Ramon Vega has hailed the ‘exemplary’ Watford supporters and thinks they are a major contributor to the magic of the club.

The former Switzerland international might have been on the club’s books for only one single season back in 2001/02, clocking up 29 appearances in total in front of the Hornets fans, but that was enough to leave an indelible mark on him.

The 48-year old spent three-and-a-half years at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in his career and faced most English sides in both the Premier League and in the second tier, but feels the Watford faithful are as passionate as they come.

While Vega knows that the admiration is not mutual, he reiterated that he has a lot of time for Watford fans.

“The Watford supporters are a good example for everyone up and down in England because they are really the soul and heart of the club," he said.

“I hope they keep that spirit and soul of community, that’s what I appreciate of the Watford fans. They are keeping that community ‘way’ of supporting a club and being a fan. It was a fantastic experience to see that.

“I would have liked to get up in the Premier League but it didn’t happen but the fans are there now and it’s well deserved from my point of view.”

Vega is an entrepreneur in the capital these days and no longer involved with football like before, but Watford’s meteoric rise in recent years hasn’t gone unnoticed even in his Mayfair office.

In fact, if the Hornets are to steer clear of relegation should the season resume, the next campaign would be their sixth consecutive in England’s top-flight, matching a club record from 1982 to 1988.

“It’s wonderful what they did”, Vega said.

“I am supper happy for Watford to have achieved that success and the fans must be super happy today because that’s what they wanted and they deserve to have it. When I look back and compare, it’s been a fantastic development and they have come a long way.”

Watford being just a stone’s throw away from London was one of the main motives that pushed Vega to accept Sir Elton John and Gianluca Vialli’s offer in 2001, although it was not the only deciding factor.

“Maybe I would not have chosen Watford if it was in Lancashire or there (in the North) because I was looking into the future in terms of my personal career," he said.

"I wasn’t 19 or 21 where I still had potentially another 10 years of football but I had a maximum four to five years remaining. Maximum, if it goes extremely well, you know.

“But at that level, it can also be only one or two years if an injury (occurs) because then recovery is also much slower. For me it was also key to secure the future in that case. I was in London before and that helped as well, but it wasn’t the only reason.

“I really liked the ambitious side of Elton John and the club. The chairman wanted to help Watford come up to the Premier League again after a long time and I said to myself: ‘ Sounds great, it’s a great story!’. I had done something similar with Celtic by winning the Treble with them after a long time, nine years. That was that and I had the confidence we would do it with Watford and get back to the Premier League."

Making the switch from from a title-winning side that participated in the Champions League every year like Celtic to the second-tier of English football was ‘difficult mentally’ for Vega.

He admitted that he had to temper his expectations and made heavy weather of accepting that he suddenly had to challenge for lesser goals.

“Looking back, at the time I maybe wasn’t aware of this because I was really positive, wherever I went and whatever I did," he said.

"But if I look back, yes it was difficult to adjust to Watford and Championship because I had never played in the lower leagues.

“I always played at the top, in Switzerland I won the league, then I played in the top Serie A (with Cagliari), then I went to Spurs, then I went to a big club like Celtic.

“Watford was a bigger challenge but at the same time I wanted to have that challenge because it was a difficult one, so difficult for me.

“Playing in the Championship is very, very difficult, the way of football is completely different to what I had experienced. The games are scrappy and there is a lot of fighting, there’s potentially less finesse than in the Premier League.

“In the Championship if you have the quality and finesse you can immediately see that, and there are a lot of young players with quality. But the majority is really kind of week-in, week-out solid, compact, fighting, different strategy of football than the Premier League."

Still to this day, Vega harbours some regrets that he did not manage to build a legacy at the club as he departed for French Ligue 2 minnows FC Creteil following the club’s financial woes in 2002.

“The Premier League promotion, that didn’t happen and I was kind of ‘Now I am moving again’," he said.

"But I wanted to stay for a while at the club, build something there, build a relation with the club through success because that’s the only way you can have a relationship with the club, by having success and playing well."