Gerard Lavin said he has nothing but fond memories of his time at Watford and has ‘no regrets’ about leaving for Millwall in 1995 despite either clubs’ contrasting fortunes in the decade that followed.

Lavin joined the club as a 12-year old in 1986 and rose rapidly through the ranks before making his first-team debut only five years later.

He went on to establish himself as the Hornets’ first-choice right-back and made north of 150 appearances over the next three years before both the club and Lavin decided to go separate ways by mutual consent in 1995.

Ironically, both his old and new sides suffered relegation to the Second Division in 1996.

While a new dawn with Graham Taylor’s imminent return and back-to-back promotions to the Premier League lay in wait for the Hornets, Millwall endured torrid years and did not win promotion to the second-tier until 2001, two years after Lavin left for Bristol.

“If it was the wrong decision to leave Watford? Yeah but that’s easy with hindsight," he said. "Everyone can say that about everything they do in life. It’s easy to say ‘Graham Taylor came back and they got promoted to the Premier League in 1999’ but no one could foresee that. If I could have foreseen it then probably I wouldn’t have left.

“But I was presented with an opportunity and obviously you have a decision to take the opportunity or not. I know that from speaking to other players that stayed at Watford for a long time that didn’t move on, they also possibly have regrets that they didn’t experience other clubs.

“I don’t have regrets about leaving because that is obviously what life is all about, different experiences and things like that.

When asked if it was his decision to push through a move to The Den because of financial reasons or Watford willing to cash in on him, he said: “Watford knew that Millwall put an offer in to buy me and it was sort of 50-50. I was young at the time, I was 21 and Millwall offered to pay me a lot more money and the club needed the transfer money as well. It was a situation where you think you don’t have a choice and that you have to go because in a way you are a commodity when you are a footballer.

“You are sold, you are bought and you just go on with things. It was a case of they accepted the offer but they gave me the opportunity as if to say ‘ You don’t have to go if you do not want to’ but I felt I had no choice because they had to sell me. They needed the money.”

Lavin knows that present day Watford is a far cry from what it used to be back in the early 90s, emphasizing how the Hornets have scaled new heights while Millwall have stagnated.

“Yes, Watford is completely different. If you compare Watford to Millwall, Millwall is still relatively similar to when I was playing but Watford have gone on to a different level now with all the money from the Premier League.

“That comes from being in the Premier League for so long. When I played for Watford it was a fantastic club to play for as well because I had been there from 12. It was a great football club with loads of great people there and loads great players there.

“But they are on a completely different level now and that’s purely down to finances.”