Gianpaolo Pozzo: 'We're not used to Premier League numbers at Udinese'

Watford Observer: Tales from the Vicarage Banner

Gianpaolo Pozzo, the head of the family that owns Watford, has insisted that the Italians are at Vicarage Road for the long haul and explained how important the Hornets are to the success of their football business, which includes Italian Serie A club Udinese and Spaniards Granada.

In an exclusive interview for Tales from the Vicarage 2, Pozzo, the 72-year-old father of Gino - who has a more hands on role at Watford, told Paolo Tomaselli: "Had we gone straight into the Premier League, that would have been an immediate €70m increase in revenue. We’re simply not used to numbers like that at Udinese. We’ll have to wait [for promotion] but we have a clear aim, and that’s promotion to the Premier League."

Pozzo also talked about how his family’s takeover of Watford was greeted.

He said: "The press criticised us initially and said that we had a team full of loan players, but they’re silly arguments. What were we supposed to do in the little time we had? The team was put together at the last minute but they were not cast-offs from other teams.

"Watford has to consolidate now. Building the stadium [new stand on the east side of the ground] is the most important step in that direction. But what people have said about us buying a team in England and one in Spain just so we can ‘park’ players there is totally wrong. The fact that my son Gino has moved to London to be close to Watford demonstrates that."

The Pozzos wealth and success with Udinese is acknowledged but few know much about how the family made their money.

Gianpaolo’s father founded a metalwork and mechanical engineering company and kept the business in the family. In the 1960s, Gianpaolo and his brothers expanded the empire, partly thanks to the financial input of his wife, the textile industry heiress Giulana Linda. They took a large stake in a Catalonian company that made industrial fans and continued to grow.

In 1986, Gianpaolo entered the world of football, buying Udinese as Italy basked in the warm glow of the nation’s World Cup victory in 1982. The club remains a relatively modest one which punches above its weight by qualifying for the Europa League or Champions League every now and then.

Gianpaolo Pozzo took sole control of the family business and in 2010 he sold up to the German group Bosch, for €106m, without having to relinquish control of the Catalonian company or some other key assets.

Now football is not only the highest-profile part of the Pozzo business but the area that takes much of their energies. In 2009, they bought Granada and steered them from the third division into La Liga, where they brush shoulders with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Then came the acquisition of Watford, with Gino moving to England to be close to their newest football club a year after the takeover.

And all of this is underpinned by an innovative business model based on scouting the globe for young talent that can be improved and sold at a considerable profit. The most notable example of this strategy was the Chilean Alexis Sanchez, signed at the age of 18 for €1m and sold to Barcelona five years later for a fee that could rise to €36.5m.

With 120 players in their network, Pozzo said: "Being active on three fronts is something we had to do. We are very happy with the start we’ve made but there’s a lot of work to do."

Read the full interview with Gianpaolo Pozzo in Tales from the Vicarage volume 2, available for £10.99 from Londis in Vicarage Road and Watford Museum. Watford Observer readers can get the book delivered with free postage from www.watfordfcbook.com

Comments (10)

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8:02am Thu 23 Jan 14

parkhouse hornet says...

An interesting insight, and one that only reinforces my view that our club is in safe hands. Reality is, we will still be a selling club to balance the books for the foreseeable future, but that's as ever it was!
An interesting insight, and one that only reinforces my view that our club is in safe hands. Reality is, we will still be a selling club to balance the books for the foreseeable future, but that's as ever it was! parkhouse hornet
  • Score: 53

8:54am Thu 23 Jan 14

jasonwatford says...

