Mooney urges Watford to tie down Graham

Watford legend Tommy Mooney has urged the club’s prospective new owners to hand star striker Danny Graham an improved contract should the proposed takeover be completed.

It was announced earlier this month that Watford FC Limited’s imminent bid for the club had already been accepted by most of the major shareholders.

The company was set up by highly-respected orthopaedic surgeon Panos Thomas and will be financed by close friend Laurence Bassini.

Graham, who is the leading Championship scorer this season with 26 goals, has another year left on his current deal, although the Hornets have an option to extend it by a further 12 months.

“I'd like to think that with the new owners coming in they can give him the contract that he obviously deserves and the contract that quite clearly other Championship clubs are willing to pay him,” Mooney said.

“I don’t personally think he is a Premier League striker but a very strong Championship one. If he is getting paid according to his ability there is no need for him to move so hopefully he’ll get a new contract and stay at Watford for the next two or three years.

“In the Premier League it would only be the middle to bottom teams that would be going for him and those only tend to pay at most a few million pounds. Hopefully with the backers coming in Watford won’t need that money so they should be able to keep hold of him.

“I think if things were like they were at the end of last season when the club had a bleak financial future then I could understand that they would be more willing to accept an offer. But at this stage I don’t think they would.

"There’s no point in him going to another Championship club because arguably he won’t be as successful. Watford have a structure that suits Danny Graham.”

Mooney played almost 300 times for Watford during his seven years at Vicarage Road, helping the Hornets reach the Premier League in 1999 under the guidance of manager and current chairman Graham Taylor.

The former Wycombe forward is currently working as a coach at Birmingham City but still travels to watch as many Watford games as he can.

“I work for Birmingham now and live in the Midlands area but Watford is my first club and the first team I look out for,” he said.

“I'd like to think that if they [Watford] can sign some older heads they could push for promotion over the next two or three seasons. At the moment they have Martin Taylor and John Eustace at the wrong end of their careers and they have far too many that are just starting out.

“It’s great that they have seven or eight academy lads starting but it’s rare that you have continued success with that limited experience. I think if they can buy some seasoned pros and if they can hold on to Graham and some of the younger players then they can push on.”

By Joe Whitbread