Q.P.R. 1 Watford 1 (22/09/2007) (again) 25/09/2007Posted by Ian Grant in Match reports.
Tell you what, though: cracking game of football. In itself, without all of that stuff. Cracking.
Last week’s spectacular, improbable comeback against Southampton is the one you’ll remember, I imagine, when you look back from wherever we’ve ended up in May. But it was office daydream football: last kick winners, terrace cult heroes coming good, dizzy celebration all around. And willing opponents, worthy of a share if only for ambition. All amid sunshine and shirtsleeves, sure sign that the season has yet to truly begin.
This, on the other hand…a proper scrap, frantic and angry and engrossing. Penned in by Loftus Road’s four walls, it cannoned around with rude energy and raw urgency, lost in its own little world. No, it wasn’t very pretty. In large part, it wasn’t even very good. It didn’t half make you feel alive, though….
Naturally, you might be more concerned with how we should be doing in These Fixtures against These Opponents, with points targets and league positions and all of that palaver. Seems like a dreary existence to me, I have to say. Seems like you might’ve started to think that there’s nothing more to this season than its conclusion, a be-all-and-end-all. An all-engulfing expectation.
Don’t let that happen, eh? Because it’d be an awful shame if we didn’t enjoy the journey. Up there, football is rarely this pure, this essential. Rarely this bloody competitive, which is surely the point of it all. This is a division yet to be ruined by money…although we’re playing our part in its gradual demise, multi-million pound substitutes and all. It’s more than just a waiting room, this place.
We didn’t play well on Saturday. It wasn’t your armchair fan’s idea of a decent game. But you still got to see Adam Johnson continuing to find his evidently gifted feet. You still had that brutal clash between Darius Henderson and Danny Cullip, the latter very much the winner on points. You still had Gareth Ainsworth in all of his erratic, scraggly glory. Above all, you still had a game that swung beautifully between two thoroughly committed sides, then left both sets of fans with plenty to chew over on the way home.
Me, I’m in no hurry. Last season was long enough, thanks. This one…well, it’s only just begun.