Watford Football club’s war of words with Sir Elton John

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The Chairman of Watford Football Club has hit back at gay star Sir Elton John after he criticised the club for selling some of its best players for £21 million.

Sir Elton, who is the club’s Life President said earlier in the week: “We know from other clubs that when stability and confidence go then there is a danger of plummeting into freefall. I fear we could be facing that catastrophe.”

Graham Simpson in a statement said that he was disappointed at the comments made by Sir Elton: “We were all very disappointed at Watford to read Sir Elton’s John’s comments about the club at this time, and I would have hoped that he would have spoken to me first to voice his concerns, and I could then have put his mind at rest.
“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.
“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.
“We have broken the club’s record transfer fee, whilst keeping the playing squad’s wage bill at somewhere near three times that of the original squad Aidy inherited in March 2005.

“During the autumn of 2007, the Board backed Aidy’s judgement and threw its support behind his team building plans.This was always on the understanding, and minuted with everyone present, that if we were not successful we would cut our cloth accordingly. This is exactly what we are doing now. We will continue to manage the Club in a responsible manner whilst exploring new avenues for fresh investment. We have made no secret of our desire to sell Watford Football Club.

“In the meantime, we would like to reassure all our supporters yet again that the club remains financially stable and there is absolutely no danger of a ‘catastrophe’.”

In a statement, Sir Elton said: “As a lifelong fan and former chairman of Watford, I feel I must now express my deep dismay about what is happening at the club. First, I should make it clear that the manager [Adrian Boothroyd] and the players have my full support. However, 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 still plans for further player sales in January.

“The chairman [Graham Simpson] and leading shareholders have made it clear that they wish to sell the club and this comes despite a profit of nearly £8 million having been made last year. We know from other clubs that when stability and confidence go then there is a danger of plummeting into freefall. I fear we could be facing that catastrophe.

“Voices other than my own have already asked the question of what has happened to the money from the sale of some of our best players and the parachute payments. Confidence must be brought back to the playing staff and a sense that there is a future at the club. If the directors do not have that optimism, then they should go.”