Ahead of what is now the most important week in Watford's history since they were promoted into the Premier League, the club has decided to sack head coach Nigel Pearson.

Some agree with the decision, most don't according to a poll conducted by the Watford Observer yesterday, but one aspect that no one is divided on is that the timing of the decision points to far greater problems.

As players arrived at London Colney for a training session yesterday, they were promptly called to a meeting with the club's owner Gino Pozzo who explained that Pearson had gone and that the rest of the season now lies in the hands of Hayden Mullins and Graham Stack.

It was news that came as a shock, the Watford Observer has learnt that staff members had not been forewarned in the way that they have with previous dismissals, adding to the surprise.

Earlier that day, emails had been sent to members of the press by Watford's media staff inviting them to Pearson's press conference, due to be taking place at 9.45am today. The only correspondence to follow before last night's eventual statement confirming Pearson had gone, was another email saying the conference had been pushed back to 3pm, but with nobody named as the person facing the questions.

That job now falls to Mullins, who for the second time this season finds himself thrown into the head coach position, as Watford become the first club in Premier League history to sack three managerial candidates within the same season.

Pearson, who claims to have been overwhelmed by the support he has received following the shock news, was certainly not expecting it. Prior to the West Ham match, he had been talking about agreements that were in place, having a good relationship with the owners and hoping he would still be in charge come next season. Something, however, changed between then and Sunday, enough for the club to part ways with coach number three of this tempestuous campaign.

Rumours, as they will do, have surfaced on social media claiming a physical altercation took place involving Pearson and defender Adam Masina in the dressing room at the London Stadium on Friday evening.

It is understood that such accounts are not true, although a frank exchange of views between the two is believed to have taken place.

The head coach was described by one person in the dressing room as "fuming" but it is understood that his anger was directed at the squad as a whole rather than any particular individuals. Masina was substituted at half-time, perhaps contributing in some way to the suggestions of a scrap, but the real issues are believed to be between Pearson and Pozzo himself.

The Watford Observer has been told of a heated argument between Pearson and Pozzo following the match and it is believed to not be the first between the pair.

One of the main issues involved in those discussions is believed to be tactics, with Pearson sticking staunchly to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and showing little evidence of a plan B, other than giving the players a good telling off at half-time.

It is easy to see why tactics were a point of debate when, following the restart the Hornets had conceded first in every match, and relied on second-half comebacks for points.

It was an unsustainable way to continue and by half-time on Friday, a patented Pearson rollicking was not enough to overcome the dismal 3-0 lead West Ham had amassed during a dire half of defensive frailties and absent creativity.

Outsiders will point to the fact the coach took Watford from nine points adrift at the foot of the table to within touching distance of safety and suggest that the sacking is a decision that lacks sense, with wins against Manchester United, Wolves and champions Liverpool providing further evidence that Pearson was the right candidate for the moment. However, those who watch the team every single game understand that all was not exactly well, despite those relative successes.

The fact remains that even without Pearson, Watford could still stay up this season. Their position in the league table is as much to do with Bournemouth and Aston Villa's torrid form as it is the head coach's capabilities and if both of those sides fail to find a win between now and Sunday, the Hornets will avoid the drop by the skin of their teeth. It appears the directors are happy enough to take that risk, as they now begin preparations for next season.

Which division they will be preparing for is still to be determined, but who they can attract to take the club forward both on and off the pitch will be dependent on how this season ends. Come this Sunday we will know for sure whether or not the gamble has paid off.