Forest Green Rovers head coach Rob Edwards has left the club to join Watford.

The former Welsh international guided Rovers to the League Two title in his first season in charge, but has quit the club in favour of the Hornets - who have just been relegated to the Championship.

The manner of Edward's departure has caused considerable anger.

"Rob was a key part of the team that gained promotion to League One this season," the club statement said.

"We’re disappointed that our support, loyalty and honesty towards Rob has been repaid in this way - with negotiations taking place behind our backs.

"We had no contact from Watford, from whom we might expect less, but in any event this kind of behaviour gives football a bad name.

"We thank Rob for all his work at FGR - forgive him the manner of his departure and wish him well."

A statement released by Watford said Edwards had a contractual provision allowing him to leave Forest Green Rovers at any time to discuss employment opportunities at other clubs.

Nevertheless, Forest Green chairman Dale Vince was left less than impressed by the developments and revealed he had called Edwards on Tuesday evening as speculation mounted.

“As soon as he started speaking, I knew that it was real,” Vince told Sky Sports News.

“(He told me) that he had been in negotiations (with Watford) and felt it was a great opportunity for him.

“Overwhelmingly for me the feeling was disappointment, because in football people come and go all of the time. The important thing is the manner of it.

“I wish him well, but it is poor from Watford, who claim to be starting a new era, and it is poor from Rob as well.

“He has let us down, but he knows it, so there it is, and we will move on.”

Vince stressed Rovers should have been approached by Watford initially, so negotiations could commence in the proper manner.

“Watford advised Rob not to tell us specifically, so for me that doubles down on the deceit,” Vince told Sky Sports News.

“It is the kind of thing which gives football a bad name and the kind of thing which shouldn’t happen but occasionally does.

“I believe Watford have reached out today, so now there will be some more formal, more proper process to end Rob’s time here and for it to start at Watford.”

Rovers will now begin their own search to replace Edwards, who took over at the club during the summer of 2021.

“We have got a shortlist already and will just crack on with it,” Vince said.

“We will find another up and coming young coach who has got all the attributes we looked for in Rob and will go again. We just move on.

“It is hard not to let it take the shine off us what has happened, promotion and winning the title, but it won’t get in the way of what we do in the future because we will carry on operating in the way we do – open and honest with everybody.”

Vince added: “I think everything will be fine – and if there is karma in football, we will meet Watford in the Championship in a few years’ time.”