When supporters who have watched Watford for five decades or more are debating on social media whether the 2021/22 season was the worst in the club’s history, it’s pretty clear that the disappointment of relegation was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what went wrong.

Twelve home defeats in a row, only two wins at Vicarage Road and the club’s lowest points tally in a Premier League season were the statistics though.

When I sat down with chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury at the club’s training ground on Friday, my first question was quite a simple one.

Read more: Duxbury: 'We will be supporting Rob Edwards come hell or high water'

At what point last season did you think ‘this is a disaster’?

“It was during that run of home defeats. At the start of last season, and I accept football isn’t played on paper, but when I looked at the list of players we had I thought it would be hard to assemble a better squad. Hindsight is a wonderful thing because you look back now and think ‘how did I believe that?’ “But we had a front three of Sarr, King and Dennis. King had previously turned down a multi-million pound move to Manchester United. Then we had Cucho Hernandez, in midfield there was Moussa Sissoko, Louza. It just looked a very competitive group of players. For it to misfire so spectacularly, showed us that culture is everything and we’d overlooked that.

“If you look at the ten years we’ve had, you’d take them again. Six years in the Premier League, FA Cup semi-finals, an FA Cup Final: lots of success. However, it’s been delivered largely by a policy of continual change. But last season, you saw eventually what that policy delivers. Unless you have continuity and you sustain the right culture, it becomes very difficult to deliver excellence.

“We realised that to have sustained and successful Premier League football, then we had to change things. It’s not all about having talented players, it’s about creating a culture and environment built upon continuity. And that continuity starts with the coach.

“And that led onto the very justified criticism of communication. I don’t think people want to hear repeatedly from a chairman or an owner. My job is to help sell season tickets and grow the club commercially, but the really important thing is winning football matches. Supporters want to hear from the coach. And if the coach is constantly changing, if the coach doesn’t have a clear message, then it’s very difficult for the supporters to feel an attachment and for the club and team to have an identity.”

Watford Observer:

Watford owner Gino Pozzo. Picture: Holly Cant

Does that mean the days of hiring and firing coaches to the extent we became the butt of jokes are now over?

“What happened last season was almost an epiphany. We had hidden behind relative success, but it wasn’t significant success. What we needed was continuity behind a coach that we believe in and the supporters believe in. We also wanted somebody who could grow with us.

“When I put forward Rob Edwards to the board I explained it was like signing Joao Pedro: you are investing in a very good, young talent that you believe in. He may have some bad games, there may be times when he’s not quite performing to the potential you saw. But you wouldn’t just suddenly dispose of Joao Pedro if that happened. You saw the potential, you believe in him and you help him grow. And that is what we needed to do with the coach. And that is why we had to change the culture at the club.

“There are many examples of successful clubs who appoint a young British coach who is then supported as he and the club grow and become successful. That’s the change we have made and it’s what Rob will give us. It will solve communication, it will solve identity, he will become the face of the club and the custodian of the values that Watford Football Club is all about.

“I’ve said to Rob that it’s not that we need to fix a disaster. Last season was a disaster, don’t get me wrong. It was. In the last ten years we have delivered success too. But we need more. It needs to be something much more tangible than just success on the field. We need a club that is connected to the fans and the community. We think Rob is the perfect person to deliver that.

“Gino Pozzo wants the club to be successful and playing sustained Premier League football. That’s always been his only ambition for Watford. I am on exactly the same page.

“However, he accepts that the way we try and work to deliver that had to change. We know that we could not carry on as we were. Watford Football Club needed its culture back.

“In Rob Edwards, we have appointed a manager we all totally believe in, and a manager who will lead and drive that change.

"We will be supporting Rob Edwards come hell or high water. We believe that he will deliver what we all want – sustained and successful Premier League football.”

How do you feel about next season?

“I have never been more enthused about a new season. It’s not just me saying this because I’m doing this interview with you, I genuinely feel that way. Last time we went down we’d ended five years in the Premier League, we had a financial black hole and when the fixtures came out I looked at them and thought ‘what are Watford doing playing some of these teams?’

“I feel totally different this time. We know what we’re going into, we have a coach we truly believe in and I am so excited. I want us to go and be the best we can and do something special this season. Rob feels the same way as I do. We have to put the nightmare of last season to bed because it was disastrous. We know what we want to achieve, we have the building blocks in place and we can have both a very successful season and a very successful future. And we will build it around the leadership and communication of Rob Edwards.

“We’ve played in the Premier League, we’ve been to the FA Cup Final and that has happened because we have the infrastructure in place. Now we have a coach that we will support who can drive this club forward.”