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Watford 2 Coventry City 1 (5/4/2008) 06/04/2008

Posted by Ian Grant in Match reports.

As per…

1. Welcome back, Lloyd Doyley. A sudden recall for someone just as suddenly buried in the margins tends to suggest a manager clutching at straws…but nevertheless, an instantly recognisable figure in a team that’s increasingly lacking in genuine character. One very much hopes that when we finally get around to building ourselves a new East Stand, Lloyd will still be here to christen it with a miscued pass into Row P.

2. For all that certain folk have attempted to portray us as some kind of brutalist uber-Bolton, a team entirely stripped of artistry, conscience and human warmth in order to prepare for a future that makes any upstanding fan shudder, we remain something of an enigma. Sometimes, as in the early stages of the first half, we forget ourselves enough to play expansive and attractive football; it’s as if the clouds have cleared and the sun’s shining through. At other times, we become entirely lost in the most basic hacking and thwacking, and one wonders what exactly we spend the week between matches doing. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, it’s true…but it doesn’t follow that if you break a load of eggs, you’ve made an omelette. Especially if you don’t even bother picking the shell out.

3. Personally, I suspect that we have this in common with virtually all of our peers; the winner is the one who wins, simple as.

4. We reached the low point of the campaign here, pretty much. Seventy-eight minutes, and a Coventry winner is as inevitable as the equaliser was. Our football has disintegrated into atoms, one event entirely separate from any that might precede or follow it; you look to the bench and find no cause for optimism, no sign that anyone knows how we might change it for the better. We’re resigned to our fate.

5. You wonder, therefore, how significant the next few seconds might turn out to be in a month’s time. As if to emphasise the point, the bench suddenly erupts into activity after Tommy Smith’s goal: rarely can a series of substitutions have been quite so utterly and understandably negative, boarding up the windows and jamming the doors to protect our ill-gotten gains. We were, it was very clear, fully aware of how fortunate we’d been and how little we could afford to throw it away again. It has come to that: eleven men behind the ball to hang on grimly against a team in the bottom half. But if that’s what it takes….



1. Mark - 06/04/2008

Not a good display after starting well but the win is what mattered most.

Maybe Ellington’s confidence will be boosted after the goal.

Worried about the midfield who seemed to get caught out and McAnuff did nothing of real note.

2. Pete B - 06/04/2008

Fantastic egg-based simile. Welcome back, Ian. (I notice that Matt formats his dates to two digits 05/04 etc while you eschew uniformity and redundant leading figures – there’s probably an analogy here somewhere but I don;t know what it is.)

3. Tim Turner - 06/04/2008

As someone who had a quid on Watford to win 2-1 with Ellington scoring first, at 35-1, I shouldn’t really complain about the game, but it was pretty dire, wasn’t it? Smithy’s clinical finish was so untypical of our performance in front of goal, it was like it had slipped through a wormhole in time from another game entirely.

Re point 1, I’ve actually voted for Lloyd as Player of the Season, on the basis that he actually managed to play consistently well for four months of the season, which is more than anyone else has managed. Yesterday wasn’t one of his finest performances, but after two months out of the team that’s not so surprising.

4. JohnF - 06/04/2008

A cold wet and miserable day was suited to what was a pretty cold and miserable prospect. No midfielder on the bench was an indication of the apparent limitations of the squad’s form while 3 defenders showed the change from when we had 3 strikers on the bench. The game started OK and we played some good stuff but the signs of zero confidence were all there. When John Joe hit a peach of a shot that the keeper only parried, our forwards were already retreating instead of looking to pick up the pieces. On the positive side Jordan Stewart did well when he came on, in spite of the boo boys. If we can only gain a little confidence and a little composure then maybe it will change but the Barnsley game is now really important. I would prefer to stay in the championship but we now seem to need the money more than we thought. The season has gone from a bright and hopeful start to a nervous and ugly end. Who’d be a football fan?

5. NickB - 06/04/2008

Ig, this makes me sound like a snivelling toad, but you always made me redundant by putting my frustrated thoughts into words, and you’ve done it again. Congrats to Tim for the phrase of the month: ‘slipped through a wormhole in time’ is deserving of a better audience than this.

