Logic dictates there must be more than one person with a good word to say about Mark Ashton’s reign as Watford’s chief executive, but I have yet to meet them.

When I canvassed my successors, Anthony Matthews and Kevin Affleck, they were unable to add greatly to the list apart from the club’s head of communications, Scott Field, and, briefly, Aidy Boothroyd, who subsequently fell out with Ashton.

So, for the moment I am left with former chairman Graham Simpson and, their nomination, Scott Field – the latter being one of the survivors of what seemed to be the revolving door at Vicarage Road – new employees arriving, only to go later, paid up and gagged by confidentiality agreements.

I can understand the frustration experienced by some fans who cannot understand why others are all but dancing in the street over the departures of Simpson and Ashton, for no one has produced a smoking gun.

No one has said it was Colonel Mustard with a knife in the library.

Even the outcome of the recent EGM leaves some still baffled.

Usually, when there is a vote of no confidence, a poll is called and those with the largest number of shares behind them win the day, no matter how cogent the arguments to the contrary.

The Russos, with only 29 per cent, were bound to be outgunned share-wise, but it was their armoury in support of the cause of no confidence, that forced Simpson to fall on his sword before a shot was fired.

It is ironic that we understand Simpson signed a confidentiality agreement over the deal that led to his going, but he was then able to spin his piece to the assembled, a facility most departing employees over the last four years have been denied.

The confidentiality agreements supported the soviet-style structure at Vicarage Road. No one left with a few parting shots or revelations.

Even when this newspaper received information from excellent sources that the club faced severe financial problems unless certain actions were taken, we were threatened with legal action, while the board had discussions with the bank.

Unfortunately, when it comes to citing quotable examples, most of them have been experienced by the Watford Observer and, in resorting to these, we are open to the charge of having an axe to grind.

So let us be quite clear, if anyone had an axe to grind over Simpson and Ashton, this newspaper would be in the forefront.

Some, such as former manager Ray Lewington, would contend the dynamics of Watford FC relationships changed when Simpson plucked Ashton from relative administrative obscurity at the Hawthorns.

Ashton was very influential with Simpson.

When the chairman quizzed the manager on the Sunday or the Monday, as they analysed the match, Lewington would give the same answers and invariably Simpson would reply: “Yes, that’s what Mark reckoned.”

When Elton John suggested Lewington fly over to the United States to discuss possibilities with a view to helping buy players, he also asked the manager to bring Simpson along.

Lewington remembered being asked by Simpson to lobby for Ashton to be included “so Elton can witness first-hand the energy of the man”.

Early in their partnership, there were signs of this tendency towards the attempted bulldozing of opposition, or resorting to litigation.

They ran into problems with former vice-chairman Haig Oundjian’s sports clothing company, being forced to pay significant compensation for breaking a contract when early negotiation may have settled the matter in a less costly fashion.

I remember that within days of my retirement, Ashton informed the Watford Observer they had to provide the identity of the Player of the Season winner in advance, something we had never done in 34 years.

A year later Ashton advised us we would have to pay them £1,000 each year for the right to run our Player of the Season Award – take it or leave it.

To say they pulled a new stroke monthly against this newspaper would be a serious understatement.

Ever since the club was founded, this newspaper has given it publicity and been provided with team news, quotes and news of plans for the future and weekly access.

That ceased on a weekly basis almost immediately I retired.

It seemed to me the executives were determined to bring the paper to heel and reduce it to an extension of their publicity arm.

Remember when the newspaper was banned for daring to print the legitimate complaints over the delays in obtaining Elton John Concert tickets?

When the Watford Observer’s representatives were called to discuss the story, Ashton was part of the fiercely aggressive, over-the-top harangue, adding the priceless remark: “You never help us. You are always against us.”

He had been at Watford just a few months.

Simpson later admitted he was wrong, apologising to the fans for the problems with ticket sales but he did not apologise to the newspaper.

But what of Ashton’s achievements?

Well he did bring the board’s attention to the availability of Aidy Boothroyd, although that does not look quite such an inspired appointment now and the growing number, who thought the manager’s initial success was a fluke, will be watching his post-Watford career with interest.

But in 2006 with Premiership status attained, things looked good with funds to build a new stand.

Perhaps indicative of how they perceived themselves, Ashton, Simpson and Boothroyd posed for a programme front cover photo.

However, such an alliance was bound to falter and from all accounts it came apart at the seams in the case of Boothroyd and Ashton.

Ashton was also deeply involved in selling the corners of the ground – a decision I described as disturbing at the time.

As one critic put it: “Ashton said the corners were not used but I have a bedroom that is not used.

I might rent it out but I certainly would not dream of selling it. I might want it later.”

Watford gained a one-off payment, which we now know has been swallowed up.

The one decision which did impress me was the purchase of The Red Lion but as to the responsibility for it, I know not.

Estimates of his salary vary but we see the directors’ remuneration in the accounts is listed at £908,000.

There were three directors, two of whom were employed by the club so you can make your own assessments.

Interestingly, by comparison, the 2007/08 Annual Report of each NHS Trust Salaries are always declared in bands. The chief executives are paid figures varying from £130,00 to £190,000.

If we take Great Ormond St Hospital for instance, with a turnover of £271m, with 2,700 employees, the CEO takes home £175-£180k.

Watford’s turnover is somewhat smaller, as are the number of employees, and the signs are that the club is in a difficult financial state. Ashton’s finances appear healthier.

It is odd to reflect we had Manchester United’s apparent interest in head-hunting the Watford chief executive.

Certainly the timing dovetailed neatly for Ashton accepted the carrot of a position on the Hornets’ board, as opposed to joining the biggest club in the world, and one of his first tasks was to raise his hand in agreement to kick the Russos off.

Some critics of the recent Watford board suggest that Ashton was given too much rein and Simpson was really the well-meaning cop in the partnership.

It is a theory based on naivety. They worked as a pair.

Certainly when attempting to get departing employees to give us some hint as to what was going on, all would decline to talk.

Ashton’s days were numbered once Simpson was forced to resign and legend has it on the Morning of the Long Knife, which passed for an EGM, Jimmy Russo pointed at Ashton and informed him: “You’re next.”

Personally, I would seriously have preferred to deal with two Luca Viallis and a handful of Jack Petcheys than deal with Ashton.

I am far from being alone in that respect.

If there were shifts for bell-ringing at St Mary’s to celebrate his departure, I would put my name down but I don’t reckon they would get round to those whose names begin with P until somewhere around next Whit Monday.

Don’t just take my word for it.

I will give you a Watford fan, who has supported the club all his life.

He wrote for the fanzines, followed the Hornets all over the country and finally landed a dream job, writing in Watford’s press office.

But then the job soured for Richard Walker.

He felt he could not face the club’s spin culture every day and resigned, despite the fact he did not have another job to go to.

This week Richard appeared on Watford’s Mailing List. His message on Ashton’s departure was brief and simple: “Unusual of me to break silence on a matter? Yes, but this is worth it...

“Hold your opinions as you will on the recent changes (including re: all sorts of personnel and other developments) but be advised of one thing. This news is a very good thing for the club.

“Today, there are a lot of ex-employees – yes, myself included – who will feel there’s now a chance of the club they knew returning.”