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Hull City 4 Watford 1 (14/05/2008) 15/05/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

The final five thunks of the season…

1- We were closer to pulling this off than the final scoreline ultimately suggests, and the half-hour during which we lead the game and the hosts were increasingly bricking it was the most enjoyable of the season.  Unfortunately, we haven’t done “keep it tight” convincingly for a while.

2- On which subject… Jay Demerit played like a player on his way through the exit door.  And Richard Lee may not feature again as first choice one suspects.

3- Would be supremely aggravating if, having found a way to employ Ellington effectively, we now lose him.  His linking up with Williamson in the first half in particular was a joy.

4- We were caught on the M1 in a hold-up caused by a driver belligerently trundling along at 65 mph in the outside lane.  When he eventually pulled across to allow the build-up behind him to flood past, I was so shocked to see one R.Styles in the driver’s seat that I didn’t even key his car on the way past.

5- Ultimately, the two goals that qualified us for the play-offs above Wolves were valuable, even if the outcome after the semi-final amounts to much the same thing.  I’m certainly going into the summer more positive about next season on the back of the attacking verve of the last two games.



1. Stuart - 15/05/2008

Another day, another close season begins. Hope and expectations for next season start building. Ah good old football I will miss thee this summer. Tune in next August for another installment of the Watford FC story……I wonder how long we’ll have to wait now until we’re next in the Premier League?

2. Simon - 15/05/2008

For a while there it was looking pretty good, wasn’t it.

Some neat build up play and an increasingly nervous opposition but all undone by a moment of calamity which pretty much ended the contest.

It seems strange that a side that for much of the season defended pretty well unravelled quite so spectacularly towards the end. Of 6 goals conceded against Hull, the first 4 at the very least were shambolic. I’ve not included the last two in that purely because we can at least say we were stretched/demoralised.

I agree, Matt, that Richard Lee could well find himself leaving or installed back as number two for next season. Although he pulls off some good saves, he doesn’t command his box the way I’d like to see our ‘keeper do which means that pressure doesn’t get releaved from the back four/midfield (at one point on Sunday, Shittu was heading away a straight ball from insude the box when under no pressure. That gives the midfield a 50/50 to win 35 yards out. If Richard Lee calls that then the pressure is instantly relieved). Add to that the fact that his distribution could be better (albeit improved this year) and he sadly comes up a little short which is a shame as I’d really love him to do well.

As for Demerit, his contribution to the second goal will be burnt into my mind for a while (and on that front, sorry to Nick who I was sat next to for angrily and loudly explaining the whole problem to him for about 20 minutes as though he were the embodiment of Jay Demerit himself). For a centre half at that level to get sucked off his man like that is criminal.

On the plus side, though, I do feel more positive about next season having seen that a change in style is possible, even if the abrupt change (one minute we’re sending throw-ins from half way into the box, the next we’re taking every throw and free kick short) so late in the season seemed a little odd.

A couple of tweaks in the playing staff and attitude over the summer and the ability to mix our two wildly different styles of play and next season might just be quite fun (whether or not we’re back in the play-offs).

3. Joe Richardson - 15/05/2008

As much as I’ve been harping on about the impact of bad refereeing decisions, clearly last night the better side won, or rather, the worse side lost.

Over these two games Hull managed to concede one goal (from an unfortunate deflection) and score six. Despite all our efforts, and the impetus of having to go out and score goals, we managed just one, but conceeded goal after goal due to terrible goalkeeping and defending.

Despite an improvement in attacking play, there is still no end product. Had the scorelines been the other way round, does anybody out there believe we have the talent and ability to score 4, even at home and against a team chasing 3 goals in 15 minutes?

I’m sorry Matt, I just don’t see it happening with Ellington. Clearly we paid grossly over the odds, but even so, did he justify his place in the team last night? Has he ever played a game where you thought – “there isn’t a better player that Watford could realistically play in that position”? I’d say most of the team have at some point played at least one match where we could believe this – Mahon, Mooney, King and Young, Shittu, Doyley, Hendo, Smith, McAnuff(ish), JJ, Eustace, Bangura, Lee – all stamped their name onto their position with at least one top performance, but not Ellington – and as a striker, he has had more than enough chances.

My brother is a Stoke fan (same Mother) and I’m so happy for him, the money….GOD, THE MONEY!….whereas right now I’m depressed about what we are going to have to build with next year – Reading, Derby, Birmingham, a resurgent Palace, a Hull or Bristol City, QPR, Wolves (only joking!), Forest…don’t worry though, the season after that we’ll make it!

