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Forest Green furious as Watford prepare to appoint Rob Edwards as manager

Forest Green furious as Watford prepare to appoint Rob Edwards as manager

  • Forest Green say negotiations held ‘behind our backs’
  • Roy Hodgson leaving Watford at end of season after relegation

Watford are close to appointing the Forest Green Rovers manager Rob Edwards as their next head coach. The League Two champions confirmed on Wednesday that Edwards had left and expressed disappointment that negotiations had been held “behind our backs”.

Watford have identified Edwards, who guided Rovers to the title in his first season as a Football League manager, as an ideal successor to Roy Hodgson, who will leave at the end of this campaign.

A young, homegrown coach would mark a significant change in the type of appointment Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, have typically made and Edwards, if appointed, would become the club’s ninth permanent manager in five years.

“Rob was a key part of the team that gained promotion to League One this season,” a Rovers statement said. “We’re disappointed that our support, loyalty and honesty towards Rob has been repaid in this way – with negotiations taking place behind our backs. We had no contact from Watford, from whom we might expect less, but in any event this kind of behaviour gives football a bad name. We thank Rob for all his work at FGR – forgive him the manner of his departure and wish him well.”

Watford declined to comment. Forest Green’s chairman, Dale Vince, said he had called Edwards on Tuesday evening as speculation mounted. “As soon as he started speaking, I knew that it was real,” Vince told Sky Sports News. “[He told me] that he had been in negotiations [with Watford] and felt it was a great opportunity for him.” He accused Watford of “deceit”.

Edwards, a 39-year-old former Wales defender, coached Wolves’ Under-23s and England’s Under-16s before being given a chance by Forest Green. He recently won the EFL League Two manager of the season award.

Watford’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed last Saturday. Forest Green will play in the third tier for the first time next season and were recently boosted by their director of football, Richard Hughes, committing his future amid interest from Portsmouth. “If there is karma in football, we will meet Watford in the Championship in a few years’ time,” Vince said.

Watford host Everton on Wednesday hoping to avoid a 12th consecutive home defeat.

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