I can’t stand Stewart, but I wouldn’t dream of booing him onto the field; some real retards at the Vic these days…

Great ref for once

6. Wrighty - 06/04/2008

Us to win 2-1 and Ellington to score first at only 35-1, no wonder bookies all drive big cars

7. Simon in Oz - 06/04/2008

JohnF wrote, “I would prefer to stay in the championship…..”
Goodness me, how things change. In the 60s the fans moaned, “They [the Club] don’t want promotion” as players of achievemnt and/or potential such as Holton, Bond and Currie were sold to balance the books.
Now the Club are DESPERATE to go up (again to balance the books) and fans such as JohnF want to stay at home with Mummy in the Championship rather than see the World, dangerous place though it is, in the Premiership (not, not etc).
I am sure you are a real fan, JohnF, but I ask you, can you visualise Graham Taylor in ’77 suggesting that top half in Div 4 was something to aspire too? No! he said, “I’m going to the top. Who’s coming with me?” Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes!
I know that if we go up we may do a Derby, but you’ve got to have a go, haven’t you?

8. goldenera - 07/04/2008

Countless (in)glorious head tennis rallies in an appalling game. Coventry as bad as us or vice versa. Should we go up,based on this, we can comfortably eclipse Derby’s points record.

9. AndyC - 07/04/2008

Ellington got what he wanted, the ball played to his feet outside the area allowing him time to move and shoot. Football is a simple game really.

10. Ian Lay - 07/04/2008

Note to Aidy:

Open top draw of desk. Remove 6 point plan made before Coventry game. Pick up pen. Tick box next to “Beat Coventry”. Plan stage 2; “Beat Barnsley”. Replace list in draw.

Seriously though…. Not pretty by all accounts but Coventry had only lost once in the previous 7 games and with Coleman being new in the job this was never going to be easy given our confidience. But we won. Now Barnsley, who have probably the worst away record in the division.

So still on to be top by mid-week. I never thought I’d say this but I’m really going to be cheering for a Warnock inspired team tonight.

Henderson back from suspension for Barnsley. Eustace back foir the weekend. It’s gonna be tight. More good Karma people! 😉


P.S. Good to see you back on the 5 thunks Ig.

11. Hornetboy84 - 07/04/2008

Welcome back Ian.

Thats clearly one thunk, crafted masterly into 5. Made me sadly miss BSAD – no matter how good this is!

I had a great day – Just after Smiths goal the bloke in front of me got the Grand National results up on his phone – and I saw that having backed 3 horses with some reasonable wedge – I’d been rewarded with a 1-2-3 finish and a £150 profit. (which I mostly consumed Saturday night).

If I was a glass half empty person i would rue the fact that I failed to do my usual National reverse tricast (so missed around £1000). But as a WFC trained half-fuller – i’ll take whats given as thanks. So 2-1 / messy – but before the game I’d have taken 1-0 off Kabbas arse to set us up for barnsley. C’mon!

I have said we will go up automatically for sometime now. I still believe that. By 1 point, second to Stoke just pipping the Baggies.

Lets worry about the next season after that.

Ps C’Mon Palace ! And I dont think I have ever thought that. Ever!

12. Johnny Boy ( formly JohnM, but there are too many of us) - 07/04/2008

Enough said about Saturdays game except we have put four past Schmeichel – anybody else want him on loan?
Lets think of some positives
– Henderson and Eustace back
– Barnsely losing on Sunday – or is that bad?
– Browne (Hull City) winning manager of the month
What we do know, is its going to be a rollercoaster of a ride.

13. Nick - 07/04/2008

I’m still savouring the irony of how we moved from thunk 4 to thunk 5.
Love it or loathe it Plan A came up trumps.
So it seems that with just 5 games to go Plan B seems certain to remain under wraps for another season.
I think this might be a sign that we have a lucky manager – now that might just be exciting!!

14. Jamie - 07/04/2008

Disappointed that they didn’t play the Grand National on the main screen to help entertain us in those first 30 minutes after half time.

Again McAnuff was a waste of time. I’d love to know what he also says to his team mates as they plough the ball at his head for the 5th time in a row. We certainly don’t seem to try and make things easy for ourselves at present.

You have to laugh though. Win on Wednesday and we go top.


15. DW - 07/04/2008

Come June 2008 those fans wishing to buy a DVD reviewing the season can eschew the edited highlights and plump for Saturdays game against Coventry. All you need to know about our 2007/8 campaign is encapsulated in this one match. We have won more games than we have lost because we are a hard working team who make life difficult for the opposition but we are not guaranteed promotion because we are drastically short of any real quality and perhaps rather depressingly the “whole has been less than the sum of it’s parts”. For example, Smith is a hard working player who tracks back and Lloyd is a strong quick defender as are Shitu and Bromby and yet Coventry were able to get a cross in from our right which evaded all of them resulting in an equaliser. Going back 30 years I have felt that successive Watford teams have “been greater than the sum of our parts” and this is not a dig against Betty but we have a wage bill significantly in excess of teams like Coventry without performances to match.