parkhouse hornet wrote:
An interesting insight, and one that only reinforces my view that our club is in safe hands. Reality is, we will still be a selling club to balance the books for the foreseeable future, but that's as ever it was!
All clubs are selling clubs apart from the very elite , Us and other clubs have always survived when selling your best players if part of life. John Barnes was classic example for us but you cant hold a player back from bigger and better things. It is a job for them as players are not fans of the club they play for. We are left to pick it up and carry on supporting and wait for the next player like Ashley Young to come through. We also get to see the likes of Ben Foster and Tom Cleverley pass amoung us. It is clear the Pozzo like a smaller club where they can have control and work it like a business , I am happy and grateful to them for this and look forward to seeing these players play for my team and hopefully we wont have wait 15 years for the next brilliant player to turn up.
[quote][p][bold]parkhouse hornet[/bold] wrote: An interesting insight, and one that only reinforces my view that our club is in safe hands. Reality is, we will still be a selling club to balance the books for the foreseeable future, but that's as ever it was![/p][/quote]All clubs are selling clubs apart from the very elite , Us and other clubs have always survived when selling your best players if part of life. John Barnes was classic example for us but you cant hold a player back from bigger and better things. It is a job for them as players are not fans of the club they play for. We are left to pick it up and carry on supporting and wait for the next player like Ashley Young to come through. We also get to see the likes of Ben Foster and Tom Cleverley pass amoung us. It is clear the Pozzo like a smaller club where they can have control and work it like a business , I am happy and grateful to them for this and look forward to seeing these players play for my team and hopefully we wont have wait 15 years for the next brilliant player to turn up. jasonwatford
  • Score: 40

10:52am Thu 23 Jan 14

Harry's Bar says...

You just get the impression they're a little daunted by the Premier League, in that they'll be out of their comfort zone financially. Yes, there'll be money coming in but there business model doesn't really fit with the Premier League's spend, spend, spend philosophy. Could they stay in the Premier League using their current model?.... possibly, with the best players from Udinese and Granada, but it would have to be the best players.
You just get the impression they're a little daunted by the Premier League, in that they'll be out of their comfort zone financially. Yes, there'll be money coming in but there business model doesn't really fit with the Premier League's spend, spend, spend philosophy. Could they stay in the Premier League using their current model?.... possibly, with the best players from Udinese and Granada, but it would have to be the best players. Harry's Bar
  • Score: 6

12:37pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Bobbyhowfield says...

When people talk of Udinesi cast offs you need to consider how good their team is.
They nave beaten both Inter and A C Milan in recent weeks.
When people talk of Udinesi cast offs you need to consider how good their team is. They nave beaten both Inter and A C Milan in recent weeks. Bobbyhowfield
  • Score: 14

1:27pm Thu 23 Jan 14

rayman01 says...

Bobbyhowfield wrote:
When people talk of Udinesi cast offs you need to consider how good their team is. They nave beaten both Inter and A C Milan in recent weeks.
Totally agree. Despite our current indifferent our squad has more quality and depth for many a year. It is just a question of time and patience. The Pozzos may run small clubs but operate within their means. They are used to revenue from european leagues and buying players low and selling high. They are no mugs and would not be overawed if we make EPL. This means we are in good hands. Just keep the faith guys. Luv the Horns!
[quote][p][bold]Bobbyhowfield[/bold] wrote: When people talk of Udinesi cast offs you need to consider how good their team is. They nave beaten both Inter and A C Milan in recent weeks.[/p][/quote]Totally agree. Despite our current indifferent our squad has more quality and depth for many a year. It is just a question of time and patience. The Pozzos may run small clubs but operate within their means. They are used to revenue from european leagues and buying players low and selling high. They are no mugs and would not be overawed if we make EPL. This means we are in good hands. Just keep the faith guys. Luv the Horns! rayman01
  • Score: 18

4:43pm Thu 23 Jan 14

soulfulhornet says...

Harrys Bar, I agree with the general tenent of your post, but I get the impression that the Pozzos are not 'daunted' by anything. I think they are pragmatic and will try different approaches if say Plan A then Plan B does not work. Take the managers job for example, they started with a high profile footballing superstar and when that did not work, they changed tact. Given Sannino is only employed until the end of the season, they might change tact again if they do not feel the club is moving in the right direction by then.

The Pozzos have declared that the Premier league is the ultimate goal, but to make a club like ours sustainable at that level requires a lot of things being in place not just a good team. The mess left by the previous owner(s) will take time to be cleared up, though some progress has been made already.

What they do not do is make hollow boasts - like some owners or jeopardize the long term security of the club and thank god for that.

