UPDATED: Watford to appoint former Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers employee Luke Dowling as Gian Luca Nani's replacement

Co-owner Giampaolo Pozzo (right) with Gian Luca Nani. Picture: Holly Cant

Co-owner Giampaolo Pozzo (right) with Gian Luca Nani. Picture: Holly Cant

First published in Sport
Last updated
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The Watford Observer can confirm that Luke Dowling will be the man to replace Gian Luca Nani at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets have been lining up a replacement for Nani for a while and the Italian handed in his resignation today – less than 24 hours after the transfer window shut.

Sky Sports reported late tonight that Dowling is “in line” to replace Nani and we can confirm that is the case and an agreement is already in place.

Dowling is said to have had spells at Tottenham Hotspur and Reading as a player whilst a youngster before dropping down to non-league.

He retired at the age of 28 due to a knee injury and was given his chance in management by ex-West Ham United centre back Tony Gale.

Gale was director of football at Ryman Division One South side Walton Casuals, who are based in Surrey, and hired Dowling as manager.

He began scouting for Charlton Athletic before being given a job at Wimbledon, where he worked for 18 months from 2009.

Dowling moved to Crystal Palace and spent 20 months there as a scout before linking up with Michael Appleton at Portsmouth as head of recruitment for seven months, before he reunited with Appleton at Blackburn Rovers in a similar role. Both were sacked after a couple of months at the club.

The Yorkshire Evening Post claimed Dowling was close to being appointed chief scout in 2013 but couldn’t because of a severance dispute with Blackburn.

The paper also stated Dowling was working closely with new Leeds owner Massimo Cellino during the Italian’s takeover and was expected to be officially appointed into a role this summer. However, reports claim Dowling turned down the job of sporting director at the club in June.

Below is a video interview with Dowling made by the Daily Mail online in 2013. You can read the accompanying interview with him here.

Comments (19)

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11:38pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Rosty'srocket says...

Hate to say this - but... Who!
Hate to say this - but... Who! Rosty'srocket
  • Score: 6

11:45pm Tue 2 Sep 14

SamTheEagle says...

Rosty'srocket wrote:
Hate to say this - but... Who!
I hadn't heard of him either but this may help.

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/sport/footbal
l/article-2322700/Th
e-Footballers-Footba
ll-Column--Luke-Dowl
ing-The-FA-need-step
-help-contracts-club
s-business.html
[quote][p][bold]Rosty'srocket[/bold] wrote: Hate to say this - but... Who![/p][/quote]I hadn't heard of him either but this may help. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/sport/footbal l/article-2322700/Th e-Footballers-Footba ll-Column--Luke-Dowl ing-The-FA-need-step -help-contracts-club s-business.html SamTheEagle
  • Score: 1

11:54pm Tue 2 Sep 14

hertshornet says...

I've read mixed reviews of his time at Blackburn, largely uninspiring signings, apparently. However, the WFC big cheeses know what they're doing....
I've read mixed reviews of his time at Blackburn, largely uninspiring signings, apparently. However, the WFC big cheeses know what they're doing.... hertshornet
  • Score: 2

11:58pm Tue 2 Sep 14

BlakeyJ says...

So we get the coach Leeds were after...
We then get their talent spotter and the one they asked to be sporting director...
We stuff them at the vic...

Sucks to be a Leeds fan!
So we get the coach Leeds were after... We then get their talent spotter and the one they asked to be sporting director... We stuff them at the vic... Sucks to be a Leeds fan! BlakeyJ
  • Score: 35

1:03am Wed 3 Sep 14

The Skeptical Optimist says...

Wait, what? Is that guy English?
Wait, what? Is that guy English? The Skeptical Optimist
  • Score: 5

1:27am Wed 3 Sep 14

bornyellow says...

Wow...that got me excited...not
Wow...that got me excited...not bornyellow
  • Score: -9

6:29am Wed 3 Sep 14

madhorn says...

My first impression is luke warm he seems very young and with limited experience, have to see how this develops with the new coach .
My first impression is luke warm he seems very young and with limited experience, have to see how this develops with the new coach . madhorn
  • Score: 3

6:37am Wed 3 Sep 14

lutondown says...

Everything is Franks fault
Everything is Franks fault lutondown
  • Score: -1

7:24am Wed 3 Sep 14

jimbowfc says...

I have to admit I am a bit underwhelmed, but hey, lets give the guy a chance! As already said by someone else, the Pozzo's know a thing or two about scouting, so presumably they know what they are doing?
I have to admit I am a bit underwhelmed, but hey, lets give the guy a chance! As already said by someone else, the Pozzo's know a thing or two about scouting, so presumably they know what they are doing? jimbowfc
  • Score: 2

7:55am Wed 3 Sep 14

exeterhornet says...

I assume the Pozzos believe this guy has gravitas and so welcome aboard.
Nice to have someone English in the management team.
I assume the Pozzos believe this guy has gravitas and so welcome aboard. Nice to have someone English in the management team. exeterhornet
  • Score: 4

8:25am Wed 3 Sep 14

Travelling Hornet says...

