Watford Observer apologises to local football club

The Watford Observer today published a front and back page apology to Watford Football Club over a story claiming the club was being mismanaged.

The club had threatened to sue both the paper’s editor Peter Wilson-Leary and sports editor Kevin Affleck over a story printed in May headlined: ‘Club chiefs under fire”.

The story was based on a letter from the club’s former finance director Steve Simmons, who left in 2005, to the Watford Supporters’ Trust in which the club’s board was heavily criticised for their running of the club. Simmons was critical of the ousting of former board members Jimmy and Vince Russo.

The Newsquest-owned weekly announced yesterday it would pay £3,000 to the club’s Community and Sports Education Trust as part of the deal.

Watford FC chairman Graham Simpson said: ‘I am pleased that this matter has been dealt with and now we can put our energies into preparing for the forthcoming season. We felt that we had to make a stand on this occasion and a satisfactory outcome has now been reached.”

Observer editor Peter Wilson-Leary said: ‘I am pleased this matter has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. I am sure no one wished to see the town’s local newspaper and football club facing each other in court.”

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