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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Wilkins leaves Watford
Ray Wilkins and Gianluca Vialli
Wilkins (left) is a victim of cost-cutting
Watford have sacked Ray Wilkins after one season as assistant to manager Gianluca Vialli.

The former 45-year-old England international was number two at Vicarage Road but has been axed one year into a three-year contract in a bid to cut costs.

The club have admitted further redundancies are expected in their coaching staff.

"The exact details of how many other staff are involved and who they are will be announced in due course," said a statement on the club's website.

Watford face huge financial problems in the wake of ITV Digital's collapse and have had to put plans for a new stand on hold.

Vialli has been ordered to reduce the wage bill by cutting his squad but still has five high-earners on the transfer list, and his own position could be under threat.

"It is difficult for me to speak at this time," said Wilkins.

But Watford midfielder Gavin Mahon said that the former QPR manager had not been given enough time.

Watford's Gianluca Vialli and Ray Wilkins
Wilkins and Vialli in happier times

"I am very surprised and it is very sad. He signed a three-year contract to take us into the Premiership and he's only had one season to do it."

"It is strange because you would have thought that the coaching staff are very important and perhaps there are other areas where cuts can be made.

"It is a shame because all of the lads get on well with him and he is a very good coach. I don't know where this leaves Gianluca."

Mahon, who joined Watford last March from Brentford, added that the players had been sent letters by the Watford board detailing proposed wage cuts.

"I wasn't aware the club was in financial trouble when I came here so it's all news to me.

"There were a few clubs interested in me but one of the main reasons I joined was because of the financial backing here.

"I understand the club has to cut back and there are a lot of clubs in the same situation - everyone is struggling to survive."

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