Sannino’s success demands more support from Hornets

There are clearly issues at Vicarage Road right now – issues that caused Lloyd Dyer to celebrate his goal at Rotherham on Tuesday in furious fashion and subsequently find himself dropped from the following match-day squad, issues that caused Lewis McGugan to be left out of two consecutive squads and issues that have forced journalists close to the club to confirm that others of Dyer and McGugan’s team-mates are discontented and that Beppe Sannino’s future is ‘up in the air’.

These are issues, however, in which very few of your ‘typical’ supporter can claim knowledge of.

Indeed had Dyer not celebrated in such fashion on Tuesday night then it is unlikely that any fan would have been any the wiser.

At around 2:15 yesterday afternoon, when Dyer and McGugan’s exclusions were confirmed, Twitter and fans’ forums were alight with criticism for the Hornets’ Italian head coach who had apparently ‘clearly lost the dressing room’. These claims, while appearing to have some substance to them, are also shrouded in plenty of guesswork.

These behind-the-scenes problems almost certainly stem back to the end of last season when an argument between management and players resulted in a pitiful 1-4 reverse at home to Huddersfield Town. 

It would follow, therefore, that they have been present while Watford performed impressively throughout pre-season, while they have, almost certainly down to the work of Sannino, become infinitely more formidable defensively. The squad has become fitter, stronger and most importantly, they have won four of their first five games of the 2014-15 season.

While I do understand that players play with professional pride and want to win the game for themselves, I question whether all of these positives would have been possible if the training ground conditions were that horrendous, that unbearable.

But I don’t really want to dwell on behind-the-scenes activity, as the point of this article is that no-one really knows what’s happening there. To put it simply, until more detail is available, how can it be used as ammunition to fuel a ‘Sannino Out’ campaign?

Unfortunately for Sannino, by virtue of being unheard off in this country when he took over, he developed a band of supporters that were on his back immediately, not prepared to give him anywhere near the breathing space and time that they would have afforded someone they’d heard of. Some had their minds made up from day one.

It is totally unfair to point to the capitulation at Nottingham Forest, to the away form and to the dreadful last three games of last season while ignoring the tactical master-class at Manchester City and the striking fact that Sannino’s team had broken a club record by winning six home games in a row without conceding, inside three months of his arrival. 

It was clearly not all rosy, but Sannino had arrested the trajectory in which the team were sliding down – surely his remit when he took over.

Mission ‘Promotion’ has got off to an encouraging start.

Watford have swept away two mediocre sides at Vicarage Road while the primitive signs are that we have developed a ‘method’ of winning away from home – evidenced at both Stevenage and Rotherham.

For people to be calling for Sannino to be dismissed due to a squad selection is horribly unjust – I’d wager that those same folk were less sure three hours on.

But if, or as it seems inevitable, when, Sannino loses his job I trust that the Pozzos will have got it right. Their knowledge of football has proven itself to be strong and they will make sure that they have made themselves fully aware of all factors before they make the decision.

If Sannino goes, it will be because it’s been considered that our chances of promotion are harmed by sticking with him.

We as fans are not privy to those factors. How do we know that McGugan, Dyer and whoever else is not in the wrong? 14 players featured yesterday and seemingly carried out the manager’s instruction effectively. Two key first-team players were considered unable to do so and were therefore left out.

On the flip side, Sannino may really be that bad to deal with. Does his animation on the side-lines during 90 minutes on a Saturday perhaps turns into something rather more aggressive and nasty on a Monday morning?

Whatever the truth of the situation, the bare facts, the facts that are available to all of us, point to Sannino deserving of more support. He did the job required of him last season, and has begun this term in a similar vein.

He won’t lose his job because of on-the-pitch results – I doubt anyone claiming to have ‘not rated him from the start’ expected him to potentially lose his job in these circumstances. He will hardly have left us in the worst position moving forward, in terms of league position.

In conclusion, I feel that Sannino deserves all of our support until the true situation is made clear; the best thing for everyone is if that situation, whether manager or players at fault, is resolved quickly. 


  1. I would echo those sentiments. Dyer’s reaction to not started was shameful and not picking him totally justified. McGugan’s performances last season were decidedly mixed and that he has been dropped should come as no surprise.

    Let’s get behind the team – whoever is in it – and leave the rest to the Pozzos. And leave Beppe alone!

  2. I am still not convinced that BS is right man for job! He strikes me as a kind of ‘Italian George graham’!!! Whether the language barrier is an issue for him remains unclear but our start to season doesn’t warrant sacking him yet!!

  3. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lewis McGugan was moved on in this transfer window. I think we can live without him!

  4. constant team changes ,constant team system changes, this type of coaching is a recipe for player discontent. Unreasonable demands on players personal lives ,this rot set in near the end of last season and hasn’t abated thus far this season. Forget the results so far, winning against nine men ,think it was ten against Rotherham and a victory over a poor Bolton,yet got found out by Norwich.Sorry to say ,Beppe isn’t or any other Italian coach seems right for Watford as past history shows ,so lets get a coach with some past success that knows English football!

    • We beat a Rotherham team that had 11 eleven players. However, you assumed, wrongly, that we only beat them because they had 10 players, but then when it come to losing, with 10 men, to Norwich, you suggest that we were found out. Your arguments are very lopsided. Yes, the teams that we have beaten are not the best in the league, but we have won 9-1 on aggregate, which isn’t too shabby. I also don’t know whther Sannino is the right man to get us promoted, but this early in the season I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  5. No player is bigger than our club. Sannino is enthusiastic, committed, hardworking and determined. Surely all the things we want in a manager? Players knew from last season what he was like, surely? So – they should just show the same commitment to getting us out of this darned Championship.

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