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Watford appoint Slaven Bilic as manager after sacking Rob Edwards

Slaven Bilic is the new manager of Watford (Glyn Kirk/PA)
Slaven Bilic is the new manager of Watford (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Watford have sacked manager Rob Edwards and replaced him with former West Ham and West Brom boss Slaven Bilic.

The Sky Bet Championship club announced the latest overhaul of their coaching staff on Monday, less than three months after appointing Edwards.

The former Forest Green manager oversaw just 11 games and leaves with the club 10th in the table as they bid to bounce back from relegation from the Premier League last term.

Edwards was in charge at Watford for just 11 games
Edwards was in charge at Watford for just 11 games (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Watford owner Gino Pozzo said: “As with all decisions taken by the board, I believe this change to be in the best interests of the club.

“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 Bilic, we have secured the services of an experienced coach who has recent experience of promotion to the Premier League.”

Bilic, who has also managed his native Croatia in his two-decade management career, led West Brom to the top flight in 2020.

The 54-year-old’s arrival continues a remarkable churn of managers at Watford under the ownership of the Pozzo family over the past decade. He is the 17th full-time appointment since July 2012.

Edwards was brought in following the club’s relegation last summer having impressed at Forest Green, whom he led to the League Two title.

He replaced Roy Hodgson, who had been appointed on a short-term deal in January following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. The Italian, in turn, had been sacked after just three months.

Edwards made a promising start as his side collected seven points from their opening three games but had managed just one more win since.

Rob Edwards won the League Two title with Forest Green before switching to Watford
Edwards won the League Two title with Forest Green before switching to Watford (Simon Galloway/PA)

A statement from the club added: “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.”

Bilic has been given an 18-month contract, subject to receiving a work permit. His first match in charge will be Sunday’s trip to Stoke.