Billy McKinlay’s reign as Watford manager ends

Billy McKinlay. Picture: Getty
Billy McKinlay. Picture: Getty
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Former Chelsea midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic has become Watford’s fourth manager of the season, bringing former Scotland midfielder Billy McKinlay’s reign to an end after only eight days.

McKinlay replaced Oscar Garcia at the end of September after the former Brighton boss, who had replaced Giuseppe Sannino following his resignation, had suffered a health scare. However, Hornets owner Gino Pozzo has now dispensed with McKinlay after just two games at the helm because he feels he needs an experienced boss with a proven track record.

Explaining the decision to hire the 46-year-old Serbian Jokanovic, Pozzo said in a statement published on the club’s official website: “Our job is always to act in the best long-term interests of this football club. There can be no compromise on this – whatever the circumstances. I fully support and endorse the view from our technical staff that, given the talented squad which has been assembled and our position in the league, an experienced head coach with a winning pedigree is of primary importance to help ensure the success we are all striving for.

“The supporters of Watford have always been very understanding towards our project here and I am certain they will continue to do everything they can to support the new coach and his squad.”

McKinlay had been given Garcia’s approval when hired last month and he led Watford to a 2-1 win over Brentford and a 1-1 draw with Brighton.

Yet the Pozzo family have once again opted for a foreign appointment, ensuring the 45-year-old McKinlay a place in the history books as one of the shortest managerial stints ever.

The former Blackburn, Dundee United and Leicester midfielder only left his role with the Northern Ireland set-up to focus on the Watford job one week ago. He may not be out of work for too long, though, given Fulham are still searching for a new manager themselves.

McKinlay played for and coached Fulham and has been linked with a return to the club he took temporary charge of in 2012, when he led them to a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield.