The Pozzo Football Family Has A New Son
With the events of the last three days at times moving more swiftly than a speeding bullet but also appearing to be in slow motion it's been an odd 72-hours or so to be following news from Vicarage Road and those reporting on it. Of course, the all but completed takeover by members of the Pozzo family from Mr Bassini of Watford Football Club has been talked of in hushed tones for some months now and even then with one hand covering the lips from prying eyes.
This article was originally published in blog:
The Pozzo Football Family Has A New Son
Social media bought the possibilty of new ownership to a wider audience with hints and often clumsy clues while the Watford Observer seemed hell bent on not saying anything which served only to heighten the senses that something was actually happening. Like Space Dust on a virgin tongue snippets of information began to pop up everywhere over the weekend. From Twitter to forums to e-mails to websites it seemed a dam had been breached and those who had previously whispered could now talk normally, if not quite fully, about Watford FC becoming a part of the Pozzo football family. And here we stand on a Monday night with contracts seemingly drawn and pens held out just waiting for the all importand hands to close around them and sign along the dotted lines.
After years of being little old Watford, punching above their weight, could this seemingly kindly new father figure really be about to put the Hornets on its first steps to not only financial security but progress on the field too? Time will tell on both fronts but one thing seems certain and that is change. Change in the clubs own outlook and ambitions as well as a change in the hopes and expectations of the fans. And there's the thing. Change is a disruptive force whether you embrace it or not. After far too many years of what felt like unwilling and at times inept owners it now appears we're changing direction. Rather than looking down we're expecting to be looking up. Jeez, I'm getting giddy just thinking of the possibilities!
But how does this sit with the average Hornet? With a prospective new owner who is already successful in not one but two of the major European football leagues then how do little old Watford adapt to being a major player in the countries top two divisions? Who in the past has bemoaned clubs who have been taken over by foreign money. It's not the way to go about things is it, buying success like Chelsea, Manchester City or Blackburn Rovers under Jack Walker all those years ago. As a small to medium sized club based in a town just outside of London (take note media people, we're still not in London) we took pride in knowing our place. Of producing players from a revered academy system who became stars in waiting for supposedly bigger and better teams. A club who took other teams youngsters and helped to develop those too. All the while trying to play fair off the field as others took advantage and spent their way to the edge of oblivion and beyond. Do we forget how we sneered at Leicester City and their investment? Or Cardiff and their rebranding? Southampton's American money? Brighton and their new found wealth? Reading & Blackpool too? Have we joined them now? Are we just another business venture from foreign shores that is using the club to get to the Premiership riches?
The one difference the Pozzo family has over all of those clubs is their football pedigree but are we using that to gloss over the fact Watford FC is no longer the family club it once was, rather the club of a family that wants the same as all those unmarried, childless investors? As supporters do we throw our long held principals away. Build slowly over time, be prudent and hope we have a Boothroyd season before the money runs out or do we now embrace modern ways and spend for success and get propelled into the supposed big time. Again, the Pozzo way does seem different to the majority of foreign investors. Looking at the way they've built Udinese and Granada indicates a measured approach of developing not only the club over time but players too. Invest - develop - sell. Invest - develop - sell. So on that front we shouldn't see too much change, it just remains to be seen whose players we're developing and for whose benefit.
It has to be said the club as a whole needs investment and has done for a number of years. A solid plan that is stuck to which, to be fair to the Bassini regime, seemed to be happening, from the outside at least, under the stewardship of Taylor, Timperley & Fransen. Without it it would stagnate, dwindle and eventually die so on that front any money the Pozzo's bring is welcome and with a business model not so unrecognisable to what Watford tries to adhere to already it may just be time to believe. So while change is winding it's way towards us is it going to be that much of a change in the way Watford Football Club conducts itself? Have we at last been picked up by hands that can nurture without turning the club into a souless entity that will fall into an abyss when they tire and drop us. That will instead let us develop with some gentle encouragement but still be able to recognise ourselves when looking in the mirror each morning.
It's time to embrace change, to grow, but also to remember where we came from. We can still be a family club but it doesn't mean we can't be part of a big family.