16. JohnF - 07/04/2008

Well Simon in Oz, those of us who actually attend all of the games and are share holders (money and mouth?) often find that the purely money driven premier league and its myriad of hangers on, not fans, is not particularly pleasant. Not only that, but for smaller clubs it leads to getting financially in too deep in desperation to stay in the league to pay for the massively increased costs. Sure I’d like the money but currently there is no way we can stay there and getting well beaten every week is no fun. We are already making an operating loss of over 4 million and do not have the fan base to bring in the cash. Ambition is fine but not at the cost of losing the club! Armchair watchers clearly don’t care about that.

17. Back from Hammerau - 07/04/2008

Well we scored more goals than we conceded, which isn’t a bad thing, and both goals were scored by forward players and from open play. Quite a novelty.

Having also seen Saracens beat Ospreys yesterday and found out my choice of away trips means I’ll be able to get a ticket to Blackpool, I’m feeling positive – if only for 48 hours.

18. Simon - 07/04/2008

I think the “is it better in the Championship” debate is one that’s been going for a fair old while.

I don’t think, as my namesake in Oz suggests, that it’s necessarily all a case of “staying at home with mummy in the Championship” and it’s not a case of being scared of the unknown in the wider world (we have, after all, been there rather recently).

The Premiership is a strange and often soulless world, often characterised by dull, one sided games, sky TV, expensive seats and patronising pundits and opposition. The Championship, for all its faults, at least feels a little more real and you do feel that any side could beat any other on any given day.

There is, of course, also the very real possibility of 12 months of getting beaten rather easily rather a lot. In my view, we’re not as good a side as that that went up last time (despite what Aidy says), we’d be likely to return very quickly and, if we didn’t the limit of our ambitions would probably stretch not much further than 4th or 5th bottom.

For many, the importance of going up is to be able to get the money to make the team and club stronger and to hopefully, in time, be financially able to gain a toe hold in the top flight. It’ll be a gradual process though and would probably require a decent amount of time (spent going up and down) and/or luck

Do I want to go up? Yes. Would I go into a premiership season with the dizzy hopes and expectations that should go with promotion? Probably not.

That’s the dilemna.

19. Stuart - 07/04/2008

Supporting Watford is fun!

20. Esp - 07/04/2008

“Hacking….thwacking….enigma omelettes….a wormhole in time”. More similies than I could throw an Aidy orange at and I thought our “Mad as a relegated hatter” manager was the Psychobabble Queen 🙂

Can someone please supply this particular Luddite with a BHaPPY phrsebook to crack the text codes you’re using. I’m lost AND I got a CSE in English too!

Still scottyhorn wrote last time that: “anything but 2 wins in the next 2 home games and I think we have had it – hopefully the team will find its way again.”

We’re half way to maximum points in those home games, at the time of writing I don’t know how Stoke are getting on but I think our fate is sealed by our close rivals otherwise known as “as exceedingly average as we are”.

It’s a shame when our destiny is in other team’s hands but it was our fault throwing away a 10 point lead early on. Blackpool will be fun no matter what happens this month.

I have received Ian Lay’s Karma and that will see me through; very apt as we are Chameleon like this season – and NOT a cultured club

21. Daf - 07/04/2008

Stoke 0 – Place 2 !
Come on Warnock!

22. Esp - 07/04/2008

Can I (as Nick B has done in 5 above) also shame those retards in print who booed Stewart on. MORONS
Piss off back home if you can’t shout some encouragement; Nathan Ellington has been widely reported as being put off by it too although ironically those other retards in the press box behind me in the East Stand (wrongly) accused us of booing him; not THIS Saturday we didn’t unless there are some deranged Daily Mail readers in the stand near the press box; I know the average age is 58 in that stand but surely they’re not all bigots and racists?
Still, the national press getting something CORRECT about Watford…Now that would be a first.

23. sam - 07/04/2008

On point 3 the winner wins by scoring goals. Watford would rather clutch for draws . Are the forwards not up to it, is the service not good enough or is the manager making the wrong decisions?

24. Red - 08/04/2008

Yes, it was a pretty (do I mean that?) awful game to watch, Coventry were short on ideas and skill (Coleman) and we were not much better, but what team in the Championship deserves automatic promotion? I have yet to see them. Now it all depends on these last few games-thats what its all about really. One moment you can be running away with the title, the next playing six defenders at home hanging on for a draw and the luck goes with you. Please Soccer AM do NOT have Palace (thankyou for last night) fans on the 19th or Scunthorpe on the 26th. We it be automatic-not sure, Will it be the play-offs-great fun. Do we deserve to go up? Why not? Will it be fun? Will it?

