Rather than his usual rant, Mr Bodell gets his proverbial knickers in a twist this week about the ownership of the club
This week I want to write about something that hasn`t bought more panic and alarm bells from Watford fans. Of course, for those that do not by ‘The Watford Observer`, it is understandable, but for the large amount that I imagine does, I`m surprise how little it has registered.
I am of course referring to the revelation that Graham Simpson would consider selling up. I suppose, if I`m 110% honest with myself, then I know that Simpson isn`t going to sell the club to any old cowboy, but still I`m worried.
After one of my early ‘Midweek Memoirs`, on Foreign Investment, I think you can see exactly what worries me.
Now obviously, as I said, Simpson isn`t going to sell the club to any old cowboy, but with the amount of foreigners wanting to get into the game of owning English clubs, I have to say I am worried. Obviously, there are clubs that are more attractive to buy than us; big clubs like Tottenham who still have English owners.
We have the potential though to go on and do greater things. To back this up, look at the finances at the moment. There are no longer the huge amounts of debt to take on for any new owner. The club has a bright, young manager. Good playing staff and the scope for future with the plans to develop the stadium starting at long last.
Therefore, to me at least, it makes sense that a foreign investor would be interested in buying Watford.
It`s never going to be a rushed decision from Graham and the board to sell the club, because at the end of the day, it`s something close to his heart, especially after all the highs and lows he`s been through in the last five years. He certainly won`t want the club returning to the dark old days of when he took over.
At the end of the day though, it makes sense for this [probable] Scandinavian Tycoon to get in now, when the clubs stock is not at it`s highest, if you wait until next year, when you could [potentially] be a Premiership club, you will have to pay more.
I suppose my real issue with the whole ownership of football clubs is that the owners are all to frequently bad for the club. Look at Abramovich. In the short-term, superb. In the long term, if he gets bored, sells-up and returns to his homeland, the club is left with crippling debts which the new owner will either have to take on, or arrange a loan or some other means of ridding the club of it.
On top of this though, even if the new owner does come in and pump in hundreds of millions of his own money, it is still worrying for me, as Simpson knows his boundaries. Although I`m sure he is very knowledgeable about football, and certainly shows his passion for the club week in, week out.
On the other hand, you have interfering chairman, Abramovich [again!], owners like this are certainly not good news for the club and this is another worry for me. If a chairman with a bigger personality than Aidy comes it, the effect can ONLY be detrimental. If this in turn forces out Aidy, then the fans will [obviously] and instantly turn against him.
We`re at the present time in an enviable situation. Firstly because of the reasons I cited above, but also because of our chairman. Look at clubs like Cardiff, who wanted their chairman out, clubs like Southampton, who demonstrate against their owner. Is that what we want? Obviously not, no football fan does, but increasingly these days chairman go into football club ownership with big plans and ideas that they cannot pull off and are consequently very unpopular which affects events on the field.
Maybe, hopefully in fact I`m making a mountain out of a molehill here. Simpson will not sell the club on the basis of it being in his best interests, but in the best interests of the club-so why am I worrying? Being a Watford fan has made me so unfortunately!
To quote Dr Watford, I hope we can remain in the realms of being a ‘proper/meat and potato pie club` ourselves a bit like Scunthorpe. As I have said before, the last thing I want is to see the club being ‘supported` because of its league status?
Keep the faith,