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Punching above his weight?-A Joe Calzaghe Story

Jun 30, 2013
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14th July 2012
Beep, beep, beep, beep, I heard before smashing the snooze button on my alarm clock, I slowly turned my head to look at the time, 7:00, it read.

"Ugh" I groaned as I forced myself up off of the soft, comfortable mattress and away from the warmth of my bed as I dragged myself towards the bathroom, removed my clothes and walked into the shower to wake myself up and so that I would look and feel clean and fresh. I walked out of the shower and wrapped a towel around myself, and proceeded to dry myself, before quickly changing into my best (and only) suit and walking downstairs. I opened the door to my house and looked down at the doormat where a copy of the Daily Mail sat, unread. I quickly turned to the sports pages, despite knowing what I would read.

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Retired Welsh boxer, Joe Calzaghe has returned to sport after 3 years of retirement, but he hasn't returned to boxing to manage an up-and-coming boxing, oh no.

Watford chairman today confirmed that Joe "The Italian Dragon" Calzaghe, would manage the club and had been given a one-year contract worth £7,000 p/w, with the expectation of finishing in the top half in the nPower Championship this season.

The former middleweight world champion, 41, had this to say "I'm delighted to have signed a contract with such a prestigious club, and I am delighted that the owner has entrusted me with this position, I hope that I can repay his faith"

Calzaghe's Watford side are expected to finish in mid-table this season, his first match will be against Boreham Wood in a friendly, his first competitive match will be away to Birmingham on the eighteenth of August.
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Jun 30, 2013
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Football, Bonding and a Couple of Beers

15th July 2012
Football, bonding and a couple of beers

I hadn't overseen training today, as my boss, Raffaele Riva, had taken me on a tour of the stadium, Vicarage Road, and the training and youth facilities, I was extremely grateful he had taken time out of his day to welcome me and make sure I was settled in, showing me my new office and everything, lastly he introduced me to the staff, whom he said I could sack and bring others in if I wanted.

I met my assistant, Giancarlo Corradini, but unfortunately we didn't have the same ideas and ambitions and I felt the club could only benefit from a manager and his assistant being on the same wavelength, I then met my scouts, and I felt the same way, immediately sacking them and bringing in some new ones, namely David Hamilton and Neville Hargreaves. By this time it was approaching the end of training for the lads, so I told them to meet me at the Zinco restaurant in Watford at six.

I took the lads out to the Italian restaurant, Zinco, we had a good time, the food was delicious, the beer went down well and most of the lads had the standard pizza, bolognese or lasagne, however Prince Buaben experimented with sea bass and said it was delightful the highlight was having all the loanees who'd joined before Gianfranco Zola had left, Matej Vydra sang Don't Stop Me Now and wasn't half bad, but Daniel Pudil embarassed himself by singing "Waterloo" by ABBA, but all in all a good night out.

Now all the fun and games were over the real work would begin the following day.
Jun 30, 2013
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13th August 2012
First Game

I've been in charge for almost a month now, and quite a bit has happened behind the scenes at Vicarage Road with a few comings and goings at the club, but none in the way of players.

Firstly I signed a new assistant manager, in the form of Charlie Oatway, I signed Charlie, not because of his reputation as a "hard-man" in the midfield, but because of his experience. Charlie has played in every league in the Football League for Cardiff, Brentford and Torquay before settling at the "yo-yo" side Brighton and Hove Albion, he then went down a few levels to Havant & Waterlooville. I liked him in his interview and I found someone who is on the same wavelength as me and we could strive for success here at Watford.

We also signed two scouts, Neville Hargreaves and David Hamilton, two top scouts, whom I hoped could find fresh, new talent from Britain and abroad, I have sent them out all across Europe and given many reports to Charlie and I to look over, to see who we thought was right, and could fit into the team, so we drew up a list.

Ben Amos-Manchester United-Loan

Jonathan Parr-Crystal Palace-Transfer
Bob Harris-Blackpool-Transfer
Aidan White-Leeds-Transfer
Ben Mee-Burnley-Transfer
Grant Hanley-Blackburn-Transfer

James Ward-Prowse-Southampton-Loan
Craig Conway-Cardiff-Transfer
Craig Bryaon-Derby-Transfer
Radoslaw Majeski-Forest-Transfer

Nouah Dicko-Wigan-Loan

Charlie and I agreed all of these players were top quality and bids were made immediately for each, our main target is Palace full-back Jonathan Parr, who is 23-years-old and has brilliant potential. Our left flank is an area that needs to improve in our team, and having Parr in the defence would hopefully strengthen the defence and could hopefully forage up and down the wings.