Although then we’ll have Stoke, WBA, Wigan? Fulham? All with £50mil in the bank. Then the parachute payments, the one thing that currently keeps us separate from the rest of the strugglers in the division, slowly start to drift away…

At the beginning of last season we started lucikly and we rode this a long long time, too long (hence my disappointment now). Right now I can’t see the team scoring enough goals (or keeping enough clean sheets) next season to put us 9 points clear, even with all the luck in the world. Anybody else? God, I sound so negative, my positivity ran out last night when players stopped tracking back and the 3rd/4th went in.

Still, congratulations on bHappy – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed checking it (pretty much every day) for updates – what am I going to do for the next 3 months?! Enjoy the Summer everybody.

4. NRC - 15/05/2008

Spot on about the last two games Matt, also I share your suspicion that Lee may have had his day. Today’s comments on the official site seem to echo much of what you say, especially re. the style of play. We threw this season away by hoofing it and if we take that thought away then it will be a valuable lesson learned. As for the PL, there’s a large part of me that says if we knew the finances were safe I’d swap a season being hammered every week by the big boys for the ups and downs we’ve enjoyed (I think that’s the right word) this year – at least we know we’ve been involved in something!

Highlights of the season anyone? Mine was Coventry away – ‘your ground’s too big for you’, excellent.

5. Nick B - 15/05/2008

Struggling to unmix feelings and emotions after last night.

Whilst we have been undeniably better over the last two games, there are a lot of things that need fixing.

1 Lack of pace up front. We had plenty of the ball around their box after we scored, but we didn’t get behind them and create much. Suspect the side of two years ago would have rammed home the early advantage. Hull showed what you can do with genuine pace, which was always Aidy’s watchword when he joined

2. Strikers who actually shoot and occasionally hit the target. I must have been watching a different game in relation to Ellington. When did he last have a shot on target

3 Creativity in midfield – an old chestnut, but it’s sad to see players slogging their guts out to get the ball (our effort last night in this area was faultless), only to give it away so cheaply. We don’t score goals like those Bristol City have been hammering in for fun either

On the plus side, our movement off the ball looked better and a second goal would have really had them in trouble. Not sure how we ended up 6-1 over two legs

Agree over Lee, shame as he’s a good shot stopper and a top bloke, but height has always been a worry, and his judgement last night with the goal was really poor.

Aidy has a lot to think about with the defence too

6. Dan - 15/05/2008

2 & 3 – Betty certainly seems to be suggesting personnel changes, and I’d expect that to involve DeMerit and a search for a right-back at least. It seems as though Loach is being lined up for a starting spot next year, I imagine Lee would be kept as back-up unless he wants first team football elsewhere.

I’d be surprised if Ellington left simply because I can’t see anyone wanting to pay a fee and stump up for his wages. He looked good last night, finally involved in the play.

4. Really? I do hope you’re not making that up.

The stewarding and policing last night was absolutely farcical, as I may have, er, mentioned to a policeman on the way out. There has been some debate on the WSC letters pages about post-goal pitch invasions.

7. Matt Rowson - 15/05/2008

Joe – there’s a lot of truth in your post, but I think you’re being very harsh both on our goal (which was hardly the result of a hopeful punt taking a freak deflection – one of the goals of the season, surely?) and on Ellington’s role.

You’re right in that he’s got a very long way to go to justify the money we paid for him. But it’s impossible to divorce our attacking impetus in the first half hour or so from his role in it. He’s a much cleverer player than we’ve often given him the chance to be, and viewing last night’s contribution in isolation I thought he was fine. More than fine.

Nick, I agree that we need options up front, and pace in particular (which is bizarre given the emphasis Betty’s often placed on our pace, and the nature of the side two years ago). I suspect that it’s irrelevant which of our perspectives of Ellington is more accurate – there’s a fair chance he’ll move on anyway. It’s just a shame that we didn’t try this formation a little earlier I guess.

8. Flippo Galli - 15/05/2008

What a converse season it’s been. Winning loads of games at the beginning wilst playing some very average – but effective football, and then finally begin playing some really neat stuff (ie 1st half last night) and get punished by truly appalling defending. I’m not convinced Hull had to work particuarly hard in either game – we just made it impossible for ourselves with numerous pieces of inept defending.

As for next season? I really can’t imagine (or believe) that Ellington will be allowed to stay. I shudder to think what his goals/salary-transfer fee ratio is. Anyone care to work it out?

Aidy must build on the good points of our team: Eustace (who was immense last night IMO), Smith (need I say more), Theo Robinson who could be fun, Jobi when in the mood – and the ball is actually given to him in proper areas (as per last night), Marriappa who could be a fine player, Loach who by some accounts may be No.1 next year, amongst other potential highlights.