25. jimbohornet - 08/04/2008

Wow ! Good old Colin as Palarse do us a favour for once. Another win on Wednesday will set us on our way. If we can get a point at WBA, 3 more wins would give us 81 points, surely enough. Knowing us though, I expect a win at Blackpool will be required to scrape us in to 2nd behind the Baggies.
Keep the faith and don’t boo our own however duff they may be.

26. Old Git - 08/04/2008

To the man in Rookery, Row Q with the silly hair cut, who was loudly jeering Steve Kabba before the match had even started, and encouraging his children to do the same..you sir, are a moron.

27. East Stand Man - 08/04/2008


Good thunks. It summed up the game pretty well.

As we go into the fag-end of the season it is a case of perm any two from five for automatic promotion. I guess all five teams want to go up (although you would be hard pressed to believe it) but unless there is a massive overhaul of the squads only West Brom would appear to have any chance of remaining in the Prem. We currently have Bristol City top of the pile with a goal difference of zero, that in itself is amazing. Watford could drop to fifth depending on the West Brom result tonight but we would then go top if we beat Barnsley on Wednesday. It’s a crazy league and it would not suprise me if all 5 teams are more or less equal before the last game.

Who Dares Wins

28. Apperley 'Orn - 08/04/2008

If we finish in the top 2, we will have deserved to go up – simple as that really.

Quite frankly, I don’t give a flying fig how we go about it anymore. All I want is another 3 points from the Barnsley game, any which way.

This has been about the weirdest season I can ever remember and how on earth, after all those draws, we are still well and truly in the hunt is beyond me, but we are and that is surely something to be cheerful about.

Despite all the things about our club that make me feel slightly uncomfortable right now, I feel very very lucky indeed to have experienced such a massively successful period for little Watford since my first game back in ’78. You can’t say it has been boring recently, that’s for sure.

29. billyo - 08/04/2008

I agree with Stuart. Following a football team is generally fun, or at least it is retrospectively, at least.

The booing of Stewart is a disgrace. Here was a manager who, like most people in the ground, did not expect us to take the lead. Having done so, he realised the significance of taking three-points for the first time in ten games to kick-start our season. So he sent on the cavalry to throw themeselves in front of everything Coventry threw at us.

I look forward to more of the same tomorrow night, for another classic night under the Vic lights. This is not the time for the beautiful football. Winning is all that matters, and ugly or not.

30. Ian Lay - 08/04/2008

ESP, in the words of a certain cricket commentator “My dear old thing”, how the devil are you.

Boy George will get us promoted, Boy George will get us promoted. Everybody….

31. Rob - 08/04/2008

Any idiot can support one of the big four, this stuff takes some balls/dedication/blind faith/stupidity (delete as applicable)……

“boarding up the windows and jamming the doors to protect our ill-gotten gains” ahh you gotta love ‘im

32. Simon in Oz - 09/04/2008

Golly, JohnF, I thought this was a nice, friendly site.
I must admit I don’t go to the games much. Whilst I have supprted WFC for 40+ years, I am also quite fond of my Australian wife and children, and I am not planning on leaving them quite yet.
As for “armchair watchers”, I can get even more sybarite than that! I will listen to Barnsley via 3CR on my laptop whilst actually lying in bed at 4.45am.
On Sunday morning at 2.15am I WILL be an “armchair watcher” as the game is live on our Pay TV here. Can’t decide yet which chair to use; the upright one or the comfy one.
Let’s hope we can both celebrate a win – you with a beer and me with a breakfast double espresso.

33. Johnny Boy ( formly JohnM, but there are too many of us) - 09/04/2008

– Simon in Oz and JohnF having a little spat

– Old Git having a go at the man in RowQ

– ESP dissing the Press, Daily Mail and the age of the residents in the east stand.

Yes, the nerves are starting to show as the season draws to a close and I am not talking about on the pitch. Just part of the joys of being a football supporter, or should that be a Watford supporter because we are unique

Come on Watford

34. markymark - 09/04/2008

We are 0-3 down at home to 3rd from bottom Barnsley.No more niceties please,this excuse of a football team needs slating and I hope Boothroyd comes out with NO EXCUSES post match.Goddamn awful,it can’t get any worse than this!!!!

35. Stuart - 09/04/2008

Following Watford is fun………or is it?

Watford 0-3 Barnsley

Not fun.

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