Charlie and I watched the lads train intensely in the last few weeks and jotted down a few notes, who would play where, how would we play etc, and the day before the League Cup game at home to Wycombe, we told the lads the team.

"Right, lads, come over here" I shouted, clapping my hands as they jogged over and formed a circle around me and Charlie. A few were huffing and puffing from the day's training. A few whispering to each other.
"Listen to the boss!" Charlie snapped
"Thank you, Charlie" I said, and then continued "right then, I have the team sorted" I held up a scrap of paper, and then read it out "Manuel Almunia in goals, the defence will be Marco Cassetti, Tommie Hoban, Nathaniel Chalobah and Neuton, the midfield will be Johnathan Hogg, Almen Abdi and John Eustace, out wide will be Sean Murray and Daniel Pudil, Matej Vydra will be up front on his own, any questions?" I asked
"No boss" they all murmured a few looking disappointed they didn't get there chance
"Right then," Charlie shouted "see you all tomorrow"

14th August 2012
Watford V Wycombe

"Hello and welcome to BBC Hertfordshire for today's Capital One Cup clash between nPower Championship hopefuls Watford and nPower League 2 side Wycombe Wanderers, today will announce ex-boxer Joe Calzaghe's first competitive match as manager of Watford, after over-seeing a mildly successful pre-season, and the teams are coming out now, Watford in yellow and black, and Wycombe in blue and black, and they're off!"

1st Minute-"Almen Abdi plays a long-ball forward, Sean Murray nods it one, he finds himself in some space, has a shot...... GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1-0 TO WATFORD!!! Sean Murray puts Watford ahead very early on here at Vicarage Road!"
55th Minute-"Matej Vydra on the ball, beats two defenders plays the ball in front of Pudil, who beats McCoy to the ball, first-time shot.... GOAL!!!! 2-0 TO WATFORD, Daniel Pudil scores for The Hornets!!!"


Man of the Match-Tommie Hoban

Second Round draw-Watford v Nottingham Forest

Jun 30, 2013
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1st September 2012
Harder than it looks

I started my first month in full, competitive football management full of optimism after the comfortable 2-0 win against Wycombe in the League Cup, but would this momentum continue into our league games? No.

Saturday 18th August-St Andrews Stadium-nPower Championship
Birmingham City 1-0 Watford

Davies (18)

A poor performance away from home to start the season
Man of the Match-Curtis Davies (Birmingham)

Tuesday 21st August-Vicarage Road-nPower Championship
Watford 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Abdi (82)---Ebanks-Blake (52), Hunt (90)

Two Midlands clubs in two games and another loss, unlucky to lose it so late on

Man of the Match-Stephen Hunt (Wolves)

Saturday 25th August 2012-London Road-nPower Championship
Peterborough 0-0 Watford

Craig Alcock sent off for Peterborough

We played out a bore draw away at Peterborough for this one, Cridtian Battocchio got injured for us

Man of the Match-Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford)

28th August 2012-Vicarage Road-League Cup
Watford 3-2 Nottingham Forest

Dicko (2,71) Vydra (8)-----Reid (43), Sharp (82)
John Eustace sent off for Watford
Gonzalo Jara sent off for Nottingham Forest

A good win at home against Forest to put us through to the Third Round where we will play West Bromwich Albion
Man of the Match-Nouha Dicko

JOE'S VIEW-A poor month, all-in-all, but hopefully that cup win against Nottingham Forest will spur us on to victories next month, and my signings will help, which I'll get to in a minute


Nouha Dicko-Season long loan from Wigan Athletic
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We signed Nouha on a season-long loan from Premier League stalwarts Wigan Athletic
Joe's View-"I believe the capture of Nouha Dicko has shown ambition and vision on behalf of the club, I believe that Nouha is the man to fire us into the Premier League"

Nadjim Abdou from Milwall-£1m

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Nadjim was signed from Millwall to be the anchor in our midfield and was cheapper than other targets that he's just as good as
Joe's View-"Nadjim is a top quality player and I believe switching to The Hornets is a step in the right direction for him and that he could push us to further heights"

