Valérien Ismaël has been announced as the newest head coach for Watford FC – their nineteenth in 11 years.
The former Barnsley and West Brom manager will replace outgoing coach Chris Wilder, whose short-term contract ended with the final game of the 2022/23 season.
Ismaël will take the reins in August as the Hornets look to avoid spending a third consecutive year in the EFL Championship.
This comes after a season in which three different coaches came and went at Vicarage Road. Some have argued this contributed to Watford’s disappointing eleventh-place finish.
Watford’s technical director Ben Manga said: “Being able to appoint a new coach so soon in May means we can prepare very well together for next season.
“To be able to welcome someone of Valérien’s experience to Watford is good news for our club. We are all looking forward to working with him.”
French-born Ismaël has had experience in both England and abroad as a manager, having worked with clubs such as VfL Wolfsburg in Germany, Apollon Smyrnis in Greece, LASK in Austria and Beşiktaş in Turkey.
As a player, he made appearances for Racing Strasbourg, Crystal Palace, RC Lens, Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich, and Hannover 96. With some of those sides, he won the Bundesliga and the Coupe de la Ligue twice, as well as the Coupe de France. He also played for the under-21s French national team.
Photo credit: Watford FC