Gianfranco Zola has resigned as head coach of Watford FC.

The Italian guided the club to the play-offs last season and was close to securing automatic promotion to the Premier League in his first year in charge.

However, the Golden Boys have not won in nine matches and have lost their last five consecutive home games, failing to score in the previous four of those.

The club statement reads: "It is with great sadness that the board of Watford Football Club has accepted the resignation of head coach Gianfranco Zola.

"Watford FC wishes to place on record its sincere gratitude to Gianfranco for his achievements at Vicarage Road, and for always acting with the utmost dignity and grace.

"The board fully respects his decision and Gianfranco will be welcome at Watford Football Club at any time in the future.

"There will be no further comment from Watford FC or any individual at this time."

Read Gianfranco Zola's open letter to the Watford fans following his resignation here.

Some of the Watford players have commented on Zola's departure and these can be read here

The early favourites to replace Zola can be seen here