When Marco Silva arrived at Watford in May it was viewed as a coup for the Vicarage Road club as the Hornets secured one of the games hottest managerial prospects.

After almost pulling off a great escape at Hull City the previous season, Watford felt Silva could be the man to put a halt to the conveyer belt of head coach’s at WD18.

Just 26 games later, and after a run of one win in 11 Premier League games, the Hornets are once again on the lookout for a new boss after another brief tryst.

There was little to suggest Silva’s reign would end so soon after a flying start to the campaign, which saw Watford breach the top four and take 15 points from their first eight league games.

Enter Everton, and an offer Silva was loathed to refuse. He did little to quell the speculation linking him with Goodison and the sense was he viewed the opportunity as the better job.

Results suffered and Watford have taken just 11 points in the 16 games since their heady start resulting, inevitably, in Silva paying the price.

Here’s the key factors which brought an end to the Portuguese’s tenure.

Everton flirtations

Watford Observer:

The statement which accompanied Silva’s departure was as damning as they come, with Watford laying the blame firmly at his door.

“The Club is convinced the appointment of Silva was the right one and had it not been for the unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival for his services we would have continued to prosper under his leadership,” the statement read.

“The catalyst for this decision is that unwarranted approach, something which the Board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised.”

With Watford flying and playing a brand of football which both excited and yielded results, Silva made a start to life at Vicarage Road to back up the reputation he arrived with.

Everton meanwhile were floundering in 18th in the table and looking for a new boss after parting ways with Ronald Koeman. Silva was their preferred target.

The subject would dominate Watford press conferences for the foreseeable future and Silva refused to rule himself out of the running for the Everton job.

In truth, it was a move the hugely driven 40-year-old wanted and in failing to pin his colours to the Watford mast he risked undermining his relationship with fans, players and the Watford board.

The Everton episode, unfortunately for Silva, provides the central narrative to his Watford stay and leaves a stain on his CV.

Injury woes

Watford Observer:

Watford’s injury record in recent years has been dismal and it is a problem which undoubtedly impacted on results.

The likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes, Younes Kaboul, Miguel Britos, Craig Cathcart, Isaac Success and Kiko Femenia have all been out for prolonged spells.

Further names have spent short spells sidelined and Silva has regularly had to contend with a threadbare squad.

His assertion that as many as six first team regulars have been missing at one time is a fair one and the Hornets form has paid the price.

Add to the mix a host of suspensions for needless red cards, and Watford’s options have been heavily restricted this term.

Watford have moved to rectify the injury situation with the appointment of Emilio Lopez-Vidriero as medical director and whoever takes over as head coach will need better luck to prosper.

Transfer market gripes

The summer window ended with Silva bemoaning Watford’s transfer activity after Nordin Amrabat was allowed to leave the club on loan.

He also questioned the acquisition of Molla Wague, a player the former Sporting Lisbon boss claimed to have little knowledge of being on the Watford radar.

It was a difficult argument to side with in many ways, after a summer in which Watford broke their transfer record to sign Andre Gray and beat a host of clubs to sign youthful exuberance in Hughes and Chalobah.

Those complaints have resurfaced this month as Silva called for signings to supplement a squad, as previously mentioned, stripped to its bones by injury.

Silva’s stance was in direct opposition to that of Watford technical director Filipo Girladi who went on record to say the club were “extremely happy” with a “talented and well-balanced squad.”

It was telling that Silva’s tact change by his final pre-match press conference last week, where he spoke glowingly of both Giraldi and Gino Pozzo, but it proved too little too late.

Striking issues

Watford Observer:

Andre Gray or Troy Deeney? Why not both? It was the discussion which filled press rooms in the build up to team news being announced most Saturday afternoons.

Silva’s inability to get a regular tune out of his skipper or record £18.5 million signing left Watford relying on goals from elsewhere on the pitch.

Watford have had 14 different scorers this term – not an issue in itself, but the lack of a regular goalscorer was always likely to catch up with the Hornets.

Deeney and Gray have looked good on occasion but Silva’s loyalty to playing one attacker has aided neither.

Both seem happier playing in a front two as Deeney does the ugly work and Gray feeds off his hold up play in a more fluid role.

Silva, however, has been reluctant to employ two strikers and this stubbornness has had a direct impact on Watford’s form.


Points are the be all and end all in football and simply put Watford have not picked up anywhere near enough since the end of November.

All looked rosy after a 3-0 win at St James Park, yet Watford have taken five points since and are showing the form of relegation fodder.

Indeed, it is only the paucity of quality in the Premier League which has kept Watford sitting an almost unbelievable 10th in spite of their abject form.

Simply put, a run of one win in 11 is not good enough and the buck always stops with the head coach.