What I am delighted about is that we have owners that have a vision for the club, a plan to achieve that vision and the clout financial and otherwise to see it through.

For those that have not read Gino's interview with Frank Smith read the following two part piece:

http://www.watfordob
server.co.uk/sport/1
0047105._Our_dream_w
on_t_jeopardise_the_
club_/
Harrys Bar, I agree with the general tenent of your post, but I get the impression that the Pozzos are not 'daunted' by anything. I think they are pragmatic and will try different approaches if say Plan A then Plan B does not work. Take the managers job for example, they started with a high profile footballing superstar and when that did not work, they changed tact. Given Sannino is only employed until the end of the season, they might change tact again if they do not feel the club is moving in the right direction by then. The Pozzos have declared that the Premier league is the ultimate goal, but to make a club like ours sustainable at that level requires a lot of things being in place not just a good team. The mess left by the previous owner(s) will take time to be cleared up, though some progress has been made already. What they do not do is make hollow boasts - like some owners or jeopardize the long term security of the club and thank god for that. What I am delighted about is that we have owners that have a vision for the club, a plan to achieve that vision and the clout financial and otherwise to see it through. For those that have not read Gino's interview with Frank Smith read the following two part piece: http://www.watfordob server.co.uk/sport/1 0047105._Our_dream_w on_t_jeopardise_the_ club_/ soulfulhornet
  • Score: 3

4:49pm Thu 23 Jan 14

SimmyB says...

Very interesting. I just wish they would quickly get used to spending some money......we need a striker and preferably one this transfer window. We've already lost the opportunity of Wells and albeit possibly begrudingly in some peoples opinion, DJ Campbell on loan.
Very interesting. I just wish they would quickly get used to spending some money......we need a striker and preferably one this transfer window. We've already lost the opportunity of Wells and albeit possibly begrudingly in some peoples opinion, DJ Campbell on loan. SimmyB
  • Score: -6

6:06pm Thu 23 Jan 14

reids1 says...

SimmyB wrote:
Very interesting. I just wish they would quickly get used to spending some money......we need a striker and preferably one this transfer window. We've already lost the opportunity of Wells and albeit possibly begrudingly in some peoples opinion, DJ Campbell on loan.
I wouldn't want DJ Campbell anywhere near this club, so quite glad we "missed" out on him.
[quote][p][bold]SimmyB[/bold] wrote: Very interesting. I just wish they would quickly get used to spending some money......we need a striker and preferably one this transfer window. We've already lost the opportunity of Wells and albeit possibly begrudingly in some peoples opinion, DJ Campbell on loan.[/p][/quote]I wouldn't want DJ Campbell anywhere near this club, so quite glad we "missed" out on him. reids1
  • Score: 6

8:20pm Thu 23 Jan 14

jasonwatford says...

DJ Cambell has had £1000 on a move to millwall..........he just moved to Millwall
DJ Cambell has had £1000 on a move to millwall..........he just moved to Millwall jasonwatford
  • Score: 3

9:14pm Thu 23 Jan 14

only5foot3 says...

reids1 wrote:
SimmyB wrote:
Very interesting. I just wish they would quickly get used to spending some money......we need a striker and preferably one this transfer window. We've already lost the opportunity of Wells and albeit possibly begrudingly in some peoples opinion, DJ Campbell on loan.
I wouldn't want DJ Campbell anywhere near this club, so quite glad we "missed" out on him.
DJ Campbell lives in gated property on the Hempstead road. It would **** me off royally driving pass his mansion to from football. Holloway welcome to him
[quote][p][bold]reids1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SimmyB[/bold] wrote: Very interesting. I just wish they would quickly get used to spending some money......we need a striker and preferably one this transfer window. We've already lost the opportunity of Wells and albeit possibly begrudingly in some peoples opinion, DJ Campbell on loan.[/p][/quote]I wouldn't want DJ Campbell anywhere near this club, so quite glad we "missed" out on him.[/p][/quote]DJ Campbell lives in gated property on the Hempstead road. It would **** me off royally driving pass his mansion to from football. Holloway welcome to him only5foot3
  • Score: 1

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