Watford have sacked Rob Edwards as Head Coach and appointed Slaven Bilic as his replacement with immediate effect.
Edwards joined the club from Forest Green Rovers in May as the successor to Roy Hodgson who stood down at end of last season, as Watford suffered relegation from the Premier League and a series of first-team departures including Juraj Kucka, Moussa Sissoko and Emmanuel Dennis.
The 39 year-old nevertheless held onto Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr amidst intense transfer speculation in the summer transfer window, and now leaves Vicarage Road with the Hornets sat 10th in the Championship and just one point outside of the Play-Offs.
In a club statement announcing Edwards’ sudden departure, Watford said:
“Watford FC has relieved Rob Edwards of his duties as Head Coach.
“The Board of Watford Football Club wishes to place on record its thanks to Rob for all of his work since his appointment and wish him and his assistant Richie Kyle – who will also leave the club – all the very best for their future careers in coaching and management.”
Across his 11 matches in charge in all competitions, Edwards guided Watford to three wins, five draws and three defeats.
Watford shortly afterwards confirmed Bilic as their new Head Coach on a 18-month contract once his work permit is approved.
“As with all decisions taken by the Board, I believe this change to be in the best interests of the club,” commented Watford owner, Gino Pozzo on this unexpected managerial change midway through the international break.
Explaining exactly why he has sacked Edwards and brought in Bilic as his replacement, Pozzo issued the following statement: “We felt Rob had enough time to show us the identity of his team, however performances haven’t reflected our hopes and ambitions.
“Now we must move forward, and, in Slaven Bilić, we have secured the services of an experienced coach who has recent experience of promotion to the Premier League.”
Bilic – who has previously played and managed Croatia – has previous experience in English football, having managed West Ham between June 2015 – November 2017 during which he helped the Hammers set several new club records in the Premier League.
The Croatian then spent time at Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad before he returned to England with West Bromwich Albion, where he helped the Baggies clinch promotion from the Championship in 2019-20 season but couldn’t keep them up in the Premier League as he was sacked in December 2020.
Bilic’s first match as Watford manager sees the Hornets visit Stoke City live on Sky Sports on Sunday 2 October in a 12pm BST kick-off, before his first match at Vicarage Road sees Watford face Swansea on Wednesday 5 October.