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Watford sack Slaven Bilic and appoint Chris Wilder as new manager

Watford sack Slaven Bilic and appoint Chris Wilder as new manager

  • Hornets are ninth in Championship, four points off playoffs
  • Wilder is 18th full-time appointment by Pozzos since 2012

Watford have sacked head coach Slaven Bilic and replaced him with Chris Wilder.

The Croatian, 54, has been relieved of his duties after just six months in charge of the Hornets. Watford, who have won just three matches since Christmas, are ninth in the Championship, four points from the playoff places.

Seventeen minutes after Bilic’s departure was confirmed, Wilder was announced as their new manager. The former Sheffield United and Middlesbrough boss has been handed a contract at Vicarage Road until the end of the season, joining with immediate effect.

Wilder’s arrival continues the remarkable churn of managers at Watford under the ownership of the Pozzo family over the past decade. The 55-year-old becomes their 18th full-time appointment since July 2012, and he is charged with ensuring the club return to the Premier League.

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“We are all ambitious to succeed this season, so something new is needed quickly while the opportunity of promotion is still real,” said Ben Manga, the club’s technical director. “With the January transfer window over, to change coach is the only option available to re-energise for the final games ahead.”

Bilic took over from the axed Rob Edwards in late September with the club in 10th, but he served less than six months of his 18-month deal, with his final match a goalless home draw against Preston last weekend.

Wilder oversaw Sheffield United’s rise from League One to the Premier League before securing a ninth-placed finish in the Blades’ first season back in the top flight. He left the club in March 2021 following a poor run of results and took over at Middlesbrough the following November, only to be given his marching orders a year later. His first game in charge will be at QPR on Saturday.

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