Former Watford manager Graham Taylor has been appointed interim chairman at Vicarage Road.
The 65-year-old former England boss has taken on the role after Jimmy Russo resigned on Tuesday and demanded the immediate repayment of a loan of almost £5million.
Taylor is attempting to stave off the threat of administration and wants Russo to accept a proposal from major shareholder Lord Michael Ashcroft, who is underwriting a £7.5million rights issue in a bid to repay the loan and keep the club afloat.
Taylor is already a hero at Watford, having guided the Hertfordshire club to the top-flight, Europe and the FA Cup final during his two successful spells in charge.
But his legendary status will increase still further if he can help the Hornets avoid administration and the subsequent 10-point penalty which would send them plunging towards the Coca-Cola Championship relegation zone.
He said: "Today I accepted to become Watford's interim chairman during this difficult period for our club.
"I do so because the very fabric of what this club is, is at risk due to our well-documented financial problems. I, together with the rest of the non-executive members of our board, have worked tirelessly over the past days and weeks to find an appropriate solution.
"The board and I fully support the proposal put forward by Lord Ashcroft to help Watford get out of its current predicament.
"We believe this proposal offers the best route for the club to remain competitive on the pitch and allows for some financial security off it.
"The threat of administration does hang over us and I, alongside the rest of the directors, hope that Jim and (former vice-chairman) Vince Russo will defer their demand for payment and also do what is right, as they always said they would, for the future of Watford Football Club."
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