ONE of Taylor's last acts was to give a free transfer to four players a move announced late last Thursday.

The Watford boss detailed the reasoning behind the four decisions.

Explained Taylor: "With Alex Bonnot, the amazing thing is that, for whatever reason, we could not get him fit. Alex was with us since November 1998, yet between signing him and the end of this season, he has had 15 different types of injuries.

"A pleasant man, he would come back and train, and then play. You would watch him and say, 'He's going to be knocking on the door of the first team'. This season he has played five reserve team games. It doesn't matter how good a player or person you are, if you can't get fit...

"He finished last season well, and played against Coventry in the final Premiership game. He's a naturally fit fellow, or so he appeared, but there was always something. Everybody got on well with Alex."

The Watford boss was particularly disappointed with the injuries sustained by young David Warner.

"David, like Lee Cook, was coming on fine, having to learn about doing it for a living as opposed to doing it as a game. That is a very different experience," he said.

"David was looking quick, sharp and fit but sustained a knee injury at home, bending down to put a video in his video machine. He has had three operations and two reports on his condition. Both of them have come to the same opinion that his knee is unlikely to withstand consistent training and playing of pro' football. He needs a lengthy period of rest. His contract is up and we couldn't offer him another.

"He is going to try to do part-time football, and he may come back into the game later on. It was not very pleasant, having to tell him his professional career with Watford was over. But for that injury, we would have undoubtedly have offered him another contract."

Watford were prepared to release Chris Day last summer, but the signing of Espen Baardsen was so protracted that Watford re-signed the keeper.

"He was happy to sign under those terms for a year," said Taylor. "He went to Lincoln on loan for three months and did very very well. I can't believe he will not get a club. He is an unorthodox keeper in some ways, in that he saves a lot with his legs.

"I think he is now maturing as a person. Chris was one of these lads at Tottenham thought as possibly the next England keeper, having played regularly for the Under-21's side. He was very unfortunate in many respects, in that in his debut for Watford he got an own-goal put against him. It was an obvious foul, and the referee noted it later, but it was not helpful.

"He did OK for us last season in the Premiership, but he needs to play regularly and when he is playing regularly, he can prove what we know him to be, a very good goalkeeper.

"He has played his part since he came back in the Second Division days."

The fourth player to be released is Stephen Armstrong, who has been on "an extended trial" since he was signed in November.

Said Taylor: "He has a great ability with his left foot, but I wanted to see if he can impose himself. He came in and had 45 minutes against Huddersfield, playing in what was a poor team performance. That was not his fault, but, with Peter Kennedy fit again, he seemed to go backwards from that time.

"Steve never imposed himself in training from then on. He has got something, but I never felt he was going to impose himself enough to say 'pick me'."