Following the recent and unfortunate relegation of the Watford FC from the Premier League following a 3-2 defeat against Arsenal, owner Gino Pozzo has made declarations promising to bring much-needed change and a new approach to running his football club.

Watford FC owner Gino Pozzo is a member of the well-known Pozzo family, whose reputation in European football is legendary. Known for their unique approach to trading and recruiting players, this Italian family runs their international football empire – which also includes ownership of the Udinese Calcio FC in Italy, and once included the Granada FC in Spain – with a unique approach, unlike that of other football club owners anywhere in Europe.

Gino believes in keeping the squad’s energy fresh by never letting any player or manager overstay their welcome. After rescuing the floundering club in 2014 and elevating them to the Premier League in only four seasons, Pozzo has earned the respect and admiration of the club’s fans and followers, as well a the players themselves, many of whom have gotten life-transforming opportunities to bring their skills to European football thanks to Pozzo and his family.

Yet Pozzo has surprised the club’s followers over the past year, as his usual enthusiasm for refreshing the locker room with new blood was limited to making several changes to the squad’s head coaches, but did not extend to any significant recruiting of new players. While three different head coaches managed the squad between 2019 and 2020, the club failed to implement the summer transfers recommended by then-coach Javi Gracia in the Summer of 2019.  And that may have cost the Hornets dearly.

While many outside observers have cast the blame on Pozzo for the Hornets’ regrettable finish in 19th Place at the Premiere League table at the end of the 2019/20 season, supporters of the club still have Pozzo’s back and are keeping the faith that he can return the club to the Premier League. Many are hopeful that Pozzo will re-implement his past aggressive transfer strategy and proven track record with implementing some of the smartest recruitments and transfers in European football, many of which have brought some of the world’s best up-and-coming players to Vicarage Road.

In an official declaration released by Pozzo and his right-hand-man Scott Duxbury, Pozzo expressed his regret for mistakes made that cost the club their prestigious status, while reiterating his commitment to the club’s future, and to rebuilding their good name and returning them back to the Premier League.

“We have always said we are here for the long-term and we will not allow this one moment of great disappointment to stop the continued development of this club over the next eight years and beyond,” Pozzo declared.  “There will be lessons learned and changes made but, from today, we move forward. We have to accept a different challenge.”

Watford was relegated to the Sky Bet Championship following the club’s recent 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, and the sacking of head coach Nigel Pearson, the third manager to coach the Hornets during the ill-fated 2019/20 season.  After Javi Gracia was let go after the club’s impressive finish in 2019, during which they played their first FA Cup final since their glory days back in the mid-1980s, Quique Sanchez Flores briefly stepped up as head coach, until Nigel Pearson was selected to replace him in December of 2019.

Many believe it was a mistake on Pozzo’s part to dismiss Pearson with only two fixtures remaining in the season, alleging that the lack of stability, coupled with the negative effects of the Covid Pandemic upon player morale may have weakened the squad and led to their poor performance and unfortunate relegation.

The Hornets have not played particularly well since the Premier League’s restart following the lockdown during the pandemic, and during their last two matches against Manchester City and Arsenal, their poor performance finally cost them their coveted spot in the top flight.

In the past, Pozzo’s leadership led to an ongoing turnover of players at Watford, which initially produced remarkable results, elevating the club to the top flight status and sustaining that success for five years running. Having rebuilt the Hornets squad almost yearly, Pozzo’s decision to forego the opportunity to strengthen the squad with new transfers during the summer of 2019 surprised many.

Still, Hornets fans remain loyal to Pozzo. For many, the evidence of inconsistent strategies displayed Javi Gracia, Sanchez Flores, and Pearson justified Pozzo’s decision to continue searching for a more suitable manager that can cement a more robust identity among the squad. Many defend and support Pozzo’s “perfectionist” attitude and have faith that he will, indeed, build a stronger and more successful squad heading into the future.

In his official declaration following the club’s relegation, Pozzo made lofty promises.  “Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to take Watford Football Club back to the Premier League, something we all believe we can achieve,” he assured players and supporters alike.

He also reminded the club’s followers of the achievements made during his period of leadership, noting in particular that the club has revitalized its relationship to the Watford community, as evidenced in the solid and generous support the club offered to the NHS when they turned over their facilities to Watford General hospital to provide much-needed community support during the pandemic.

“The fact we have transformed Vicarage Road Stadium and built a club of true substance – with links to the community that are the envy of many – is a source of great pride,” Pozzo reminded his followers.

“We will make changes where the team is concerned and those changes will make us stronger, ready to face the challenges that lie ahead and rekindle the passion that has always been a hallmark of this great club.”

And those who have been loyal the Hornets even during their darkest hours before the Pozzo era are holding tight to these promises, believing in Pozzo’s ability to steer the club out of troubled waters once more, and back to the top flight where they can continue to make football history as one of the most well-loved “underdogs” in English football, and one that will rise once again to see their day in the sun.