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Page last updated at 07:34 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 08:34 UK

Watford survival plan keeps door open for Jimmy Russo


Watford chief executive Julian Winter has not ruled out a return to the club for former owner Jimmy Russo.

The club recently consolidated the club's debts to ensure the survival of the club, meaning Watford now have a year to find a new owner.

"Who am I to judge who would be the owner of the football club going forward in the longer term," Winter told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"It's down to the major shareholders to decide what the future looks like."

Winter added that the workings of their survival plan should enable the club to move forward next season.

"It is a form of a rights issue, it is raising equity," he said. "The bonds and the attachable warrants are in a sense share options, so the ability to exercise those warrants will then give a share holding in the company.

"What this does in reality is consolidate all of the clubs debt. It puts £10.1m, which is the whole of the clubs debt, in one place. It is time limited which in a sense makes it very clear to everybody that the major shareholder and the other shareholders all agree that new ownership of Watford is the long-term reality - 364 days to find a new owner is where we stand.

Winter continued: "It is about the board having a platform to operate from and to do it's utmost to find the right pair of hands for Watford for the longer term.

The board has got to be very active in securing a new owner for Watford in the next year

Julian Winter

"If we get to a position of 364 days and it hasn't come into fruition, I think everything is reviewable. We know we have got to get on and try and deliver. The board has got to be very active in securing a new owner for Watford in the next year."

Watford finished the Championship season in 16th place, but spent the last month perilously close to the relegation positions. And Winter insists that Championship football is a must for the club.

"I set about with the senior team writing a five-year plan for Watford which was prefaced with five years in the Championship," he said.

"To consolidate the football club, to be a consistent competitive championship club, that might flirt on the edge of the play-offs from time to time, will stay true to itself, will build it's own talent, will be true to it's community, so relegation would have been a big step backwards in that plan."

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