What’s The Matter With … Watford according to Holloway?
Football is now more of a business than ever and the desire to first reach and then stay in the Premier League is something that has a growing appeal with many overseas owners and chairmen.
Watford are one club that has attracted such an investor and there has been a hefty improvement in their fortunes of late, winning seven of their last nine to only sit outside the Championship automatic promotion places on goal difference.
This has not only seen their price to gain promotion reduce to 3/1, but it has also generated some complaints relating to their methods of reaching the Premier League.
Crystal Palace’s Ian Holloway is the latest to have a dig, doing so in both his pre-match and post-match comments after drawing at Watford.
Holloway’s issues were that Watford resembled a “foreign team” because of their ties with Udinese, who loaned them nine players to help with their development.
It is certainly a massive talking point over whether it should be allowed to do such a thing, with Udinese effectively providing their young and fringe players with a higher standard of competitive football than they would typically receive lower down the Italian football pyramid.
Although the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle have more than dabbled in recruiting foreign talent, this is the first time that an English club has become involved in this kind of networking.
The majority of complaints revolve around the impact on Watford’s young English players and the growing impact such a relationship will have on the national team, even if these comments were almost non-existent when Gianfranco Zola’s men were yo-yoing around mid-table a few months ago.
However, if the English youngsters are good enough they will play. Against Crystal Palace, four of the match-day squad had come through the Watford youth ranks, more than that of their visitors.
After all, is this approach any worse than the millions Leicester have spent in the hope of going up or the clutch of players past their prime that Brighton have acquired on substantial wages to try to reach the Premier League?
Gone are the days when the national team comes first and in today’s football environment, results mean everything.
Clubs and managers are right to adopt whichever strategy they deem fit to move the club forward and although this is on the controversial side, if it helps Watford’s progress to the Premier League, who can argue on how suitable the approach is?
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