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