Watford are now in the market for a new manager, after Gianfranco Zola resigned following a poor sequence of results.
The former West Ham United boss was installed as Vicarage Road boss in the summer of 2012, and last season led them to the playoff final where they lost to Crystal Palace and a Kevin Phillips penalty. However, this term the Hornets have struggled for form, and the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday was their five successive home loss.
This leaves them in mid-table in the Championship standings, and they are as close to the relegation zone as they are to a top-six place. With the pressure mounting on Zola, he has taken the decision to hand in his notice, which his employers have accepted.
In an open letter to supporters, Zola wrote: “I am writing this with a very heavy heart and after a lot of consideration, to tell you that I have resigned. First of all, this decision has not been made quickly. I mentioned after the game on Saturday that I wanted to think about things overnight and that is exactly what I have done.
“I must place Watford Football Club first in my thoughts and it is for this reason that I have taken my action. I feel that it is in the best interests of the team that somebody new is given the chance to bring the success which we have all hoped for and worked very hard for. It is for a variety of reasons, and not just over one matter or one moment, that I feel this is the right decision for me, in the best interests of the club – and I know I can trust you, the supporters, to respect my decision fully.”
Ian Holloway, who was the manager when Palace beat Watford in that playoff final, has been named as an early frontrunner to replace the Italian coach, whilst Steve Clarke, sacked by West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, is another potential contender.