Forest Green chairman Dale Vince revealed Rob Edwards offered a personal apology after joining Watford.
Vince was left perplexed by a sequence of events, admitting he had called Edwards on Tuesday evening as speculation gathered momentum.
Vince said: “I was more than confident it was just speculation because we’d not heard anything from Watford, which would be the proper way to go about it and second and more importantly Rob had said nothing to me. As soon as he started speaking I knew the rumours were true. Turns out the negotiations had been going on for sometime. I asked why he hadn’t told me and he said Watford and his own agent advised him not to – which is poor from them.
“Poor from Rob too and he knows it. My overwhelming feeling was disappointment, I told him that. I thought I knew him better, than it turns out I did. It’s not like players and coaches don’t come and go in football, it’s normal – it’s how it happens that matters. As in this instance – it’s not the fact that Rob is leaving, but the manner of it – the deceit.
“Behaviour like this is what gives football a bad name. Recently relegated Watford clearly have issues off the pitch as well as on it – because deceit is part of a culture and that comes from the top. But hey ho – Rob was a key part of the team here that achieved promotion and the title – we thank him for his part in that, forgive him the manner of his leaving and wish him well.
“And if there is Karma in football then we’ll meet Watford in the Championship in a few years’ time.”
“Watford Football Club is delighted to confirm the appointment of Rob Edwards as its new head coach, effective after the conclusion of the current 2021/22 season,” a statement from Watford read.
“Rob had a contractual provision allowing him to leave Forest Green Rovers at any time to discuss employment opportunities at other clubs and the Hornets are delighted to confirm our discussions concluded today.”
Shortly after the announcement, Vince responded: “Plenty of people on social saying Rob’s contract runs out at the end of May this year – as if that excuses something done in early May, while the contract was valid.
“Most importantly, the contract didn’t run out until May 2024. What say you now?”