There may have been a few raised eyebrows when ex-Leicester boss Nigel Pearson was given the reins at Watford FC until the end of this season – but there can be no denying that the 56-year-old’s CV ticks the key boxes.
The most significant box being that he’s been here before; and not like Sánchez Flores had. Pearson survived a relegation scrap with Leicester City at the end of the 2014/15 campaign, having secured his side a top-flight place during the previous season.
While Sánchez Flores has yet again left the Hornets in circumstances that are arguably no fault of his own, fans can at least follow polarizing owner Gino Pozzo’s train of thought this time around: Flores may have had a great track record with this club, but not with this scenario.
And while 10 games may not be many, it’s still 30 points that were up for grabs; and only seven went Flores’ way. Pozzo’s actions have never screamed loyalty over royalty and he’d have had no hesitation in sacking Flores swiftly in a bid to keep the club a successful Premier League ensemble.
He wants a dramatic change in results, and he wants them now. Critics of Pearson will look to his underwhelming stint at Derby County, where he left after just 14 games, or his most recent venture; a year-and-a-half with second-tier Belgian side OH Leuven which ended with his sacking in February. But they may well gloss over the fact that in his last Premier League season, the Englishman oversaw seven victories in his last nine games to keep the Foxes up.
It’s fair to say that the new Watford manager never played a direct part in Leicester’s Premier League winning campaign, nor in their current form under Brendan Rodgers; but there can be no denying that the Blues are still reaping the rewards of a foundation laid by Pearson during his four-year stint.
Can he do it again? We can only speculate. What we do know is that Leicester fans are still singing his praises today, and many of them have taken to social media to back him for the Watford job.
Photo courtesy of Alan Cozzi and Watford FC