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Watford owner Laurence Bassini to name new stand after Graham Taylor and also negotiating to clear club's debt
Laurence Bassini says he will name the new East Stand after Graham Taylor and claims he is in negotiations to clear Watford's debt.
The Hornets owner contacted this newspaper earlier this afternoon to state that he wanted to honour the club's most successful manager, who stood down as non-executive chairman yesterday, and subsequently revealed that he is in the "process of negotiating" to clear the club's overdraft facility and to pay off the bond holders and the matter is now "with the lawyers".
Although the decision to name the stand, when it is built, after Taylor will be popular with the majority of fans, it is the significant financial move that is of arguably greater importance in terms of the club's long-term future.
Bassini stated that, to date, £2.5m plus interest has been paid back to the three bond holders - Lord Ashcroft, director David Fransen and former chairman Graham Simpson - with a figure of around £7.5m still owing. He explained that if negotations are successful, this sum will be paid off and future interest payments waived. Furthermore, the owner is also working to clear the club's overdraft - a facility of £1m according to Bassini.
Fans have taken to the messageboards and social networking sites such as Twitter to pay a host of tributes to Taylor following his decision to step down and Bassini said: "He did so much for this club I am going to name the new stand after him. It will be called the Graham Taylor Stand because I think he deserves it."
The next phase in the redevelopment of Vicarage Road could begin shortly, with the owner also revealing that he would like to start work on the south-west corner as early as next week, as long as the relaying of the Vicarage Road pitch is at such a stage that workmen can gain access to the building.
This structure will accommodate new changing rooms and additional executive boxes, among other facilities, and is expected to take three to four months to complete.
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