Valérien Ismaël: Watford Connections

Valérien Ismaël: Watford Connections

In just his second match in charge, he steered the Tykes to a 1-0 win over Vladimir Ivić’s side at Oakwell, bringing the Hornets’ four-match unbeaten run to an end. The reverse fixture yielded contrasting fortunes for Ismaël and Barnsley, with a Troy Deeney penalty proving the difference in a similarly tight Championship affair in January 2021.

It took just six months for Ismaël to return to Vicarage Road, this time in charge of freshly-relegated West Bromwich Albion, as the Baggies and Watford played out a goalless pre-season friendly ahead of the 2021/22 season. Among West Brom’s squad that day was defender Darnell Furlong, whose father Paul scored 41 goals in 91 appearances for the Golden Boys between 1992 and 1994.

Putting pen-to-paper on a deal to become the Hornets’ new Head Coach marked the third time Ismaël has followed in the managerial footsteps of former Watford boss Slaven Bilić, with the former Croatia international having similarly taken charge of West Brom and Turkish giants Beşiktaş during his career.

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