Watford part ways with manager Katie Rowson

Rowson has stepped down from her role with the Golden Girls

Watford part ways with manager Katie Rowson
Rowson managed to guide Watford to two wins and one draw from 11 league matches (credit: Christopher Lee/Getty)

Watford have announced the departure of first team boss, Katie Rowson after just six months in charge.

Following the departure of John Salomon last October, the Golden Girls appointed Rowson in February. Despite a rocky start to life in the FAWSL, Rowson was finally starting to get the best out of a Watford side that had struggled in WSL 2 since the leagues’ inception.

Things looking up in Berkhamsted

After one picking up one point from their first seven matches of the season, Watford took to the pitch after the restart like a team possessed.

Their first match after the break, an impressive 2-1 win over promotion hopefuls Everton, was followed by a heavy loss at Huish Park to table-toppers Yeovil Town. But not to get bogged down, the Lady Hornets staged a magnificent second-half comeback at home a week later to turn a 0-2 loss into a 3-2 win against Oxford United.

Although lacking consistency in results, a mental shift had clearly taken place and the Golden Girls were finally finding their feet in the league, brimming with confidence. The team had strong foundations to keep building on as they geared up for their last seven matches of the season.

When VAVEL spoke to Rowson after the Everton win, she was full of praise for everyone at the club and thrilled that all the pieces were finally falling into place for Watford after a lot of hard work over the break. With the future looking bright for the Golden Girls, it comes as shock that Rowson has handed in her resignation (with immediate effect). Although the reasons for her departure have not been released, Watford have expressed their gratitude towards the Lincoln native.

All change in WSL

Rowson is the fourth manager to leave their role so far this year.

She follows on from: Mick Mulhern, who left Sheffield before he’d even presided over a league match; Glen Harris, who parted ways with the Doncaster Belles during the break; and, most recently, Rebecca Sawiuk, who left her role at Milwall LionessesSawiuk, like Rowson and Mulhern, had been appointed during the end of the 2015 and start of the 2016 seasons. 

Neither Rowson or Sawiuk lasted longer than six months at their respective clubs (credit: Watford Ladies)
Neither Rowson or Sawiuk lasted longer than six months at their respective clubs (credit: Watford Ladies)

The reasons for each departure differ in each case, with some managers asked to leave and others feeling that the role was no longer right for them.

With just a 16 and 18 match season for WSL 1 and WSL 2 respectively, as well as a number of interruptions throughout, it can be tricky to fully gauge whether or not progress is being made in the league. Rowson, Harris and Sawiuk all had a job on their hands at the start of the year, the Belles having to acclimatise to life back in the top flight and Watford and Millwall both looking to stability with relegation looming next year.

It’s hard to say whether Mulhern would have been as successful in Dronfield as Zoe Johnson is, but Sheffield appointed from within before the season fully took hold - the Belles similarly looked to Harris’s bench for a suitable replacement. Although the Belles are still searching for their first point of the year, they’ve looked much more stable under new boss Emma Coates. Lee Burch is the latest new face in WSL 2, having taken the vacant role at the Den just before the Lionesses hosted Bristol City and only time will tell as to whether he can guide Millwall to a strong finish.

As it stands Watford have not made their intentions regarding Rowson’s replacement known.