Watford’s debt has reduced by £40million, what the club does owe is being repaid over the long term as part of a payment plan and loans from owner Gino Pozzo will “never” be called in. Hornets chairman Scott Duxbury wanted to make it very clear to fans that the club is not on the edge of a financial cliff, or even close to it.

You only have to look around the Championship to see the carcasses of clubs that once saw the Premier League as their home to understand why fans would worry. Then there’s the likes of Derby County, whose plight has seen them drop into League One.

There have been stories in various places and numerous rumours that the Hornets were in a fiscal mess behind the scenes, so I asked Duxbury this:

What is the financial situation at Watford in layman’s terms? We hear numbers, we see articles, but very few of us are actually able to truly understand most of it. There’s worry, do you understand why?

“Our debt situation has improved significantly. During the past two years, we’ve reduced debt by £40m, and now we owe simply the £50m loan struck with Macquarie Bank in November 2021.

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“The big news was that in a season after we were relegated and during a pandemic, we reduced our headline debt by £40m. Yet I saw and heard people talking about £150m owed to the owner and sensed there was a lot of negativity. So, yes, I understand why fans worry, and hopefully this will put their minds at ease.

“There is holding company debt, which is basically loans from the owner. You can call it equity or whatever you like, but it’s how all clubs operate. It is money that Gino [Pozzo] has put into Watford Football Club to fund transfers, stadium development, training ground development and so on. It’s a loan from the owner.

“Is he ever going to call those loans in on himself? Never. If at some point in the future the club is sold than that debt is paid back as part of the purchase price. It’s a normal vehicle that is commonly used in business, not just in football. Gino put money in as a loan, which is what most clubs do these days.

“I don’t even think about that holding company debt. I don’t pay interest on it, I don’t need to do anything with it. It’s just owner funding. The only debt we have is £50m to Macquarie Bank, which is repayable over a long term and entirely sustainable.

“Our plan over the next two years is to get that debt figure down to zero. We have shown our intent by paying off the £40m I referred to.

“That’s part of the reason I am so excited about the coming season. I can focus on supporting Rob Edwards and making the changes in culture and approach, because I don’t have to worry about our finances.”