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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 16:28 UK

Elton fears for Watford's future

Elton John
Elton John maintains a financial interest at Vicarage Road

Elton John has criticised Watford's board of directors for wanting to sell the club and warns they could be heading for "catastrophe".

The former club chairman and director is concerned the Hornets have not re-invested money from Premier League parachute payments and player sales.

He said: "We know from other clubs that when stability and confidence go there is danger of plummeting into freefall.

"I fear we could be facing that catastrophe," he added.

However, current chairman Graham Simpson told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm really sorry that Elton felt he couldn't pick up the phone and have a chat with me because I've got no idea where he's got this information from. He certainly hasn't got it from anybody in our club.

"The only person I know he speaks to sometimes is our manager Aidy and I'll have to ask if he's had a chat with him. As far as we're concerned it's not the case."

606: DEBATE
StainesHornet

John bought the club in 1976 and sold it in 1987, only to buy it back a decade later before stepping down again in 2002.

And he added: "The chairman and leading shareholders have made it clear they wish to sell the club and this comes after a profit of nearly 8m last year.

"What has happened to the money from the sale of some of our best players and the parachute payments?"

Watford sold Ashley Young and Marlon King for a combined fee of 12m but so far manager Aidy Boothroyd has not been able to spend the money.

I want to make sure our club is in a good, safe position, even if we have to be prudent

Watford chairman Graham Simpson

And the singer continued: "The manager and the players have my full support.

"But it is clear that the playing staff has been left threadbare after the sale of leading players over the last year or so, and even now I understand that there are plans for further player sales in January.

"Confidence must be brought back to the playing staff and a real sense that there is a future at the club. If the directors do not have that optimism they should go."

But Simpson countered: "We had a punt to get back to the Premiership last year and we weren't successful.

"Like all clubs, parachute money isn't going to last forever, we've only got one more year left and we have to cut our costs accordingly and that's what we'll do.

"I've been here six years and when I joined we were on the point of administration. The club is in a great position now and the future's rosy. I want to make sure our club is in a good, safe position, even if we have to be prudent.

"If I could find somebody with more money in their pockets than I have I would be more than a delighted to stand down as chairman and make way for them."




see also
Watford sign two players on loan
30 Sep 08 |  Watford


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