Tag: Watford

Watford: ‘Bankrupt Baz’ Gets Banned

Of all the chancers to take their chance with English club football in recent years, Laurence Bassini/Bazini may even have been the chanciest of the lot. Championship high-flyers Watford are currently living through altogether different controversies, as their loan-heavy team challenges for a Premier League place, thanks more than most else to their status as a ‘nursery’ side of sorts for Serie A club Udinese. But the sins of Watford’s recent past nearly came back to haunt them this week, as the true nature of Bassini’s club ownership was exposed by the publication of the Football League’s Football Disciplinary Committee (FDC) “determinations.” “Bankrupt Baz”, as he is referenced in his – possibly not self-penned – Wikipedia profile, was once a “client” of the execrable Keith Harris’s investment bank Seymour Pierce (and who here is surprised at Harris’s link to this grubby tale?). And he was offered ownership of Blackburn Rovers in 2010, which was a lucky escape for Blackb…ah… Last month Bassini was found guilty of “misconduct” and “banned from owning or holding any position of authority in any football club for three years” by the FDC investigating “two financial transactions in 2011 which occurred during (his) tenure as owner and director” of Watford. Watford also breached three League regulations but the FDC deemed a “registration embargo” to be “a just and proportionate penalty,” rather than the points deduction...

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Match Of The Past: Watford FC

We continue our collection of matches from the past of the clubs of the Football League Championship this evening with Watford. Our first match comes from the 1969/70 season, and is their FA Cup quarter-final match against Liverpool from Vicarage Road. We then skip forward to the start of the following decade, for another FA Cup match, this time against non-league Harlow Town, who the Hornets seemed to have more trouble with than much of their opposition in the league as they shot through the divisions from the Fourth Division to the First Division in the years between 1978 and 1982. Our third match is another FA Cup match, this time from the 1980/81 season and features their Fourth Round match against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Our next two matches come from the middle of the 1980s, by which time Watford had become established as a force to be reckoned with in the First Division. Having got promoted there in 1982, they finished their first season as runners-up behind Liverpool in the First Division and our next match sees Arsenal travel to North London to play against Arsenal in a First Division match at Highbury from November of that year. Our fifth game is a home league match against Chelsea from September 1985, and we finish off at the start of the 1990s, with Watford facing a trip to Griffin Park...

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Watford’s Big Picture Problems

The take-over of an English football club by the owner of an Italian club passed somewhat quietly on account of the European Championships but, as Paul Grech, writes Watfords tie-in with Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo might just end up having a significance that reaches some way beyond Vicarage Road. As the two nations’ teams faced each other in one of the lesser balanced games of Euro 2012’s quarter final line up, another piece of business involving English and Italian football went by practically unnoticed. By buying a majority stake in Watford, Italian Giampaolo Pozzo became the latest foreign owner of an English club and, in that respect, this piece of news merited the lack of attention that it received. What makes it remarkable is that Pozzo is also the owner of Serie A side Udinese. Pozzo’s achievements in Udine have been nothing short of remarkable. A team that was constantly yo-yoing between Serie A and B was transformed into one of the more stable sides at the top of Italian football; one capable of two consecutive Champions League qualification slots despite spending a fraction of what is available to the country’s traditional giants. This has been achieved through one of the finest scouting networks allied with a scatter-gun approach of signing promising players irrespective of their nationality (but as long as they don’t cost too much). It is a...

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Watford FC: Laurence Bassini Is Unwell

 I was still researching Watford owner Laurence Bassini’s last no-show at a fans’ forum when the headline “Watford owner to face fans’ Q&A” appeared on the BBC Football website’s homepage. By the time I’d done my research and clicked onto the story itself, Bassini had “no-shown” again. It is remarkable and depressing the lengths to which some fans will go to justify actions taken by their own club and/or its owners. Even the otherwise largely unimpeachable David Conn pulls the occasional punch when detailing his club Manchester City’s grotesque distortion of the Premier League’s economy and ‘free’ market.  But in the face of some very stiff competition, some Watford fans have taken the proverbial biscuit with their willingness to overlook a business past and present which displays no signs of the required fitness or propriety to run a Football League Championship club. The Watford owner formerly known as Lawrence Bazini was an unsuccessful businessman and declared bankrupt, reduced by his business failings to claiming benefits as recently as 2008. The bankruptcy made him change his name to Laurence Bassini – not, of course, by way of cunning disguise, because that would be ridiculous (although before he was exposed by a reader of the local Watford Observer (WO) newspaper, some fans were fooled). But: “…to have a fresh start,” which, actually, was scarcely less ridiculous. So unfit and improper was...

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After Notts County: England’s Club Owners. Are They Any Good?

“Are they any good?”  It’s a simple question. And it is in the top one of questions supporters should ask of bidders for football clubs. But, as the BBC’s flagship documentary programme Panorama revealed this week, no-one at Notts County was asking the question while the club was being taken over by ‘Munto Finance.’ Or any question at all for that matter. Not that supporters of other clubs going through ownership ‘issues’ have any reserved seats on the moral high ground. There were many lessons to be learned from Panorama about the need for supporter vigilance and scrutiny of their clubs’ owners and executives. Among some fan bases, those lessons have been ignored. Birmingham City’s appearances in the headlines since their stunning Carling Cup final triumph have been as much about their dismal finances as their dismal form. Hong Kong’s stock exchange regularly features announcements about Birmingham International Holdings, City’s parent company. And they are usually about money lost, money borrowed or money not raised. Yet some Blues fans are convinced of “an anti-Blues and anti-Chinese agenda” in the midst of our national football press. While others suggest the Premier League is probing City’s finances because of Uefa’s ‘pro-Liverpool’ bias. Meanwhile, Watford’s takeover, now all-but-complete, continues to turn logic apex-over-elbow, with some supporters refusing to acknowledge new owner Laurence Bassini’s demonstrable business inabilities. “You can’t judge a book by...

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