August 19, 2022

‘Deceit is part of a culture that comes from the top’

Watford have been accused of “deceit” after poaching Forest Green Rovers manager Rob Edwards as their next head coach.

Forest Green have criticised the Hornets for talking to Edwards ‘behind their backs’ after reports claimed that there had been negotiations between the soon-to-be Championship club and Edwards.

Edwards has just guided the club to League One after clinching the League Two title last week, while Watford were relegated to the Championship following a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

With Watford reportedly making it a priority to recruit a young homegrown manager, Edwards quickly became the frontrunner for the position, which will be vacated by the retiring Roy Hodgson at the end of the season.

Watford name Edwards as new boss

The Hornets announced that Edwards had been appointed as the club’s new head coach on Wednesday (May 11) afternoon.

A statement read: “Watford Football Club is delighted to confirm the appointment of Rob Edwards as its new Head Coach, effective after the conclusion of the current 2021/22 season.

“Rob had a contractual provision allowing him to leave Forest Green Rovers at any time to discuss employment opportunities at other clubs and the Hornets are delighted to confirm our discussions concluded today.”

Forest Green chairman and owner slams Watford

However, Forest Green chairman and owner Dale Vince claimed that Edwards had been told by his agent and by Watford not to inform the club of their interest in him.

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Rovers did not received an official approach from Watford until Wednesday morning, which came via email.

“It’s the proper way to do things, isn’t it, for the club to approach us, so that we’re in the picture then they carry on and have their negotiations. If they come to terms, they come to terms,” Vince told Sky Sports News.

“To do it in secret and not only that, Watford advised Rob not to tell us specifically, so that for me doubles down on the deceit.

“It’s the kind of thing that gives football a bad name and the kind of thing that shouldn’t happen, but occasionally does.

“We’re a little bit in the dark still, but I believe Watford have now reached out, and so now there will be a more formal process to end Rob’s time here and for him to start at Watford.”

He added: “Ex-Premier League club, we’re small even for a League Two club, let alone us being a League One club.

“I’m disappointed in Rob, I don’t know Watford so I am less disappointed in them, but it doesn’t speak well of them.

“Deceit is part of a culture that comes from the top, that says to me Watford have problems off the pitch as well as on the pitch.”

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Watford Forest Green Rovers manager

Watford set to name eighth boss since 2018

Edwards is set to become Watford’s eighth permanent manager since the start of 2018. The 39-year-old previously coached England’s youth team and is a former Wales international. He joined Forest Green in 2020.

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