The Boss Files: Marco Silva

By: Watford FC Staff

To help celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Watford’s move to Vicarage Road, Daily Mirror sports writer Mike Walters recalls his encounters with those who have occupied the Hornets’ hotseat.

It didn’t end well but, in fairness, it had begun brightly.

On a concourse under the stand at Bournemouth, Marco Silva was extolling the virtues of Watford’s slick 2-0 win in August sunshine at Dean Court when the embryonic Premier League table appeared on a TV screen above him.

For what it was worth, after just two games, the Hornets were in the top four after Richarlison’s first goal for the club and Etienne Capoue’s late missile.

It had been a thoroughly accomplished day at the seaside, marred only by Harry Arter’s call for Nathaniel Chalobah to leave it as the Watford midfielder prepared to pull the trigger from 15 yards – at face value a poor advert for sportsmanship.

Glancing up at the screen from the huddle of hacks conducting their post- match debrief with the managers, the man from the Mirror pointed out to Silva he was the first Hornets boss since Graham Taylor to lead Watford into the Champions League places, and he was now only 36 games from Europe.

He returned serve with a good-natured response, and everyone of a yellow, black and red persuasion headed home with their bucket, spade and three points in high spirits.

The following week, Silva demonstrated his ability to organise a shutdown when the Golden Boys’ 10 men kept Brighton at bay for an hour after Miguel Britos had introduced himself to Anthony Knockaert with unacceptable levels of bravado and timekeeping.

Even when Watford were trounced 6-0 by Manchester City – not for the last time – they did not look a poor side. And three weeks running, Silva presided over last-gasp goals against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal. His first eight games as Head Coach in this parish were hugely enjoyable.

Don’t forget, it was also Silva’s personal intervention which brought Richarlison to Vicarage Road for a bargain £11.3 million when the Brazilian winger was on the brink of signing for Ajax. Twelve months later, he would be sold for a tidy 300 per cent profit.

As we know now – and it was hardly a secret at the time – he was soon being pursued by another Premier League club. In the end, it was surprising that Silva lasted three weeks into 2018 before a parting of the ways.

Watford later received £4 million in compensation for him, but it was a strange episode where intrigue somehow held sway over football, which is a pity. As Fulham’s success this season and last has shown, Silva is a talented coach.

In his autobiography, former Hornets captain Troy Deeney acknowledged his virtues, admitting: “I don’t think Silva rated me too highly. I rated him, actually, but he didn’t rate me. He was a good coach and his staff knew their roles well, training was excellent and varied. I had nothing but good to say about his coaching.”

But, yes, it was a messy divorce. And the post-script, when Silva’s Everton lost 1-0 at The Vic in February 2019, was not exactly a convention of hearts and flowers, either.

From that brief glimpse of the Champions League places to the Rookery belting out an unfavourable comparison with his successor, ultimately Marco Silva and Watford was not a match made in heaven... although it was never dull.

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