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BLIND, STUPID AND DESPERATE
 
Editorials:
360° blame
By Mike Scofield
 
Tim Shaw's statement on some of the issues surrounding the Vialli departure and the ITV Digital disaster will no doubt bring 360 degrees of blame from various parties. From, 'We always knew that Vialli was just going to spend his way to the lower half of Division One'...through, 'Jackett and Blissett would have spent half the money and done no worse a job than Vialli did'...to, 'The board should resign because they should have had 8m in their back pockets in case something unforeseen happened'.

Any kind of criticism of our board needs to be made with the Wimbledon situation in mind. Hopefully, everyone will be able to see that in the Wimbledon saga, and the current events at Vicarage Road, pretty much the same issues are being dealt with ( a business that can't support itself due to rising cost and falling income) in contrasting ways, by two contrasting boards of directors.

One board is not solely based in this country. Spent millions in trying to get control of what they hoped would be a Premiership 'Cash-cow'. Then realised that what they had bought was very tenuously held together, on the back of a shrewd manager whose health evaporated, along with the fortunes of their team.

The other board, mostly Watford supporters of old (Lissack, Meller, Shaw, etc) with a desire to make something of a mid-table Division One club (maybe even a mid-table Division Two club !), realised that any cash they 'invested' was in all probability a complete write-off. Football clubs never make any money. Individual people may get lucky and be able to sell their shares at a profit to someone with the desire to buy them, but as for getting the chance to turn Watford into some kind of South Eastern version of Man Utd...well, let's just say that if anyone did think that, they were a trifle misguided.

So. In the fullness of time, one club decides that its inability to be a self-supporting business is a direct result of its location and sees a move as the thing that will solve all its problems. I am not sure I agree with that, and I don't beleive that they will magically find 20,000 crowds in Milton Keynes either, but that is their problem (at least that's my view, I know others see it as something that Watford fans should involve themselves with).

But back to Watford. Its board finds itself unable to make ends meet because of a failed attempt to buy promotion (might have worked with a decent manager) and instead of attempting to blame everyone but themselves, seeks to reasonably and intelligently negotiate lower salaries from the players and management. This directly leads to the manager's salary itself becoming an issue and he is sacked as a cost-cutting measure.

Personally, I am pretty glad that the Watford board is seeking to reduce its high costs from 'within', rather than attempting some kind of solution based upon bringing in more 'non-Watford supporting' money men from Scandinavia, who know more about logging than football. I am really happy to hear that many players are agreeing to stay with it, and 'suspend' part of their contracted salaries while the ITV thing is resolved (or not).

It is this that causes me to urge those who are insulting the Board to accept that their actions are correct and that this does not signal some kind of downward spiral into oblivion, but a sensible, rational approach to resolving the problem that all Nationwide clubs face this close season.

As things stand, I am glad we have this board as opposed to one that is not mainly comprised of real suporters. At least they get to influence the non-Watford 'fans' around the table, and the events of the past twelve months will ensure their views are listened to.

(24/06/02)