Seems like a nice lad, hope he has the charisma and charm of Nani to persuade players to sign on the dotted.
What he hasn't got is the god fatherly menace of the Italian!
Seems like a nice lad, hope he has the charisma and charm of Nani to persuade players to sign on the dotted. What he hasn't got is the god fatherly menace of the Italian! Travelling Hornet
  • Score: 5

9:44am Wed 3 Sep 14

corbindallas says...

Well lets look at the history of Nani at West Ham, I rest my case!
Well lets look at the history of Nani at West Ham, I rest my case! corbindallas
  • Score: 0

10:00am Wed 3 Sep 14

StewartScullion says...

The daily mail video suggests Luke is a young inexperienced appointment
For the role.Young also means enthusiastic energetic and hopefully
Oscar has met with him prior to his appointment
Truth is we know little however as already said here the Pozzo family
Have a very good understanding of what's required.I am often surprised
By the speed of management appointments.I sense they are constantly
Looking at alternatives and subsequently can act fast to avoid losing
Out to clubs that are pretentious and believe they have a right to premiership
Football
The daily mail video suggests Luke is a young inexperienced appointment For the role.Young also means enthusiastic energetic and hopefully Oscar has met with him prior to his appointment Truth is we know little however as already said here the Pozzo family Have a very good understanding of what's required.I am often surprised By the speed of management appointments.I sense they are constantly Looking at alternatives and subsequently can act fast to avoid losing Out to clubs that are pretentious and believe they have a right to premiership Football StewartScullion
  • Score: 4

10:47am Wed 3 Sep 14

Harry's Bar says...

Everything has happened so quickly it's hard to fathom it all out. Did Garcia refuse to work with Nani? Did Nani work 3 months notice? Did Nani jump or was he pushed? One thing I'm sure about is that this guy will be a lot easier to work with than Nani. Presumably he'll work closely with Guidolin, certainly with regard to the sister clubs.
Everything has happened so quickly it's hard to fathom it all out. Did Garcia refuse to work with Nani? Did Nani work 3 months notice? Did Nani jump or was he pushed? One thing I'm sure about is that this guy will be a lot easier to work with than Nani. Presumably he'll work closely with Guidolin, certainly with regard to the sister clubs. Harry's Bar
  • Score: 4

12:17pm Wed 3 Sep 14

bushey tales says...

madhorn wrote:
My first impression is luke warm he seems very young and with limited experience, have to see how this develops with the new coach .
No, I think you misread it. His name's Luke Dowling, not Luke Warm. Oh hang on.......
[quote][p][bold]madhorn[/bold] wrote: My first impression is luke warm he seems very young and with limited experience, have to see how this develops with the new coach .[/p][/quote]No, I think you misread it. His name's Luke Dowling, not Luke Warm. Oh hang on....... bushey tales
  • Score: 2

1:05pm Wed 3 Sep 14

harrowboy says...

Well despite all the negativity above this could be a good appointment IMO. The Pozzo's will have done their homework and I do not think this decision has been taken lightly, or quickly. He is young, enthusiastic, English & knows English football. Hopefully the work for this season is done which will give the guy some time, plus - as others have stated - he has the Pozzo empire/contacts to support him. Good luck Luke - go find us the next John Barnes for the Premiership!!
Well despite all the negativity above this could be a good appointment IMO. The Pozzo's will have done their homework and I do not think this decision has been taken lightly, or quickly. He is young, enthusiastic, English & knows English football. Hopefully the work for this season is done which will give the guy some time, plus - as others have stated - he has the Pozzo empire/contacts to support him. Good luck Luke - go find us the next John Barnes for the Premiership!! harrowboy
  • Score: 3

1:12pm Wed 3 Sep 14

corbindallas says...

It is a good appointment as if you read the article by the lad he likes to work with manager/coaches to select the rightplayers an balance squads, under Nani we do not have a clue how he worked but we sure as hell saw an inbalance of players and various levels of talent. Onward and upwards now!!
It is a good appointment as if you read the article by the lad he likes to work with manager/coaches to select the rightplayers an balance squads, under Nani we do not have a clue how he worked but we sure as hell saw an inbalance of players and various levels of talent. Onward and upwards now!! corbindallas
  • Score: 2

1:53pm Wed 3 Sep 14

gloryhornet4 says...

Charismatic ?
Intelligent ?
Articulate ?
Engaging ?
Well connected ?
Comes highly recommended ?
Excellent CV ?
Charismatic ? Intelligent ? Articulate ? Engaging ? Well connected ? Comes highly recommended ? Excellent CV ? gloryhornet4
  • Score: -1

4:23pm Wed 3 Sep 14

gloryhornet4 says...

Dirty Leeds were one of the big 5 clubs and now it is a given anyone who has two clubs after them wants Watford.

I can live with that.

BTW the neg scores for my earlier post - if you played the vid of Luke you would be underwhelmed by his personality. If it were an ingredient on a bottle it would say Personality "trace". He says the same about me I think.
Dirty Leeds were one of the big 5 clubs and now it is a given anyone who has two clubs after them wants Watford. I can live with that. BTW the neg scores for my earlier post - if you played the vid of Luke you would be underwhelmed by his personality. If it were an ingredient on a bottle it would say Personality "trace". He says the same about me I think. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 0

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