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Watford appoint Ismael as new head coach



Watford have appointed Valerien Ismael as their new head coach.

Ex-Barnsley and West Brom boss Ismael replaces Chris Wilder, who has left Vicarage Road at the end of his short-term deal.

Ismael’s contract length has not been disclosed by Watford but he is the 19th full-time appointment made by the Pozzo family during the past 11 years.

Watford technical director Ben Manga told the club’s official website: “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 Valerien’s experience to Watford is good news for our club. We are all looking forward to working with him.”

It continues the extraordinary churn of managers at Watford under the ownership of the Pozzo family with Wilder only appointed in March after Slaven Bilic had been sacked.

Speculation had been rife over the future of former Sheffield United manager Wilder in recent weeks and his departure was confirmed on Wednesday night.

A club statement said: “The Hornets would like to place on record their thanks to Chris Wilder and his staff, whose short-term contracts have come to an end.

“His 11-game spell began in March and finished after the season’s final-day win at home to Stoke.

“We wish Chris, Alan Knill, Matt Prestridge and Mike Allen all the very best for their next opportunity in football.”

Ismael arrives at Vicarage Road after a spell in Turkey in charge of Besiktas.

After numerous managerial stints in Germany, most notably with Wolfsburg, the Frenchman enjoyed success at Barnsley in 2021 after he guided them into the Championship play-offs against the odds.

It earned the 47-year-old a move to West Brom but he was sacked after only seven months and will now aim to help Watford pursue a return to the Premier League.

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