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UPDATE: Beppe Sannino: 'You can't imagine the difference between the Championship and Serie B'
Beppe Sannino says the response of Watford’s fans has left him emotional and believes the Hornets supporters deserve to be in the Premier League.
The 56-year-old had spent the whole of his coaching career in Italy prior to his arrival in Hertfordshire in December.
He has often referred to the impressive support of English fans, highlighting that there is not the same devotion in Serie B, which is the Championship’s equivalent in Italy.
Sannino explained that around 200 or 300 fans would follow Varese to their away matches in Serie B whereas almost 1,800 Watford followers travelled to Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road on Monday.
“You can’t even imagine how different it is,” Sannino said. “The average is nearly 16,000 at Vicarage Road. When I started my job as coach at Varese [Italy’s League 2 equivalent] there were 2,000 or 3,000 people. When I finished my work at Varese there were 10,000 fans but that was the play-off semi-final (in Serie B, the same level as the Championship).
“In England I am impressed by how many people follow this league. Every time I speak with my colleagues and friends in Italy I say ‘you can’t even imagine how many supporters we have in the stadium’.
“Monday was fantastic; I was impressed by our supporters. For a football player or a manager it is fantastic, it’s very emotional.”
Sannino was the subject of a couple of chants by the Watford fans during the QPR game, with the most popular to the tune of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’.
The Hornets head coach was asked about the fans’ chants about him in his post-match press conference.
He replied: “I have to say sorry to the supporters because sometimes I can’t repay their singing because I am too focused on the match.
“Today the fans showed me that they deserve to be Premier League fans. The Championship is not good enough for them.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future but I will really try to gift the supporters Premier League football.”
Sannino has also been impressed by the quality of the Championship stadiums, as well as the fans.
He said: “At the end of my experience in Watford I would like to have a DVD of myself on the touchline in each stadium I managed at: Manchester City, QPR, Reading, Bolton, Leicester, Derby.
“If you showed this in Italy there would be a lot of people who would envy me.
“Everybody from Italy, when they see Watford matches, they say they are very impressed by how many people are there and about the set-up of the stadiums.”
More than 9,500 Watford supporters renewed their season tickets during the two-week Earlybird window, which shut on Saturday.
“In France you say chapeau; it means I take my hat off to you,” Sannino replied when he was told how many fans had renewed already.
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