• Championship

Zola resigns as Watford head coach

ESPN staff
December 16, 2013
Gianfranco Zola took Watford to the brink of Premier League football in his first season in charge © PA Photos

Gianfranco Zola has resigned as Watford head coach, telling fans that "a variety of reasons" were behind his decision in open letter published by the club.

The former Chelsea player and West Ham manager joined Watford in 2012, taking the side within a game of the top flight twice in his first season at Vicarage Road.

The Championship side narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to the Premier League in the last day of the season before losing the play-off final to Crystal Palace in extra time.

After a bright start to the current campaign, Watford have failed to win in nine matches and are 13th in the table.

Zola wrote an open letter to Watford fans to explain his departure. "First of all, this decision has not been made quickly. I mentioned after the game on Saturday that I wanted to think about things overnight and that is exactly what I have done.

"I must place Watford Football Club first in my thoughts and it is for this reason that I have taken my action."

"Watford FC wishes to place on record its sincere gratitude to Gianfranco for his achievements at Vicarage Road, and for always acting with the utmost dignity and grace.

"The Board fully respects his decision and Gianfranco will be welcome at Watford Football Club at any time in the future."

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