Watford seal Vicarage Road deal
11:35am Friday 6th August 2004
WATFORD have bought back the freehold to their Vicarage Road ground.
Having secured a short-term loan to fund the buy-back of the freehold to the Vic, the board is now working on a long-term solution, which the chairman describes as "unique and exciting".
The £7.6m purchase of the freehold to Vicarage Road has been financed in the short term, thanks to Barclays Bank and the plc board, of which the new recruits, Jimmy and Vince Russo, are major contributors.
"It has not been easy but there was a date that kicked in when there was a penalty clause. That kind of money, with increased rent, probably represented just over half a million pounds," said chairman Graham Simpson.
"We had two years in which to sort things out. We have put in a short-term bridging loan, thanks in part to a great deal of help from Barclays Bank, but we have a strategy that is going to move us forward.
"We know what we have to do, but we have a bit more work to do on this particular project. This is only a short-term solution 12 months basically during which the plc board and the bank will loan the money. But no longer.
"We have to sort this out and it is right at the top of our list. It is the first step in a two-step scenario. I cannot tell you what we are going to do. It is a unique scenario and very exciting. We will announce that within the next two to three months."
Watford sold the ground for £6m, knowing it would cost them £7m if they were able to buy it back.
"It was a very expensive form of borrowing but we had no choice. I cannot say thank you enough to the Russo brothers, for their support for me as chairman and the club. They are Watford men now. Also Andrew Wilson, the other member of the plc board," Simpson added.