Last orders as Watford FC fans' pub, The Yellow and Red Lion, set to close

Watford Observer: Josh Price: 'I have tried my hardest'. Josh Price: 'I have tried my hardest'.

Links with former Watford FC owner Laurence Bassini and problems with the police mean a Hornets fans’ pub could open its doors for the final time this weekend.

The landlord of the Yellow and Red Lion, Josh Price, said Sunday’s home game against Brighton & Hove Albion FC will be the last as fans had not "backed it with their feet" because it is owned by the Stanmore businessman.

He also said the pub, in Vicarage Road, was becoming difficult to run because of the scrutiny it was receiving from the police.

However Mr Price said he was open to keeping it open if buying it off Mr Bassini would encourage more fans to come through its doors.

Speaking to the Watford Observer, Mr Price said: "The supporters have made an issue of the fact this is Laurence’s pub.

"We have an agreement to buy the pub off of Laurence as people have said ‘if it is your pub we’ll come in’. At the end of the day I have tried my hardest.

Watford Observer: LB.

"But they have not backed it with their feet. If people want it to be the supporters’ pub, we believe it can be. But not if they are going to keep going on about Laurence."

The pub, which had been vacant for a number of years, was reopened in 2012 during Mr Bassini’s reign at Watford. Mr Bassini then retained the freehold on the pub after selling the club to the Pozzo family later that year.

Mr Price said he felt the pub could have a future as a successful venue if it found a way to win over more fans.

He said: "At this moment as it stands, Sunday is the last day. If the supporters want to vote with their feet and say they don’t want this to go and we want this as a supporters’ pub then fantastic. Then we will look at it.

"But then people may say they don’t want to go there as it gave Laurence half a million."

Since it opened, the pub has also fallen foul of Hertfordshire Constabulary and last year officers applied for it to be stripped of its licence.

As a result Watford Borough Council imposed a six-week licence suspension on the pub in October for breaches of its licence.

The pub had appealed the suspension. However at the time Mr Price complained the Yellow and Red Lion was being treated more severely than other pubs in the town due to its proximity to the stadium.

This week Mr Price said he had continued to have problems with the police and Watford Borough Council after the October licence hearing, which was making it hard to run the business.

He added: "I don’t know any other business or any other pub that gets the grief we do. If we are going to be treated differently because of where we are and who we are then we are going to act differently."

Comments (8)

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9:16am Fri 31 Jan 14

Holywell says...

Nothing to do with rubbish beer and slow service then??
Nothing to do with rubbish beer and slow service then?? Holywell

9:33am Fri 31 Jan 14

yellowarmy23 says...

Yes, people are avoiding it due to it being owned by fat bas, but what do you expect?! The guy almost destroyed our club and most of us don't want to put more money in his pockets when he took so much from us. He has no remorse. But of course, that is not the only reason for people avoiding it. Take in to account the fact that as said above, the beer is vile and often tastes like sewage water and your paying over the odds for the privalege. Then there is the poor and slow service regularly received. It is no longer teething issues, but an epidemic.

However I do feel that people stay away as well due to the influence of a certain Mr A Palmer, a hypocrit and someone who doesn't like people disagreeing with him. He and his arrogance are not liked by most fans, but with the pub comes him and his equally obnoxious son.

Come on Josh you can sort it out, but first you need to get rid of the problems, don't blame people for not supporting it properly. You wouldn't send your child to a school where the teachers are clueless afterall would you?!
Yes, people are avoiding it due to it being owned by fat bas, but what do you expect?! The guy almost destroyed our club and most of us don't want to put more money in his pockets when he took so much from us. He has no remorse. But of course, that is not the only reason for people avoiding it. Take in to account the fact that as said above, the beer is vile and often tastes like sewage water and your paying over the odds for the privalege. Then there is the poor and slow service regularly received. It is no longer teething issues, but an epidemic. However I do feel that people stay away as well due to the influence of a certain Mr A Palmer, a hypocrit and someone who doesn't like people disagreeing with him. He and his arrogance are not liked by most fans, but with the pub comes him and his equally obnoxious son. Come on Josh you can sort it out, but first you need to get rid of the problems, don't blame people for not supporting it properly. You wouldn't send your child to a school where the teachers are clueless afterall would you?! yellowarmy23

9:51am Fri 31 Jan 14

badger1010 says...

