” the reply comes;”In the Pozzos we trust.” “That’s 10 new signings now,” again, the reply comes; “In the Pozzos we trust,” and so on and so forth.

Well, Watford’s owners aren’t what some people portray them to be. Anyone who knows the club will have seen all the positive impacts that the Pozzo family have had and it is quite clear that the family wouldn’t have invested so much into Watford if they didn’t care about what happens to the club.

As a result fans of the Hornets have understandably taken a liking to their owners and now trust whatever decision they make. This is becoming unusual in the current era of football in general, with so many fans wishing that their owners would sell up.

However as mentioned the Pozzos are nothing like your typical crooked owners, like Laurence Bassini or Massimo Cellino to name a few.

So here are just a few promises that the Pozzos have kept showing why fans can stick to those lines of; “in the Pozzos we trust.”

Stadium Expansion

Watford fans had to live with a 3-sided stadium for many years after the old East stand was finally torn down but not replaced. The club was in no position financially to build a new stand but this has changed since the arrival of the Pozzo family.

Watford’s chief executive Scott Duxbury told newspapers many times that the Pozzos would build a new East Stand once they felt that there was enough demand. Duxbury said once attendance at Vicarage Road was around the 15,000 mark consistently, then the Pozzos would build a new stand.

True to their word on the 13th of December 2013 the Watford Observer announced that construction of a new East stand would begin after the club was granted planning permission. Exactly a year later on the 13th of December 2014, the East stand, which was named the Elton John Stand was officially opened.

Currently the Pozzos are expanding the stadium even further in time for the Premier League season with the total capacity of Vicarage Road coming to just over 21,000, which to some fans may not seem a lot, but, its welcome news to Watford fans.

Youth Team

Many fans have criticised Watford for signing international players, when the club typically has relied on its youth system.

The Pozzos, contrary to popular belief have – perhaps – unbeknown to non-Watford fans – have invested in Watford’s youth. Most recently the academy has been upgraded to a category 2 status, meaning the U21’s and the U18’s will play league fixtures. The Pozzos originally downgraded the academy to category 3 with the intention of upgrading it again when they felt it was necessary.

Watford also have recently given Dennon Lewis a three-year deal, which isn’t usual, as young players are mostly offered one or two-year deals and are kept around the reserves. As well as this, the news that most non-Watford fans may have heard by now, is that Australian footballing legend, and ex-Liverpool winger Harry Kewell will take charge of the U21’s. A move, that can surely only benefit the youngsters coming through, being led by such a renowned ex-footballer, who will have bags of experiences and stories to pass on.

Promotion

When the Pozzos arrived they said that Watford would be promoted to the Premier League. They said that within three years the club will be promoted.

The Hornet’s almost achieved their aim on the first try when they came 3rd in the league and having negated their way through the lottery of the Play-Offs, reached the Play-Off Final. Having lost in that Final, fans expected to be right up there again next season, but this did not turn out to be the case as Watford finished 13th.

However, on the third time of asking, the club came second in the Championship, thus ensuring promotion to the Premier League right on schedule.

Survival?

Having looked at the past we must turn our attention to the future to look at the Pozzos latest challenge; keeping the club in the Premier League. Watford’s owners haven’t exactly promised survival this year, but they have spoken of a desire to establish Watford as a Premier League club.

Watford fans are quite optimistic about the future due to the suggestion that they may soon be a club that is in a good state in the Premier League and possibly don’t have to worry about the threat of relegation. Why shouldn’t fans be optimistic then, given that the Pozzos have delivered on the rest of their promises.

Fans of the Hornet’s have rightly pointed out the Pozzo’s know what they are doing when it comes to football, referring to two main points, their track record and player recruitment.

Track Record

The Pozzos, as many people know own two other clubs Udinese and Granada.

Starting with Udinese, Giampaolo Pozzo took over the club in 1986 and after a rough start the club established themselves in the Serie A and more recently have done quite well, qualifying for the Champions League in 2005 and 2011. Although since 2011 the club have struggled a bit more but remain in the top flight of Italian football.

Moving onto Granada, the Pozzo family purchased the club in 2009 and in the 2010-11 season the club were promoted to La Liga after a 35-year absence and have remained in the league since. Although the club are still threatened by relegation they continue to survive in the top flight.

Player Recruitment

Much has been made about the 10 new signings that Watford have brought in, with many people saying that they have never heard of most of the players.

This is often the case given that the Pozzos have an extensive scouting network available to them and seem to be able to find talent right across the globe. Fans of other clubs seem to think that Watford are destined for doom given that they have signed players that few have heard of.

However few Watford fans would have heard of Matej Vydra before he came in and scored 20 goals in his first season in the Championship. The same applies for Odion Ighalo who again netted 20 times for the Hornets in his debut season for the club. We can also include one Alexis Sanchez, who not many Udinese fans would have heard of when he first played for the club back in 2008. There are many other examples including Juan Cuadrado, Medhi Benatia and so on. Thus, I wouldn’t criticise Watford’s new signings just yet.

Whilst you can argue that there has been more of the same from the Pozzos, there has also been two astute signings, with Premier League experience. Both Etienne Capoue and Valon Behrami will provide vital Premier League experience, as well as some class in Watford’s midfield.

In the Pozzos we trust

I hope I’ve enlightened you as to the meaning behind the phrase “in the Pozzos we trust,” and if any Watford fans know a promise that the Pozzos haven’t kept then do let me know because I struggle to think of one.

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Writer Info about Chris Hurst

Chris Hurst is a student from Surrey. Although only 18, he already has a lot of experience writing for online publications. He is a life-long Watford FC fan and has been a season-ticket holder for 13 years.

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Watford Transfer Window Analysis

What Happens Next? | Watford Transfer Window

...With a maximum of 17 foreign players over the age of 21 Gino Pozzo had to plan his transfer deals carefully and he has done exactly that...

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