Boothroyd becomes manager at troubled Watford

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The Independent Online

Watford yesterday unveiled Adrian Boothroyd, who has been working as Leeds United's first-team coach, as their new manager. The Championship strugglers also confirmed Keith Burkinshaw as assistant manager while Nigel Gibbs and David Hockaday will feature in Boothroyd's back-room staff.

Watford yesterday unveiled Adrian Boothroyd, who has been working as Leeds United's first-team coach, as their new manager. The Championship strugglers also confirmed Keith Burkinshaw as assistant manager while Nigel Gibbs and David Hockaday will feature in Boothroyd's back-room staff.

The Hornets sacked Ray Lewington on 22 March, with the club just above the relegation zone. At the time of Lewington's exit, the Watford chairman, Graham Simpson, promised the club would appoint a "young, progressive manager".

Boothroyd, 34, would appear to fit the bill. He is seen as one of the best young coaches in the game, having held positions with Peterborough, Norwich, West Bromwich and Leeds, and possesses a Uefa "A" coaching certificate.

But many Watford fans will question the wisdom of appointing a man with no management experience. With seven matches remaining, the club are four points above the relegation zone. Boothroyd's first game in charge will be at Burnley on Saturday.

"I am unconventional, but I am honest and I have integrity - that is how I work," he said. Boothroyd cited Churchill as one of his chief inspirations.

"Winston Churchill was appointed as a cabinet minister at a very young age: in life you can always follow successful people," he said. "There are certain common denominators that you can use from their experiences, take what they learnt over decades and put it into practice in everyday life."

But there is no danger of Boothroyd reciting any of Churchill's famous speeches to his players before matches.

He acknowledged: "I think that the lads would all leave the dressing-room if I started reading his speeches. I will not be wearing any dodgy clothes or smoking a big cigar."

Boothroyd also cited the words of another of his heroes - the former Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi. "Sacchi once said: 'You don't have to have been a great horse to be a great jockey,' and I endorse that," he said. "At Leeds I earned the respect of all the players, including Gary Kelly, a millionaire who played in the 1994 World Cup for the Republic of Ireland."

Watford's financial troubles mean they are likely to have to trim the playing staff in the summer. But Boothroyd said he is comfortable with that. "There are a number of good players at this club, and we might have to be inventive and creative to keep them here in the summer."

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