Zat Knight from Bolton-£1.2m

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We grabbed the 6ft 6in Zat from recently-relegated Bolton for £1.2m, and can become the rock in the heart of our defence
Joe's View-"I signed Zat Knight due to his height, experience and calibre, he has played at the top level with Fulham, Villa and Bolton and he's a big, strong lad who I think could have been a good boxer"

Barry Ferguson from Blackpool-£210k

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The veteran Scotsman was signed from Blackpool for just over two hundred thousand pounds and could prove vital
Joe's View-"Barry is an excellent player who, with his experience with Rangers in Scotland, and Blackburn and Birmingham over here could prove invaluable and could tutor young prospects"

Jun 30, 2013
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After a poor start to the season for promotion-chasing Watford, they have now picked up some form.
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In August, Watford began their season with 2 losses (against Birmingham and Wolves) and a draw against Peterborough United, and sat in 22nd in the nPower Championship table.
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However new signings and a new tactic has seen The Hornets grab two victories in two games (against Cardiff and Burnley), both by a margin of 1 goal, this sets Watford in good stead for their up-and-coming match against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup.
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Manager, Joe Calzaghe is obviously delighted at the results, being quoted as saying "these are some good results against two top sides in Burnley and Cardiff"
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"We are hoping that this form can continue and that we can push up the table and challenge for promotion to the Premier League"
Jun 30, 2013
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1st October 2012
Month two, any easier?

I've had a tough start to life as a football manager but towards the start of last month, it appeared that the team had started gelling and getting used to the tactics I've been employing.

1st September 2012-Vicarage Road-nPower Championship
Watford 1-0 Cardiff

Pudil (47)

At long last! A league win for us here at Vicarage Road thanks to a goal early in the second half from Daniel Pudil
Man of the Match-Zat Knight (Watford)

15th Spetember 2012-Vicarage Road-nPower Championship
Watford 2-1 Burnley

Chalobah (15), Murray (81)
--Austin (72)

Nathaniel Chalaboah started the scoring before Austin clawed it back, only for Sean Murray to grab a winner 10 minutes from time
Man of the Match-Zat Knight (Watford)

18th Spetember 2012-AMEX Stadium-nPower Championship
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Watford

Ulloa (1), Vicente (36)
-----Murray (90+3)

Our winning run comes to an end at the AMEX in Brighton thanks to Spanish duo, Leanardo Ulloa and Vicente, a late consolation for us from Murray
Man of the Match-Gary Dicker (Brighton)

22nd September 2012-John Smith's Stadium-nPower Championship
Huddersfield 1-1 Watford

Scannell (25)
----Geijo (13)

We went up to Yorkshire to play Huddersfield in what was quite a clean affair at the John Smith's Stadium Geijo put us one-up, before Sean Scannell pulled it back for The Terriers
Man of the Match-Zat Knight (Watford)

25th September 2012-Hawthorns-League Cup Third Round-After extra-time
West Brom 1-2 Watford

Yacob (87)----Hogg (44), Geijo (111)
Tommie Hoban sent off for Watford

YES!!!!!!!!!!!! We are through to the Fourth Round after beating West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, we will play Birmingham in the next round
Man of the Match-Cristian Battocchio (Watford)

29th September 2012-Ewood Park-nPower Championship
Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Watford

Gamst Pedersen (6)

Oh well, we were knackered after our League Cup exploits and this game proved to be a bridge too far
Man of the Match-Danny Murphy (Blackburn)

JOE'S VIEW-Not a bad month all-in-all rising into the mid-table positions and hopfeully making it into the Quarter-Final.


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The £1.2m from Bolton won three man of the match awards this month proving himself to be a rock at the back and an integral part of the team
Jun 30, 2013
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1st November 2012
Life's getting better

After a rough start for me at Vicarage Road which left us sitting in 18th place in the nPower Championship at the end of September, life has gotten better and we are soaring up the table as if we were birds in flight, progression in the League Cup also helped my cause as Mr Riva has expressed his delight at our form.

