Meet Javi Gracia, Watford's New Head Coach and 10th Manager in Six Years

Javi Gracia is Watford's 10th manager in the six years since the Pozzo family bought the club. He was appointed just hours after Marco Silva was sacked on Sunday (January 21).

Having been linked with the manager's job at Everton, Silva's record at Watford began to decline sharply, with the Hornets losing seven of their last 10 games. Time was up for Silva and the guillotine has fell once again at Vicarage Road.

So onto the next man: Javi Gracia. The Spaniard inherits a team that, despite recent poor form, is 10th in the Premier League table—but still only four points off Southampton and the relegation zone.

Gracia is fairly unknown in English football, so who is the new man at Vicarage Road? A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Gracia remained in Spain for the entirety of his career, beginning at Athletic Bilbao in 1989 and retiring with Cordoba in 2004.

He played in the top tier of Spanish football for various clubs including Villarreal, but it was Real Sociedad he represented most in his career, making 106 appearances. He featured for the Under-21 and Under-20 Spanish teams but never won a cap for the senior squad.

After retiring in 2004, he returned to Villarreal to enter into a career of coaching. In the last 14 years, he has had 11 different jobs. The majority of these were in Spain, with his best achievement taking Malaga to consecutive top-ten finishes in La Liga, but Gracia has also worked in Greece, and his last job was at Rubin Kazan in Russia.

Javi Gracia
Javi Gracia at the Tsentralny Stadium, Kazan, Russia, August 1, 2016. Gracia has been appointed as the new head coach of Watford. Epsilon/Getty

Gracia, 47, left Rubin Kazan in June last year and was out of work until Sunday, when it was confirmed that he had signed an 18-month contract at Vicarage Road. He says low confidence is the biggest issue at Watford.

"The team has played some good matches this season and I think they can do it again," he told the club's official website.

"It's not easy arriving in the middle of the season, but you must be ready and I am grateful and have plenty of energy to win the rest of the matches.

"It is a big challenge, but it is also a dream."

Watford and Gracia may prove to be a match given recent history. In his 14 years as a coach, the Spaniard has never lasted longer than two years at a club, while Watford haven't had a manager for more than two years since Aidy Boothroyd, who was in the post for three years and nine months before being shown the door in 2008.

Gracia's first task as head coach will be to guide Watford through to the fifth round of the FA Cup, as the Hornets travel to the south coast on Saturday to face Southampton.