Bassett bombshell

Dave Bassett

Dave Bassett

First published in Sport by

FORMER Watford manager Dave Bassett acted as a consultant to Aidy Boothroyd last season, the Watford Observer can reveal.

Bassett was employed by the Hornets at a reported cost of around £1,500 per week during their ill-fated Premiership campaign and was a regular at home and away matches last season.

Boothroyd met with Bassett on a weekly basis for up to an hour-and-a-half at Bassett's home in Denham, talking tactics and discussing the best way to try and keep Watford in the Premiership.

The Watford boss has made no secret of the way in which he picks other manager's brains and he has sought the advice of the likes of Alan Pardew, Paul Jewell, Sir Clive Woodward and Sir Alex Ferguson in the past.

Bassett was renowned for deploying a direct style of play during his time as a manager. Boothroyd came under fire from many fans for adopting the same tactics last season and tried to develop a more measured approach towards the end.

Bassett, 62, is not thought to have had any involvement in team selection but he is believed to have overseen atleast one training session at the club's London Colney training ground. Bassett was keen to keep a low profile following a disastrous half-a-season spell in charge of the Hornets in 1987/1988.

Appointed as the successor to Graham Taylor after six years at Wimbledon, Bassett was thought to be too quick to dismantle the side that had finished ninth in the league the previous season.

Crowd favourites such as Kevin Richardson, who went on to be a member of Arsenal's championship-winning side in 1989, David Bardsley, Lee Sinnott and Mark Falco were all sold as the Stanmore-born Bassett removed backroom staff and brought in his own men.

Watford started the 1987-88 season terribly and Bassett was eventually sacked in January 1988 when relegation to the Second Division looked certain.

Bassett was back in employment just days after leaving Vicarage Road, taking over at Sheffield United but failing to prevent the Blades from sliding in the Third Division.

However, he then turned things around, enjoying back-to-back promotions and steering the Blades to the top tier of English football for the irst time since the 1970's.

United finished in 13th place and an impressive ninth in the next two seasons and took their place in the newly-formed Premier League.

Following a 14th-place finish and a run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1993, Bassett's reign at Bramall Lane finally ended on the last day of the 1993-94 season when they lost 3-2 at Chelsea and were relegated.

An eighth-place finish in the 1994-95 Division One campaign was not enough to land them a play-off place and Bassett resigned the following December.

Bassett went on to reach the Play-off finals with Crystal Palace but was unable to prevent Nottingham Forest from being relegated in 1997. He brought the Division One championship crown to the City Ground in 1998 but was sacked again in October of that year. Forest have remained outside the Premiership ever since.

The former Hornets boss then enjoyed a mixed spell at Barnsley between May 1999 and December 2000 and was then in charge at Filbert Street as Leicester dropped out of the top flight for the first time in six years in 2002.

Bassett briefly became director of football at the club but took over as manager again in October 2004 after Micky Adams resigned.

His next job took him to Southampton where he assisted Harry Redknapp and he then became caretaker manager, along with Dennis Wise, once Redknapp moved across the south coast to Portsmouth.

He eventually left the club in 2005 after George Burley was appointed full-time manager.

A Watford spokesman said: "Dave Bassett is a long-standing friend of Aidy Boothroyd's and was simply invited to attend Watford's games on occasion last season for his thoughts."

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