2nd October 2012-Vicarage Road-nPower Championship
Watford 4-1 Nottingham Forest

Dicko (12), Vydra (67,84), Murray (71)
---Cohen (6)
Marco Cassetti sent off for Watford

A superb victory at home against a good Forest side, coming back from 1-0 down after an early Chris Cohen goal, Vydra put us ahead, and it seemed plain sailing until Cassetti was sent off for a second bookable offence with 20 minutes to go, but we held firm and added two, on from Vydra, one from Murray
Man of the Match-Matej "Mr Otter" Vydra (Watford)

6th October 2012-Vicarage Road-nPower Championship
Watford 1-1 Barnsley

Knight (71)
--Scotland (50)

We failed to build on our emphatic win over Forest the week before, going behind to a Jason Scotland goal early in the second half, however we rallied and equalised with a Zat Knight volley to salvage a point against a struggling Barnsley side
Man of the Match-Zat Knight (Watford)

20th October 2012-The Den-nPower Championship
Millwall 2-3 Watford

Hulse (5,76)
--Geijo (28,34), Murray (40)

We had a worrying start when Rob Hulse put The Lions ahead with a header from six yards, however their lead only lasted 23 minutes as Alex Geijo grabbed us an equaliser, before putting us ahead six minutes later, wait another six minutes and winger Sean Murray capitalised on a defensive error to smash home a third, however we had a nervy last fifteen minutes as Rob Hulse bagged his and Millwall's second
Man of the Match-Rob Hulse (Millwall)

23rd October 2012-Riverside Stadium-nPower Championship
Middlesbrough 3-4 Watford

Dyer (48), Miller (76,88)-
-Geijo (36,52), Abdi (67), Mr Otter (Vydra, 79)

We visited Middlesbrough on a wet and windy night in the North-East and we played out a classic, Alex Geijo putting us ahead with a thunderous shot past Steele, we got to half-time, however Boro came out all guns blazing and Kieron Dyer inevitably equalised, but it didn't last as Alex Geijo volleyed a Nyron Nosworthy cross into the net. We doubled our advantage when Almen Abdi latched onto an Alex Geijo pass and calmly side footed it home, however panic struck as Ishmael Miller latched onto a through ball to beat Almunia in goals and to keep os on our toes, but we instantly hit back with our fourth of the evening, Murray intercepting a pass out from keeper, Jason Steele, the young Irishman played it through for Matej Vydra to make it 4-2, panic struck again 2 minutes from time as Miller scored his second to make it 4-3, but we held on for the three points. Unfortunately Nouah Dicko tore a calf muscle and will be out for 4-5 months with the injury.
Man of the Match-Alex Geijo (Watford)

27th October 2012-Vicarage Road-nPower Championship
Watford 1-1 Bristol City

Geijo (40)
---Skuse (35)
Neuton sent off for Watford

A fairly drab match to be fair, unlike the seven goal thriller at the Riverside with few chances, with us having the majority of them. Cole Skuse put City ahead with a well-time finish, however only five minutes later star striker, Alex Geijo pulled them back with a ferocious striker. On a sour note, John Eustace tore his hamstring and will be out for up to three months.
Man of the Match-Cole Skuse (Bristol City)

30th October 2012-St Andrews Stadium-League Cup Fourth Round
Birmingham City 0-4 Watford

Ekstrand (24,49), Mujangi Bia (34,89)

A top-quality performance from us puts us into the Quarter-Final of a major domestic trophy. Centre half Joel Ekstrand got us off to a good start with a close range shot after a Almen Abdi corner, Matej Vydra played the ball through to Murray who whipped the ball in for Mujangi Bia to head home his first of the season. Ekstrand scored his second just after half-time, getting away from his marker, Marlon King, to volley another Abdi corner home. Geoffrey Mujangi Bia scored a delightful free-kick off the underside of the bar to put the icing on the cake and us through to the Quarter-Final, where we will play Manchester City.
Man of the Match-Geoffrey Mujangi Bia (Watford)

JOE'S VIEW-This month was cracking, going unbeaten and climbing the league table like a monkey up a tree, plus we're through to the Quarter Final of the League Cup, which I'm looking forward too very much, all in all a fantastic month.
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We sit in a comfortable 8th position in the league, I hope that we can launch an assault on the play-offs

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A classic which I won't soon forget, our finishing was immense


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A good month for the Spaniard, sealing a man of the match award and grabbing a couple of goals.