Ash Cash Will Be Used For Team Building - Simpson

Last updated : 28 January 2007 By Gary Holmes

Watford Chairman, Graham Simpson has spoken out to allay fears that funds received from the sale of Ashley Young will be used to complete the planned Stadium redevelopment.

Following the player's much publicised transfer earlier this week to Aston Villa for a fee of £8m, rising by a further £1.65m should certain targets be met, there has been plenty of conjecture on just how the funds would be allocated, given that the previous record fee the club received, £2.3m from Chelsea for Paul Furlong back in 1994, was used to help finance the building of the Rookery Stand.

However, Simpson has confirmed the money will be invested in the team and the infrastructure of the club.

"The money isn't going to be used to develop any stand.

We already have a three-year plan in place to develop this stadium, we have gone public on that long before the money for Ashley came in. We have already becoming self-sustaining as far as that is concerned.

We know we have got a chunk of money that will help develop the club on a larger scale. We are very, very ambitious in terms of where we want to take this club. A good part of this money will come back to Aidy to use as and when he needs it."

The £9.5m shortfall in the proposed £32.5m redevelopment of Vicarage Road will still be raised by "sensible", long-term bank loans or equity, while the £3.8m still owed to the directors will be repaid as was originally scheduled.

Simpson went on to add that he and the board will continue to financially support their manager's efforts to avoid relegation, but insisted they will not be held to ransom by other clubs trying to make a fast buck out of Watford's recently acquired wealth.

"I've made a couple of phone calls for Aidy for a couple of players since we have sold Ashley and the prices being quoted are ludicrous," he said.

"We've supported Aidy from day one and we will continue to do so. When we were still having financial problems last season we found money to get Marlon, we found money to buy Darius. But we are not going to pay over the odds and perhaps we have to let everything calm down."

Simpson concluded by explaining just how he and the board came to the decision to sell Young, after initially turning down bids of £7m for the player.

"We genuinely felt the lad was worth more than that".

However, when West Ham United upped their bid to £9.65m, a figure later matched by Aston Villa, Simpson felt the board had little choice but to reluctantly accept the offer.

"There were mixed emotions,

In one respect it was difficult as we believe we had a smashing player and a nice young man on our books.

But on the other hand it wasn't difficult to turn down, for two reasons really. We knew he was ready to move on and we believe it was a tremendous offer for the club.

"We can now use that money to take the club to the next level. As a business I believe we have made the right decision."