Hiring and retaining managers. Signing players. In fact, everything on the sporting side of Watford Football Club.

That is the scope of the role of the Hornets’ Technical Director Ben Manga, which he explained to The Watford Observer at the club’s London Colney training headquarters this week.

Manga joined the club shortly before Christmas, and ever since fans have speculated and tried to guess what exactly the 49-year-old former Equatorial Guinea international would be in charge of.

Chairman Scott Duxbury wrote in his programme notes before Saturday’s home game with Bristol City that “Ben will soon be explaining in detail the parameters of his Technical Director role and what supporters can expect to see from him and his team in the coming months”.

Having spent some 90 minutes with Manga in his office at the club’s training ground, it is very clear that he knows what is expected of him, and how he is going to achieve it.

Smart, witty and very considered in his responses, Manga was open and honest, happily answering every question.

He is clearly very driven too, but not by the trappings that may come with success but by the very success itself.

Regular references to wanting to make supporters happy and proud, filling a squad with players who wanted to play for the club and honour the shirt, and that developing the club would need a holistic approach showed Manga has used his first six months or so to get under the skin of Watford FC.

Of course, the key question is what exactly is the remit he has been given?

“I will be responsible for the entire sporting area. Obviously the first team is the priority, but we will look at the Academy as well,” he explained.

“We will watch the Academy and see if there are interesting prospects that we can give some support to.

“I will look at every single department of the club on the sporting side, not only the players but the backroom staff, and see how I can support and develop the club towards a better future.”

He was quick to make it clear who would now be in charge of finding the ideal head coach, and also helping whoever that may be to assemble a strong squad.

“One of the reasons I came to Watford is because I will have responsibility for things like hiring and retaining managers, and signing players,” he said.

“I was Sporting Director at Eintracht Frankfurt before, but there I had someone else above me so the final decision was not mine.

“But here I have the opportunity to decide on these matters, though that will be done together with Gino Pozzo, Scott Duxbury and Cristiano Giaretta.

“My job is to try and develop the club in the best way possible, and that involves me looking at the structure of everything, including backroom staff.”

Given that Watford are looking set to spend a second successive season in the Championship without even making the play-offs, that wide remit could mean it’s a high-pressure job.

“Pressure is something that you put on yourself. I don’t feel pressure because I am not that sort of person,” said Manga.

“When I was at Frankfurt we won the Europa League and then played in the Champions League. But I liked the challenge of that. I embrace new challenges.

“What I can say is that I will work every day, very hard, with all the people here at the club for the best future for the club.

“I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I couldn’t have done any more than what I did.”

One if the biggest areas for concern among supporters – as well as questions from the wider footballing world – is how much control a Watford head coach has, and how much external influence they have to deal with.

“In my ideas of how a football club operates, there are clear borders. I would never go to a manager and tell him how he has to pick his team, that is a job for him,” said Manga.

“Also, when it comes to signing players, I will always discuss this with the manager. That is how most clubs operate, with the final word on transfers coming from the board.

“Me, as the leader of the sporting area of the club, will always speak with the manager because he is the leader on the pitch.

“It is only really perhaps the top six clubs in the Premier League where the manager decides everything. We are like most other clubs, where we have a different dimension.

“The final decisions will be made by Gino, Scott, Cristiano and me.”

Manga laughed when he attempted to describe how he, as Technical Director, would dovetail with a head coach on a day-to-day basis.

“The relationship I have with a manager – we really have to be each other’s second wife!

“We have to spend lots of days together, having meetings, chatting, exchanging opinions. The goal of both of us has to be the same: improving the club.

“We will have arguments, we will have meetings that are good or bad, but we always must keep in mind that anything we say or do is with the improvement of the club as the target.”

To make sure you can read every word of the rest of this Ben Manga exclusive, as well as enjoying unlimited access to all other WFC stories, click here to start a digital subscription.

The current offer is £6 for six months, and you'll also see less ads and a faster website.