Watford chairman Graham Simpson has defended the sale of striker Darius Henderson.
His defence comes after some fans voiced concern over the club's ambition after Henderson was sold to Championship rivals Sheffield United for £2million earlier this week.
The Hornets are also expected to lose Danny Shittu before the start of the season, leading to fans' disquiet.
But Simpson says the club must be realistic after failing to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking last term.
He said: "I reiterate this club will never return to those dark financial days of 2002 and hopefully fans will have that thought at the forefront of their minds when reflecting on this deal.
"A club of our size cannot sustain a massive wage bill without Premier League funding or additional investment.
"It is well documented our parachute payments run out at the end of this season and we simply have to reduce our wage bill ahead of that. If we didn't then we wouldn't be doing our jobs.
"We will continue to make decisions we feel reflect the current board's intentions to run this club on a sensible and financially solid basis."
Were Watford right to sell Darius Henderson?