Long reach of Italians stirring up the Hornets' nest

Watford's 6-1 win over Leeds last weekend drew attention to an Italian revolution at Vicarage Rd.

In June, the club was taken over by the Pozzo family, who also own, and have had success with, Udinese in Italy and Granada in Spain. They installed Gianfranco Zola as manager after sacking Sean Dyche, and the head of the family, Giamfranco, put son Gino in charge.

Five months on, the club has borrowed more than a dozen players from the two sister clubs, most from Udinese, and sits 12th on the championship ladder.

The Watford project is aimed at getting the club back into the premiership, where it has been twice before, and to stay there.

I wonder what the club's honorary president, Sir Elton, makes of it?

Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez has been sidelined with a hamstring injury . . . the tabloids reckon QPR are keen on bringing Nicolas Anelka back from China . . . former England striker Jamies Beattie, 34, has signed for Accrington Stanley.

The FA Cup second round December 2 draw has thrown up a headline act. AFC Wimbledon, the club that was created after the owners of the original Dons moved north and turned them into MK Dons, have drawn the club they despise. MK Dons chairman Peter Winkelman says he is not ultimately proud of the decision to move the club, but maintains it was that or liquidation. Real Wimbledon fans would appreciate it if MK removed the 'Dons' from their name.

Word is Winston Reid is talking to West Ham about a new five-year deal . . . Jan Huntelaar is expected to spark a January race for his signature when his Shalke deal expires in January . . . Manchester United are now only [PndStlg]359.7 million (NZ$702.5m) in debt.

Lacina Traore's agent is talking up his Russian based client, suggesting Liverpool are watching . . . Faustino Asprilla wants to return to Newcastle in a coaching role.

Stoke have announced plans to extend the Brittania Stadium to accommodate a crowd of 30,000. When the stadium was built in 1997 it had a capacity of 28,384 - but because football fans can't behave like normal human beings, it was reduced to 27,740 to allow for segregation.

Carl Jenkinson has signed a long term deal at Arsenal . . . premiership clubs are watching Millwall youngster Liam Trotter and Burnley's prolific scorer Charlie Austin . . . promising Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey faces further knee surgery for cruciate ligament damage after injuring it again in training.

Fangs for the support: Gordon McQueen thinks his old mate Joe Jordan should be given the Scotland job.

Chinese club Guizhou Rehne say they are talking to Frank Lampard, who is off contract at Chelsea in the summer . . . the tabloids say Arsenal are to sell Emmanuel Frimpong, but the Twitterholic says he's only going on loan . . . The Mirror reckons Manchester City plan to dive in for Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

Leon Osman, Carl Jenkinson, Steve Caulker, John Ruddy, Ryan Bertrand Forster and Tom Huddlestone are a combination of journeymen and promising premiership footballers, yet deemed good enough for an England call this week. Is it any wonder Roy Hodgson's side were humiliated 4-2 by Sweden?

But not to worry - premiership clubs can expect revenue from the sale of TV rights to exceed [PndStlg]5 billion 2013-2016.

On the move

Loan, Alberto Seidi Southampton-Aldershot, Daniel Seaborne Southampton-Charlton, Sam Mantom West Brom-Walsall.

Weekend fixtures

England, Arsenal v Spurs, Liverpool v Wigan, Man City v Villa, Newcastle v Swansea, QPR v Southampton, Reading v Everton, West Brom v Chelsea, Norwich v Man Utd. Sunday, Fulham v Sunderland. Monday, West Ham v Stoke. Scotland Aberdeen v Celtic, Dundee v Hibernian, Hearts v St Mirren, St Johnstone v Ross County. Sunday, Inverness v Motherwell.


Taranaki Daily News