Watford isn’t the team I support in the Premier League (England’s top soccer competition). However, I’ve been following them with some interest because of the coach they hired at the beginning of the season, a Portuguese fellow by the name of Marco Silva. He’s accomplished some impressive things as a coach, and, oh yeah, he also happens to be ridiculously handsome.
Every novela needs a good-looking, swarthy guy of somewhat mysterious origins, no?
In the latest plot twist, Watford announced earlier today that Silva has been fired, and as much as I enjoyed his face on my screen, I can understand the club’s decision. Results haven’t been the same ever since Everton, another Premier League club, tried to hire Silva away earlier in the season and Watford refused to let Everton speak to him. The club’s statement about the firing says as much:
The catalyst for this decision is that unwarranted approach [ed. – from Everton], something which the Board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised.
If you don’t know how European soccer works, the claim that the club’s future is in jeopardy might sound extreme. However, like most soccer leagues around the world, the Premier League is part of a larger system of promotion and relegation. At the end of every season, the bottom 3 teams in the Premier League are relegated, which means they drop down to the second tier of competition, while 3 teams from the second tier are promoted to the Premier League.
The way standings are computed is each team gets 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and no points for a loss. The team with the most points at the end is the league winner, and as explained earlier, the 3 teams with the fewest points are relegated. As of this writing, Watford sits 10th out of 20 teams. However, only 4 points separate Watford from the team currently in 18th place.
Even taking those things into account, I still think the suggestion that Watford could get sucked into the relegation zone is a bit extreme. Despite the recent run of poor results, there are easily 3 teams that are worse. Make no mistake – Silva’s real crime was pissing off Watford’s board and some of the players with the way he handled the Everton saga.
I do sympathize with Silva for wanting the Everton job, though. Everton has been a more successful club in recent years than Watford, and it was widely reported that Everton was willing to offer Silva a bigger paycheck and a bigger budget to build the team. However, because he was under contract, he wasn’t at liberty to talk to other clubs without Watford’s permission.
Of course, the big irony is that Watford refused to let Everton talk to Silva because of a fear that losing the coach would tank the season. Oops.
I’m also not here for the argument that Silva should have publicly renounced interest in the Everton job right away. Coaching careers are often capricious things, and I completely understand the urge to take a better opportunity when it appears to be available. However, he could have been more clever with his public statements than he was. His behavior was ambiguous enough to be interpreted as fluttering his eyes at Everton, and Watford’s ownership did not take this well for obvious reasons.
As a leftist, it frustrates me that people only complain about loyalty from a player or a coach and not from the club. But I’m also a realist. I don’t usually like it, but I understand that you have to consider the optics of things, especially when you’re in a high-profile position. You might get away with spoiled diva behavior if you’re among the top stars in your field, but Silva isn’t at that level.
Even worse, this may not be the first time Silva’s ambition has led him to some questionable behavior. A couple of years ago, he resigned from a team in Greece for unspecified personal reasons, and it’s not a huge leap to guess that those reasons included finding a more prestigious job.
In classic novela fashion, he may yet end up with the Everton job at the start of next season. While Everton appointed another coach, Sam Allardyce, after the Silva plot was foiled, nobody seems particularly enamored with Allardyce, although he has improved results slightly. While it would be bad form to fire Allardyce now, many sources have suggested that all bets are off at the end of the season.
I don’t really care if Silva ends up at Everton or some other Premier League club. I just hope he doesn’t go back to Portugal or some other league that isn’t broadcast over here. What can I say? I want that face on my TV.
Who are some of your problematic faves? Confess in the comments!