Welcome back, to the end of season 1 update at Watford! Last time round, Wolfgang had got off to a terrific start at Watford, most fans & pundits were stunned on how things started off.
Today, we will be finding out if it was just a pot of luck or if Wolfgang and his team made a surprise push for European Football in the first season. There is a 5 year plan here, which for season 1 was certainly not European football!
Results from Jan – End of Season:
League Table – End Of Season 1:
Firstly, a very different outlook to how the season started for Wolfie and his gang. Wolfgang still had Bielsa on the end of the phone however, there was not much anyone could help with at least tactically. At the time, Wolfie tried to mix things up & experiment with different tactics, in case it was something that needed adjusting from that front. The team tried to adapt to a 3-3-1-3 which was what Bielsa used in Spain with his Bilbao side some time ago. Bielsa’s advice from their mentoring days was to stick to plan A and not divert from your principals. However, the slightly unexperienced Wolfie wanted to get something out of his team in this bad patch. A few games in and the 3-3-1-3 was not really working well as first thought. The 3-4-3 was also tried which managed to get a couple of wins, however there was still something missing. After Wolfie had a meeting with his backroom team, taking a look in depth, it appeared that there were simply too many players with various types of personalities. So, for example when few players were left out, some would cause a stir within the dressing room & some would be professional and get their head down. It was no secret that the dressing room needed stability and after time fixing. Wolfie wanted to have season 1 as a review, a chance to see who the good eggs were vs the bad.
Similar to what Ralf is doing at Man Utd, he is reviewing the players professionalism and attitude from high level as well as in the thick of it. This is pretty much what Wolfgang is doing and has managed to figure out what needs fixing without causing too much damage in terms of loosing the dressing room etc.
The fans are happy with how the team finished in the league, seeing their team play high intensity attacking football! The board, also gave Wolfgang a A- for his efforts overall in the first season. Taking a step back, Wolfie appreciates that, he has over achieved and things are actually not so bad. Next seasons work already started in the background, with tactical tweaks, trying players in different positions and working on some traits on the training field. However, despite some of the downfalls, Wolfie has still managed to keep the dressing room relatively happy as we can see below:
Lastly, the AFCON did not make things easier in January either, with quiet a few big players going to the tournament such as Sarr, Etebo, Louza. This did leave a gap in the side in terms of quality too. However, Wolfie as promised was winning to give youth a go and fielded a youthful side in the FA Cup as per below:
Giving homegrown players a chance is what is in Wolfie’s DNA and he had no fear in using youth when required, as the first season was really a free hit. Despite a large squad with many seniors, the youth still had game time.
Wolfgang and his scouting department, spent most of the first part of the season, scouting for young talent, particularly English. Having some money to invest, Wolfie did some business in January, players who would be apart of the future of Watford.
Joe Hugill – From: Man Utd – Fee: 2.7M
Jordan James – From: Birmingham – Fee: 3.7M
Luke Harris – From: Fulham – Fee: 600K
Jadan Raymond – From: Crystal Palace – Fee: 1M
These players were carefully selected & after intensive scouting confirmed the players have potential to be good future Premier League players, Wolfie did not wait around to get these players through the door. The initial plan is to loan these players out for exposure and then long term bed them into the first team.
Youth Intake Mentions:
A few great talented players were signed up for the yearly youth scholarships. Wolfie has been informed of the players and their bright futures, these are very much apart of the future so far:
As we can see, some very promising players that with the right guidance can become great players for the club. Wolfie is very much excited to see these players in the future.
Next Season Initial Plans:
Wolfie has a lot of work to do for next season, mainly in recruitment. Before going into the transfer window all guns blazing, Wolfie needs to ensure he balances out the dressing room in terms of personalities and social groups etc. At the moment, this is the current look, which we can see is very wide spread:
All 3 of the team leaders are in the last 12 months of their contracts, so Wolfie has to play it real careful. Either, he lets them all go now or waits and starts to promote leaders within over time. Even in the highly influential section, a few players are not joyed over their playing time or are not performing too good, so again Wolfie has to think of how this will impact the team if letting any of these go. However, this is the initial plan for next season, in terms of the squad depth and who is required:
A few solid players are needed for the 1st team to boost its ability. Wolfie will be looking to let go of quiet a few players including some that are currently out on loan with some value to their name, this will only raise more funds for Wolfie to bring in his own players.
Let’s see what next season brings! An exciting pre season upcoming with new faces coming in and some bad eggs leaving. Will the 2nd season be better than the first or will it all come crashing down?
That wraps up todays post, I hope you enjoyed it! Please do provide your feedback and any comments, it will help me when it comes to shaping up future blogs.
Excited for what is to come in season 2. Remember, this is a 5 year project, we are going into year 2!