Everytime I've tried to use the pub on a matchday the staff have been so slow, people still hang around the bar after being served and it results in a 10-minute wait for a drink. It's far easier to just go into the ground and get a pint there.
They can blame the Bas connection as much as they want but the truth is that in all the time they've been open they've not got themselves organised and worked in a manner that would accommodate Watford fans on a matchday. I bet the away fans don't have to wait as long in the Oddfellows?
Everytime I've tried to use the pub on a matchday the staff have been so slow, people still hang around the bar after being served and it results in a 10-minute wait for a drink. It's far easier to just go into the ground and get a pint there. They can blame the Bas connection as much as they want but the truth is that in all the time they've been open they've not got themselves organised and worked in a manner that would accommodate Watford fans on a matchday. I bet the away fans don't have to wait as long in the Oddfellows? badger1010

11:01am Fri 31 Jan 14

not a regular says...

Agree fully with the above. What happened to the Red Squirrel beers that were originally on there? The pub should be working with more local breweries in order to serve cheaper (or rather “better value”) pints. I’ve read rumours of non-payment on here.

So many poor decisions have been made. The décor is terrible, it’s like being in a Sunday league club house. A DJ that clearly isn’t in favour proven by the fact that the only free space on match days is next to him. Queues that take longer to get the beer than to actually drink it due to slow staff.

If it was a pleasant place to be then enough people would overlook the Bassini factor. I usually go in there most match days and then walk straight back out on account of the queues, music and one option of lager.

Stick a couple of screens showing the morning / evening kick offs and you might get a few more people in there as well. It says it all that people would rather drink in a cold concrete stadium or walk from the town centre instead of visiting something a few metres away.
Agree fully with the above. What happened to the Red Squirrel beers that were originally on there? The pub should be working with more local breweries in order to serve cheaper (or rather “better value”) pints. I’ve read rumours of non-payment on here. So many poor decisions have been made. The décor is terrible, it’s like being in a Sunday league club house. A DJ that clearly isn’t in favour proven by the fact that the only free space on match days is next to him. Queues that take longer to get the beer than to actually drink it due to slow staff. If it was a pleasant place to be then enough people would overlook the Bassini factor. I usually go in there most match days and then walk straight back out on account of the queues, music and one option of lager. Stick a couple of screens showing the morning / evening kick offs and you might get a few more people in there as well. It says it all that people would rather drink in a cold concrete stadium or walk from the town centre instead of visiting something a few metres away. not a regular

11:28am Fri 31 Jan 14

Holywell says...

Can I have the Rookery clock please??? I lost my watch yesterday.
Can I have the Rookery clock please??? I lost my watch yesterday. Holywell

12:34pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Andrew1963 says...

Agree with above, I would rather use the Moon in the High Street, better service, bgetter value, better atmosphere
Agree with above, I would rather use the Moon in the High Street, better service, bgetter value, better atmosphere Andrew1963

3:49pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Hairy Hornet says...

Stopped going because of the service. Get served straight away by friendly bar-staff in the Odds. Have queued in the garden of the Red Lion for ages and then the lager ran out.

Brilliant atmos end of last season tho, great when the sun shines, in the garden, music on and getting served quickly.
Stopped going because of the service. Get served straight away by friendly bar-staff in the Odds. Have queued in the garden of the Red Lion for ages and then the lager ran out. Brilliant atmos end of last season tho, great when the sun shines, in the garden, music on and getting served quickly. Hairy Hornet

10:47am Sat 1 Feb 14

hornetwise says...

OMG just close it and use it as a proper well stocked club shop.... I am sure that if a club shop was kitted out with all the merchandise it can handle with all sizes avaliable it would bring in better profit than this pub has ever done.....
OMG just close it and use it as a proper well stocked club shop.... I am sure that if a club shop was kitted out with all the merchandise it can handle with all sizes avaliable it would bring in better profit than this pub has ever done..... hornetwise

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