Ramon Vega has decided to break the ice and give his side of the story of his rollercoaster season at Watford in 2001-2002.

The defender is fully aware that his name is still greeted with pessimism by some Watford supporters and acknowledged that he "can’t change that" even though he would like to.

At the time, some accused of Vega of being a disinterested and overpaid has-been, whose best footballing years were already behind.

During the interview Vega was animated and adopted a straight-talking approach, while speaking his mind.

When he joined the club in 2001, he thought Watford had "big ambitions" and was about to enter a new period of prosperity on and off the pitch.

Yet only a year later, the players had failed in their quest to secure promotion to the Premier League, leaving the club in financial disarray.

Eighteen years after parting company with the club, Vega has chosen to shed some light into why things came to a head during his time at Vicarage Road.

He said he does not want to take any credit for playing his part in "rescuing" Watford from bankruptcy, nor was he making an attempt to ingratiate himself with the Watford supporters, as he knows where he stands, but he felt the need to get some things off his chest.

“Whatever the Watford fans say or think about me, I cannot change that, I can’t turn that, I’d like to but I can’t," he said.

“On my part, I didn’t have anything against the Watford fans, they were right to express their feelings and be disappointed when I didn’t play well and rightly so. We footballers have good and bad performances and are judged on it.

“But I want the supporters to know that I was very glad to have had that Watford shirt on me, to have played for them and scored for them as well.

“At the time, ITV was the main broadcaster for the Championship and I was pretty much one of Watford’s high earners. After (that first season ended), I still had another three years in my contract but pretty much I could see that Watford could not afford to pay the next three years, the club was nearly bankrupt because of us.

“The financial difficulties did not make it nice for the club and what do you do in these circumstances? I demonstrated the way and said to the board: ‘Listen, I don’t want the club to be in a difficult situation going into next season and I am happy to cut my contract, there’s no problem’."

The story was well documented at the time. The threat of insolvency was beckoning and the club was at risk of going into administration.

Vega hoped he could lower the risk by agreeing to sacrifice a part of his lucrative wages. Had he opted against doing so, it would not only have had a detrimental effect on the club’s financial future but it would essentially have been a disaster from a sporting perspective as well.

The Hornets could have been stripped of their professional license and status by the FA altogether.

Despite being entitled to do so, Vega opted not to stick around and hoped other teammates would follow suit and rescind their contract.

“Other players with certain salaries then came forward after and together we thought: ‘We need to help the club because they no longer get the TV money from ITV they expected’," he said.

“So we decided that if we didn’t go out, Watford could potentially collapse, the club was very, very, very close to administration.

“After talking to the chairman, I accepted the financial losses on my side and told the club: ‘Ok, you do not have to pay me the whole three years, I am happy to move. Although I had the right to do so because I had a contract until 2005 there, I could have stayed if I had wanted and be paid in full.

“But I was happy if they paid me no more than the remaining 40% of the contract, renouncing my claim to the other 60% of my £30000-a-month.

“In the end, I was happy to contribute to the financial safety of the club and move on."

The former Swiss international joined Watford in 2001 on a free deal from Tottenham Hotspur after spending half-a-season on loan at Scottish giants Celtic.

And it was in Scotland where the centre-back hit the richest vein of form of his entire career, firing the club to a first domestic Treble in nine years.

When reflecting on his single season at Vicarage Road, marred by a 14th place finish in the table, he believes that he probably paid the price for his personal success.

The jury was consistently out on him and, for his detractors a ‘normal day at the office’ was deemed insufficient in the light of his exploits at Celtic the previous season.

A Euro 1996 participant with Switzerland and League Cup winner with Tottenham, much was expected from the then 30-year old and his fellow high-earners. Whenever Watford failed to deliver he felt the blame for it was always laid at their door.

“Six months before I joined Watford, my good performances helped Celtic win the Treble and before that I won the League Cup with Tottenham," he said.

"It was a disappointment when the realisation set in that the ambitions and concept of where the club expected to be in two to three years started to collapse already within six or seven months.

“The fans? From their point of view, I can agree and accept that they were disappointed. But us players were also very disappointed about how things went, not just the fans.

“When I joined and other players they must have thought that Watford had a very big ambition to go up because on the paper we had what it took to do it.

“But even if I could, I wouldn’t erase Watford from my career because for me it was a great experience in my life, which will always be there.

“I had a long relationship with the Tottenham fans and with the Celtic fans I had a short relationship but very, very intense. Obviously, I can’t speak about my time at Watford in the same way. I can proudly say that at most clubs where I was I won something, at Spurs, League Cup, at Celtic, the Treble and I still have a fantastic report from the Celtic supporters.

“At Watford I wanted to have the same report but it was too short to even express myself in the right way, I couldn’t even potentially, there was no time.

“All in all, I think the reason Watford fans were disappointed about me is because they expected more but I had the same motivation at Watford than I had at Celtic because I was a professional.

“Looking back, I find it a shame that I didn’t have the same relationship with the Watford fans as I had with the Celtic and Spurs supporters.”