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02/03: Review:
"Crunch time"
By Martin Patching
First published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 21/11/02

It's crunch time for Watford PLC as they aim to raise 3 million from fans and new investors to help the club in its long term development plan. Existing directors and investors are set to inject 5.95 million into the coffers via the share issue.

"The huge cash injection by existing directors shows not just our commitment, but the fact that we believe there is a positive future for the club," said Watford's new chairman Graham Simpson. Graham went on to point out the aim of the "Save Our Club" campaign was to raise in excess of 9.5 million. "It's that stark and simple," he pointed out.

The closing date for share purchase is Wednesday December 11th. The minimum investment level is set at 100.00, with single shares valued at 0.15p.

I understand the Watford board support the recently formed "Supporters Trust" and a seat awaits the elected member from the trust fund once amassing 5,000 members and 500,000 worth of shares in the forthcoming issue ("sign up now" is the message from the Trust Fund!). In point of fact, the club are not too concerned where fans elect to invest, as long as they invest somewhere! For those with smaller budgets, the Supporters Trust Fund allows you to join for a 15.00 fee. For the bigger investor, the club will provide many benefits at the higher levels.

For further information, Watford PLC have a designated line for information regarding the prospectus: 01923 496375. Additionally, you can e-mail or download it from the official club website at Alternatively, you may wish to join the trust fund at (at this point in the column, I must point out that "football is a funny old game" and investments should be treated In response to the club's share announcement, the Supporters Trust Fund are holding a meeting at: The Met Police Club, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Watford at 7.30pm, on the 28th November. All members and potential members are encouraged to attend. The policy of The Trust Fund will be determind, by way of ballot, on the night. I read somewhere, or maybe heard, that "a tenner from the fans who were at the playoff final" would help somewhat (30,000 fans, plus). I am not sure if Gianluca Vialli, Vega, Issa, Okon (remember him?)and Blondeau were there, so thats 50.00 missing by my reckoning already! Still, there's hope!

The Hornets' unbeaten home record came to an end against Ipswich Town. Watfords manager Ray Lewington said "I think we were beaten by the best side in the division". Ray stressed that he did not feel his side played badly - they have, and can, play better, more to the point.

I will go along with Ray on Ipswich, they did look the best Division One team, including Portsmouth, I have seen this term. The big guns are finding their form and Town will improve sufficently to be in the playoffs. Nottingham Forest and Wolves are firing and posing a threat to early pace setters Leicester and Norwich. They all have to catch Pompey, "Harry's Men" having opened up a gap.

For Watford? An important month, on and off the field. I feel this may be the "sticky patch". Tricky away games at Reading and Derby and a home game against Burnley sandwiched, before the Hornets face Ipswich again on December 14th. Watford will need 8 points at least from the four fixtures to stay in touch. A tall order, but not out of the players' reach, if given the rub of the green.

Jermaine Pennant has been loaned again from Arsenal (3 months). A promising talent and proof that if needed, the board will sanction wages. Pennant slightly disappointed against Ipswich in his eagerness, getting caught off-side on several occasions. However, he will be an asset, but the obvious danger of loaning players from high profile clubs is that should they start on the bench, or need to be substituted due to an off day, Fergie or Arsene will be on the phone! Dominic Foley was the unlucky one here. Foley is not a favourite with the home fans. However, the striker gave a fine display against Rotherham, not the first one of its kind this season, and equalised with a fine header. I do fail to see how managers/coaches can leave out strikers who have scored in their previous game.


In the charts:
I Dont Want to Dance by Eddie Grant (for the second week)

Football League Division One
Spurs 0 Watford 1
Sherwood,Rice, Bolton, Sims, Rostron, Callaghan, Taylor, Jackett, Barnes, Blissett, Jenkins.
Scorer:Les Taylor.

Reproduced courtesy of Gazette Newspapers