Date: 3rd October 2008 at 9:30am
Written by:

Watford chairman Graham Simpson has hit back at the criticism expressed with regard the finances at Vicarage Road, most recently by Elton John, by insisting “the maths is quite simple”.

The Hornets board have come under severe pressure from all quarters wanting answers to just where the ‘Watford windfall` from the Premiership season and a £20m transfer bounty from the key player sales has evaporated to!

But Simpson, who has made his desire to sell the club well known (despite being a lifelong fan), reckons there`s no case to answer to.

Speaking through a statement, he said “Had Sir Elton asked me about the finances of the club, and the money received from our recent player sales, I would have explained that the maths is quite simple.”

“Since we gained promotion the club will have committed over £48m on players wages and football costs, plus £18m on transfers, making a total of £66m”.

Simpson went on to add “We will have received nearly £44m from the Premier League plus £20m income from the total sales of Young, Bouazza, King, Henderson, Shittu and Ellington – This totals £64m”.

So IF (and many people will say that`s a very big ‘if`) Simpson`s calculations are fact then the Hornets have made a £2m loss despite promotion to the top flight in the past 3 seasons and do need “to cut their cloth accordingly”.

But there are bigger questions that need to be asked:

Why did the board agree to sign wage cheques to a quite unbelievable value of £48m?
Simpson states that “the playing squad`s wage bill [was] at somewhere near 3 times that of the original squad Aidy inherited in March 2005”?a squad that was scrapping for it`s life in a relegation dogfight and, Helguson apart, really not good enough for the Championship, it must be said!

It`s all well and good “backing a manager`s judgement” but why didn`t the more business minded members of the board take emotion out of the equation and say “Aidy, enough is enough”?

There`s no question that Aidy`s ambition would never have liked the shackles placed on him but then we`d never have signed duds like Jackson, Ellington nor Collins John who have added nothing to the Watford Way.

Ok, so we might paying the penalty for Aidy`s poor transfer record, the board`s inability to smell a ‘Leeds` situation developing and some awful decisions to let the costs spiral out of control but it does go to prove 1 thing?

A surprise promotion to the Premier League (on the back of a shoestring budget) has done the club no favours whatsoever.