Keith An­drews is re­united with old Brighton gaffer Gar­cia at Wat­ford

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

WAT­FORD star Keith An­drews has rub­bished ru­mours of player power at Vicarage Road fol­low­ing the shock res­ig­na­tion of man­ager Beppe San­nino.

San­nino, 57, quit on Sun­day, just hours after a 4-2 win over Hud­der­s­field left the Hor­nets sec­ond in the Cham­pi­onship. The Ital­ian – who took over from Gian­franco Zola in De­cem­ber – said he had “gone as far as I can”.

He is re­placed by Spa­niard Os­car Gar­cia, who last sea­son led Brighton & Hove Al­bion into the play-offs be­fore re­sign­ing in May.

The up­heaval fol­lows weeks of un­rest be­hind the scenes with sug­ges­tions that Wat­ford’s play­ers were un­happy with San­nino’s train­ing meth­ods and in­abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate in English.

How­ever, Ir­ish in­ter­na­tional An­drews in­sists the head­lines are wide of the mark and that none of the play­ers had a prob­lem with San­nino.

“I’ve seen a lot of things in the Press and on TV,” said the 33-yearold. “Cer­tain peo­ple want to make head­lines and when a man­ager leaves with his team sec­ond in the league, peo­ple start dig­ging around for rea­sons why.

“One of the things they’ve gone for is player re­volt or player un­rest. But that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

“He was a good man­ager. His English was fine. He more than got by. I’d sug­gest he was a tra­di­tional, old-school Ital­ian man­ager who be­lieved in hard work and dis­ci­pline.

“His record speaks for it­self – we’re in sec­ond po­si­tion. I cer­tainly didn’t have a prob­lem with him and I don’t think any­body else did.

“And ul­ti­mately, it was his decision – every­body could see that he re­signed. If peo­ple want the truth, they need to ask Mr San­nino what hap­pened.”

For­mer Barcelona mid­fielder Gar­cia wasn’t uni­ver­sally popular at Brighton, with many fans find­ing his pos­ses­sion-based style too pedes­trian and de­fen­sive.

But An­drews – who spent last sea­son on loan at the Amex from Bolton – be­lieves the 42-year-old, back from a sec­ond spell in charge of Is­raeli gi­ants Maccabi Tel Aviv, will be a dif­fer­ent beast at Vicarage Road.


“You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt,” said An­drews, who is spend­ing a sec­ond sea­son out on loan from the Ree­bok.

“The Brighton squad he in­her­ited last year had good play­ers, but I’m sure he’d have liked to add to it. And if any­thing, it got de­pleted as the sea­son went on, es­pe­cially in the Jan­uary win­dow when he lost a cou­ple of play­ers. His hands were tied to a cer­tain de­gree and I think that played a part in why he left.

“Yes he likes to play a pos­ses­sion-based game, but with the wingers and for­wards here – Ikechi Anya, Lloyd Dyer, Fer­nando Forestieri – we’ve got pace and po­tency up front. I think we could see a dif­fer­ent style this year with a lot more em­pha­sis on of­fence.”

An­drews – who made 31 ap­pear­ances for the Seag­ulls last term – in­sists Gar­cia will have in­stant re­spect from Wat­ford’s play­ers.

“He’s very mild-man­nered, very calm,” added the for­mer Black­burn and West Brom mid­fielder. “He rarely loses his head. He has great re­spect for his play­ers and he ex­pects that in re­turn.

“And he’ll get it. He has a great pedi­gree hav­ing come through the Barcelona academy and played for the team.

“He’s also been brave enough to chal­lenge him­self in a dif­fer­ent coun­try. How many peo­ple would have gone to man­age in Is­rael?

“He could have stayed at Barca for a num­ber of years but he took him­self out of his com­fort zone, proved him­self, then up­rooted him­self again to man­age in Eng­land.”

OLD SCHOOL: Ital­ian man­ager Beppe San­nino

Beppe San­nino

RE­UNITED: Keith An­drews and Os­car Gar­cia

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