Watford confirm new manager as Roy Hodgson makes surprise retirement u-turn


Watford have confirmed that Roy Hodgson has been named the club’s third boss of the season.

The Hornets have moved to appoint the former England boss on a deal until the end of the campaign, after Claudio Ranieri became the latest managerial casualty at Vicarage Road.

Ranieri was dismissed following the dismal 3-0 defeat to relegation rivals Norwich City on Friday night.

Under the Italian, Watford had lost seven of their last eight Premier League matches with their last victory coming back in November.

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Roy Hodgson has been named Watford's third manager of the season
Roy Hodgson has been named Watford’s third manager of the season

Watford confirmed his departure on Monday, with a statement which read: “The Hornets’ board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.

“However, the board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the head coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.”

He departed the club’s London Colney training ground for the last time wishing the club well and with a ringing endorsement for his successor, declaring: “I can only say good luck to everybody – to Watford, the fans, the board.

“That’s football, but I believe that with these three new players, Watford can be safe. And also arrives a fantastic manager. I wish him all the best.”

Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Watford following the 3-0 home defeat to Norwich
Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Watford following the 3-0 home defeat to Norwich

Hodgson will be tasked with steering Watford away from relegation trouble, having completed a U-turn on his retirement plans.

The 74-year-old ex-England national team boss – joined by his trusted assistant Ray Lewington – suggested he was planning to retire after he left Crystal Palace at the end of last season.

Hodgson, who has been managing since 1976 and lasted four seasons at Selhurst Park before hinting he would call time on his storied career.

At the time he said: “The moment is right for me to step down from my responsibilities of being a full-time manager.

“It’s a decision which hasn’t exactly been taken overnight,” he added. “It’s been really brewing for a long time.

“I had in the back of my mind that the right time to leave the club and maybe even to leave football for a while would be at the end of the season.

However, his break looks set to last only eight months, as he now prepares for his 21st permanent role.


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