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Watford look to have averted administration

Lord Ashcroft, Watford's majority shareholder, has offered to repay the Russos' £4.88m loans into the Championship club in an effort to avert administration, reports The Guardian. The Vicarage Road board is awaiting legal confirmation after receiving acceptance in principle from the club's former chairman Jimmy Russo.

Russo confirmed that he would accept Ashcroft's deal. "Definitely, not a problem," he told Radio 5 Live. "The sad thing is this could have all been resolved without all the pain that's gone on over the last week or so.

"We've been asking him [Lord Ashcroft] to come to the table virtually every week. But now that he's prepared to pay my debt, that's great. It's good for the club. I'm absolutely delighted. But ... why leave things to the last second?"

Russo confirmed that his threat to take the club into administration was more than mere posturing, although he would have done so reluctantly.

"When you make an announcement that you are going to put the club into administration, you've got to go through with it," he said.

"Was it something I wanted to do? No, never. It's something they should have taken into account when they decided my presence was not wanted on the board, despite all the good things that we'd done for the club."

He added: "I'm relieved that this has been sorted out and disappointed that it's taken so long."

Russo also mounted a robust defence of his position after the interim Watford chairman, Graham Taylor, branded him a "bad man" earlier today for allowing the club to come to the brink.

"I thought that was a disgraceful comment," Russo said. "He should have been more selective with his words. How can somebody who has rescued the club four times, have a contribution of £9m in the club, never been paid a penny ... become a bad man? I think Graham should apologise for that comment. I think that was totally out of order and I don't think I deserved that. He should really look at that again and pick up the phone, if he's big enough."

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