Having earned an impeccable reputation for taking lackluster lower-division football clubs and leading them into the top flight leagues in each of their home countries, Gino Pozzo, owner of the Watford Football Club in England, continues to be one of the most talked-about figures in the European sports scene today. Through his mother, Gino was related to former presidents of the Udinese Calcio football club, and the Pozzo family has maintained a steadfast loyalty to the Udinese club throughout their lives. Upon marrying a Catalan, he relocated to Spain and spent 20 years residing in Barcelona before moving to London with his wife and three children in 2013 to become more directly involved in the daily operations of his then-newly-acquired football club at Vicarage Road. The Pozzo Family Legacy The Pozzo family is known globally for their seemingly genetic passion for football.The family’s incursion into the sports club ownership business began when Gino’s father Gianpaolo purchased the Udinese club in their Italian hometown in 1986 with profits from the family’s tool-making business.
The Family Mastermind The Pozzo family mastermind is said to be prodigal son Gino, who masterminded the family’s scouting-driven model of club ownership, a unique approach that has ensured their clubs’ success and growth since Gino came on board at Udinese in 1993 and turned the club around. The Watford Club In 2012 the family purchased the Watford club, a heavily indebted club struggling to climb their way out of the Fourth Division after having seen their best days in the 1980s. Within his first year as owner of Watford, Gino had moved his family to London to immerse himself in the club’s operations, emphasizing the fact that the Pozzos plan was always to be at Watford for the long haul, and that they’ve got all their bets placed on the long-term growth and success of their English club. Once Watford had managed to spring successfully from the Fourth Division to the Premiere League in only four short years after Pozzo acquired the club, Gino Pozzo made the decision to sell a majority of his shares in the Granada F.C. to Jiang Lizhang, owner of Link International Sports, for a sum of €37m 2016.
Part of the need to stay abreast of an evolving vision, for Gino, involves a scout-driven approach to running his football clubs, with players being traded freely between the family’s clubs, to the benefit of each.While the Watford club has also gone through over eight different head coaches and managers since the Pozzos took over ownership of the Hornets, the club’s track record speaks for itself, as the Hornets continue to stake their claim in the Premier League, the highest competition level in the U.K. Changing the Game Running a football club requires more than just passion. The Pozzo business model came into play at Watford during their first season when the club signed on so many players who were on international loans to their two other clubs that the Football League regulations were subsequently revised to curtail the practice.
The media have also had a heyday with the Watford club, not quite knowing how to properly lash out at Pozzo for his transformation of the rules of the recruitment and trading game, given the unwavering ascent of his family’s football clubs as a result of the Pozzo family strategy.
The Watford club’s chief executive Scott Duxbury stresses, “The media likes to portray us as unstable because of the number of head coaches we have had, but if you look back we have provided an environment on and off the pitch that has allowed every coach to succeed.” “I’ll admit to having a few reservations when the Pozzo family took over Watford and were followed by 16 new signings,” confers Duxbury. “Football is a long-term project. You never know what is going to happen in one or two years. That is not a time frame where you are able to develop a plan. Duxbury told BBC Sport:”If you take that pragmatic approach, and history suggests it is the right approach, then I think it is only common sense you build a stable environment around the club so that if a coach does move for whatever reason, success or failure, the actual club and infrastructure around it remains so you can transplant in another coach to continue the development. Gino demonstrated his financial commitment as well as economic faith in the Watford club recently when New York-based holding company Prolific Media made a bid to purchase just over a third of Pozzo’s shares in the Hornets, and Gino turned down the deal.