CHIEF EXECUTIVE Tim Shaw and the board of directors have come under fire from some Watford fans following Luca Vialli's sacking on Friday, June 14.

In the wake of the manager's dimissal, we asked supporters to email their views on the Hornets' crisis.

Neil Stevenson, of Braintree, Essex, launched one of the more outspoken attacks on the Watford board, and wrote: "Just brilliant! Sack a manager, pay him and some of his staff off, then get rid of some over-paid players by paying off their contracts (oh, by the way, the club has no money before they start this little exercise), then try appointing a new man, with yet another contract. Let him bring in his own staff and start again in the pathetic attempt to reach the Premiership.

"If that does not work, Mr Shaw and his fellow board members will clear off and leave the club in financial ruin."

Another who points the finger of blame firmly at the boardroom door is Andrew Head of Watford.

"Just a month after chief executive Tim Shaw rubbished reports that Watford were in deep trouble following the collapse of ITV Digital, he now puts the blame for the Vialli disaster firmly in the failed TV companies' court. Why such a dramatic change in the story?," he asks.

"I suspect Watford's board put together a hopelessly unrealistic plan (remember last year's jibe by Elton John that Graham Taylor had been too cautious in previous years) to follow the Fulham model in a bid for Premiership status.

"Events prove that the board have neither the financial clout, and, in Vialli, not a manager capable of following the Fulham example."

Andrew would like to see Steve Coppell or Peter Taylor brought in as Vialli's replacement, but fellow Watford resident Peter Hodgins favours turning to one of the Hornets' favourtite sons, Kenny Jackett, because he "has bags of potential and did a good job in difficult circumstances before".

Peter is also a critic of the board, but he believes the directors acted too hastily.

"They appointed the wrong man to run our club, and then rather than give him the time to turn things around himself, they have promptly done what they said they wouldn't do," he contended.

"We saw before that it is a huge task replacing Graham Taylor, but, after giving Vialli so much money to spend, he should have been given more time to get it right.

"Sacking him makes the money we have spent even more of a waste, as a new manager will have completely different ideas, and, maybe, will not want to work with what Vialli has started."

At the other end of the spectrum of views, Mark Garrett, of Harrow, believes fans should be grateful that the board has acted decisively.

"I don't believe the crisis is as bad as it would have been by October had we retained Luca and his various assistants," wrote Mark.

"With the additional departure of Ramon Vega, I respect the board for their recent actions, and think that they have acted positively and swiftly, allowing us a reasonable amount of time to get things sorted out for pre-season."

There are other supporters, though, who feel the current crisis offers the opportunity for the Hornets to be build for the future, with everyone pulling together.

"Now is the time to put the heart back in Watford FC," said Simon Conway, of Harrow, who believes the Hornets should approach Rushden & Diamonds' Brian Talbot about the vacant manager's postion.

"Let's install a down to earth manager who can get the players and fans pulling in the right direction."

Richard Steeden, from Whitley, Wiltshire, favours Coppell, and said: "What is essential is some stability in the boardroom, and a manager with a track record of organising, motivating and cajoling performances from sides built with threadbare resources."

Hemel Hempstead resident Mark Humphrey thinks the troubles may make Watford think again about their true position on the footballing ladder.

"It is a real shame to lose high-profile personnel such as Elton, Ray and Luca, but it just underlines the fact that we are a smaller club, and need to live within our means," he wrote.

"It was fantastic to watch Premiership action at Vicarage Road two years ago, but it was blatantly obvious we were out of our depth.

"Let's settle for a more gradual expansion, in line with our resources, and hopefully enjoy some good football from our youth players along the way."

Iain Jordan, from Redditch, in Worcestershire, also calls for the ship to be steadied, and for the club to be as open as possible with the fans because "not knowing fuels speculation which will only deepen our current plight."

However, he concludes: "Whatever happens, the board of directors, the players and us, the fans, must start the season with optimism or else the season will be over earlier than last.

"I am sure we do have the players to have a successful season, it will just take a lot of work."

June 21, 2002 12:30