Beppe Sannino has left the Vicarage Road hot seat with the fourth-best league win percentage of any permanent, post-war Watford manager, following his eight-and-a-half months as head coach.
The 57-year-old Italian, appointed on December 18 last year following the resignation of countryman Gianfranco Zola, has left WD18 boasting an overall win percentage of 41.66 per cent from 36 league games in charge.
Only Bill McGarry (45.61 per cent), Graham Taylor in his first spell (44.63 per cent) and Zola (43.94 per cent) enjoyed better win percentages than Sannino.
He took the job with the Hornets enduring a run of nine Championship fixtures without victory and, in his first match in charge, drew 1-1 at Ipswich Town on December 21, with Troy Deeney scoring the first goal of his reign.
On Boxing Day, the Golden Boys recorded their first win since October 5, thrashing Millwall 4-0 at Vicarage Road, in what was Sannino’s first home match as head coach.
The unbeaten start stretched to four matches with a goalless draw against Queens Park Rangers and a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup third round at Bristol City.
A 1-0 home defeat to Reading on January 11 was the first of just three home losses under the Ottaviano-born coach.
Having immediately tightened up the Hornets defence, Watford’s improved home form proved to be one of the hallmarks of Sannino’s stint as head coach, with 12 of the 15 victories he oversaw coming at home.
Watford’s marked improvement in front of their own fans was never more apparent than during the final three months of last season, a period in which the Hornets lost just once at home in ten fixtures.
In a sequence which saw Watford win five consecutive home games without conceding, the only defeat between February 2 and May 2 came against Huddersfield Town on the final day of the 2013/14 campaign.
That impressive run of form catapulted the Golden Boys back into the chase for the play-offs, before they collapsed during the final weeks of the season – with defeats against QPR, Derby County and Charlton Athletic putting paid to any lingering hopes of a top-six berth.
Conversely, Sannino’s record away from home was less impressive, taking charge of the same number of matches (18) on the road as he did in WD18 but winning just three – less than 17 per cent.
The Hornets lost half of their away fixtures under the former Palermo coach and a third of their away trips ended in draws.
Watford’s record of 12 points from a possible 15 at the start of the current campaign is their best total after five games since the 2007/08 season, when they managed the same total under Aidy Boothroyd.
It is also the only time since Boothroyd’s penultimate season at the club in which the Golden Boys have taken double figures in points from their first five league matches.
Sannino’s final match as Watford’s head coach was Saturday’s 4-2 defeat of Huddersfield Town, with Almen Abdi the final goalscorer under the Italian.
In total, the Hornets netted 65 goals in all competitions under Sannino’s stewardship, conceding 48.
Research by Watford Mailing List’s Jon Sinclair also shows the extent of Watford’s on-pitch disciplinary problems during the Italian’s tenure.
The Hornets had a player sent off once every 4.5 games under Sannino, compared to once every 7.43 matches under Gianluca Vialli, who has the second worst record of those managers for whom figures are available.