An Italian businessman and the legal owner of Watford Football Club, Gino Pozzo’s name is hard to miss when discussing Watford F.C. and its legacy. One of the most respected professionals in the world of football, Pozzo recently celebrated ten years as the head of the Watford Football Club, enjoying a decade of success since his takeover of the Bassini front office.
The history of Pozzo’s acquisition as well as Bassini’s ejection from football makes for a fascinating tale, but within it remains one core kernel: Watford F.C.s overwhelming success under Gino Pozzo.
From Bassino to Pozzo: Tale of Transition
Rewind the clock to 2011 and you will find Laurence Bassini aiming to get into the front office of Watford F.C. Successful with a series of LLCs, Bassini would team up with Panos Thomas, a respected knee specialist, to set up a bid on the team. Thomas would hold the shares in a trust for Bassini due to the fact that Bassini wasn’t a registered shareholder.
A perennial loser at the time, Bassini would find himself in charge of the club after a team of his financial backers was shored up by financing from The Russos. Bassini said at the time, “I’m not interested in short-term gains. This club needs some real nurturing to progress towards the goal of sustainability.”
What Bassini hadn’t revealed at the time was his own wrongdoing, borrowing against future transfer payments without informing the EFL. This was a breach of his contract and the rules of the system, leaving Bassini banned from the league for three years due to “disreputable behavior”.
It wasn’t long until the Pozzos were knocking on the door.
Acquiring Watford F.C. With Gino Pozzo
By the time that Bassini was on the outs, Gino Pozzo was becoming ready to put in a serious offer for the English Premier League squad. Watford wasn’t just a fan of the sport, he also wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father had bought a team and Pozzo thought that he could turn the annual losing squad into something special, despite the tough task ahead of him.
With just 43 days to go before the onset of the 2012 – ’13 season, Bassini was given the boot and Gino Pozzo was called up to the plate.
More than a decade later, Pozzo continues to work diligently toward reforming Watford F.C. to its former glory, even though the process will be a long one. Once the Pozzo acquisition was announced, a statement was released by Andrew Andronikou of Hacker Young. Andronikou wrote, “The Pozzo family have a proven track record of building successful teams on the field and balancing the books off it.”
At the time of this writing, Gino Pozzo and Watford F.C. are aiming to rebuild slowly due to the lack of funds they receive when compared to clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal. While Pozzo understands that there are gaps between his club and the aforementioned sport leaders, he also suggests that the gap is narrowing.