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Watford chairman insists Boothroyd will bounce back

Simpson claims former manager agreed it was time to leave Vicarage Road

The chairman of Watford, Graham Simpson, has backed his former manager, Adrian Boothroyd, to bounce back after his departure from Vicarage Road.

Boothroyd left the Championship club on Monday after the 4-3 defeat at home to Blackpool on Saturday which left them 21st in the table.

The move came after a disastrous 12 months in which Boothroyd's side picked up just 12 wins in their last 50 league matches to fall from apparent promotion certainties to relegation strugglers. But Simpson insists that he did not sack the 37-year-old who took charge in March 2005.

He said: "We've had a sensible chat and we decided it was best to part ways. It was mutual consent, we had a good chat and that's exactly what happened. We both felt at this moment in time he'd gone as far as he could with the club.

"He has already proved himself, what we've decided now is it's time to move on and look at the future. There is tremendous pressure being a manager, you see it week in and week out. Aidy is a good manager but even young managers occasionally need a rest. Aidy will come again and will be a successful manager, I have no doubt about that."

The former Hornets and Celtic defender Malky Mackay has been handed the reins on a caretaker basis ahead of Sunday's trip to Swansea City. Simpson admits that the 36-year-old Scot could be handed the chance to turn around the club's season on a permanent basis.

He said: "It's an open book, there's lots of people coming through interested but we have to see who is right for Watford. If we feel it's a young manager again then we'll do that.

"Malky is well respected by staff and players. He's a leader and it's a great opportunity for him. We're not rushing an appointment, we just need to take a breath and move forward slowly."

The club are in the second and final season of parachute payments from the Premier League and Simpson has come under fire from some sections of support for trimming expenditure accordingly.

There is unlikely to be funding in place for the new manager to considerably strengthen his squad while speculation already surrounds the future of key midfielders Tommy Smith and John-Joe O'Toole.

The former chairman Elton John released a statement at the start of October expressing fear that "there is a danger of plummeting free fall", and yesterday shareholders Valley Green Salads called for a vote of no confidence against the board and demanded the immediate resignations of all directors.

But Simpson defended his actions and also dismissed reports that Boothroyd had been handed £600,000 in compensation. He said: "We had a very sensible discussion and the amount that was agreed does not compromise the club.

"My job as chairman is to make sure I take it down the right path, don't put the club under financial pressure, and Watford are in a very good place. I think we can get back to the Premier League but you have to earn the right to be there, look at what Hull have achieved. We have to get it right but not get carried away."