I think there’s plenty to be positive about, but then the cynic in me suggests it will be a tough, tough season coming.

I’m off to mourn a very painful, failed season.

9. Big Tone - 15/05/2008

I have to say that (much to my suprise!) I think Ellington played well last night in the deeper. His linkage with Doris was a joy.

There’s an exceptional player there just waiting to be let out and maybe if we’re changing to a passing style we need to be thinking about building a side around our better quality players?

To Aidy’s eternal credit, we all called for a shake up and he delivered, it’s just that it turns out we don;t have enough players of the required quality and concentration levels.

However before we look at new players, I’d say the recruitment of a replacement for Kieth Burkinshaw should be the first priority? I think Aidy thought he’d learnt enough to cut it alone but an older more grizzled head around the place might just work to everyone’s advantage.

What’s GT up to now that he’s turned down the blades (!)

10. Harefield Hornet - 15/05/2008

To be honest I’m bloody glad to see the back of this season. In 30 years its the strangest one I can ever remember. The early part had me shaking my head in disbelief as we kept sneaking wins to remain at or near the top, the middle part had me shaking my head in disbelief that we could continue to play so badly and still remain at or near the top and the final part had me shaking my head in disbelief as we managed to completely bollocks it up. The first half hour of the final game had me shaking my head in disbelief wondering why we haven’t attempted to play like that earlier in the season. The penny has dropped at last! Summer Shopping List – I possibly 2 strikers, A Centre back with a brain, a creative midfielder,an effective right back and a goalkeeper please Aidy.

11. David, Aylesbury - 15/05/2008

Totally agree with Simon’s comments about Demerit’s defending for the second goal. It was the most perfect example of ball watching you could ever wish to see and to be honest I’d be upset if one of my lad’s U15 team defended like that. His efforts in the lead up to the fourth goal weren’t much better either…

Although the last few minutes were very painful, the performances of the last two games have been encouraging. For me, the player who seems to have benefitted most is Lee Williamson and I believe he has to be in the team if we are to carry on in this style. Sadly, Richard’s decision just before half time probably changed the game in an instant and will probably be the nail in his coffin as far as Aidy is concerned.

So what’s required for next season ?
Well, a keeper (possibly Loach), a centre back or two (depending on whether both Shittu and Demerit leave) and after watching last night’s game we desperately need a genuine goalscorer. For all the good creative build up play too often there was no-one in the right place in the box at the end of it. I know it’s a long shot but what about Hoskins ? I actually feel slightly guilty that we took a young player scoring goals for fun and turned him into a poor winger.
The players who I think we need to build the team around are Smith, Williamson, McAnuff, Ellington, Ainsworth, Priskin and maybe Eustace and Williams. ie the ones who are actually comfortable with the ball at their feet.

I guess it could be an interesting summer/lead up to next season as we see who leaves and who joins…..

12. Tim Turner - 15/05/2008

The annoying thing about this Watford squad is that there are few players who are manifestly not up to the task – as Joe R says, most of them have proved their worth at some point.

The two key positions where I see us needing to bring in new faces from outside are up front, where we need a consistent goalscorer – I wonder if Kevin Phillips will be offloaded now that West Brom are going up? – and a commanding centre-half who can do for the defence what Eustace did for the midfield when he arrived.

Other than that, I think our returning loanees (Robinson and Ashikodi up front, Parkes and Loach at the back) should be given a chance in the Championship. With all that and a fit Gareth Williams in midfield, I’d be fairly happy with the squad.

As to farewells, it sounds like Demerit will be off, and I’d also offload Priskin, Ellington and Hoskins, plus Shittu if we get a like-for-like replacement.

13. Simmo - 15/05/2008

Never has one game encapsulated a season so perfectly. Great promising start only to shoot ourselves in the foot in the middle period and then before the end you really couldn’t wait for the agony to be over.

Although the last two games have been an improvement I still think Aidy will need a major revamp of personnel and style of play over the summer. However IMO the main difference over the last two games between us and Hull has been the quality of delivery into the box. We seemed to hit and hope while Hull on most occasions found their man with their crosses.

Ultimately if there was one turning point in the season it was the end of the loan period of Adam Johnson. I feel that if we could have persuaded ‘Boro to have allowed him to stay on a season long loan we could have kept the momentum going regardless of the loss of other key players.

C’mon Aidy, be at your persuasive best and try to get him back to the Vic permenantly from the start of next season.

14. Kris - 15/05/2008

I want whole-sale changes at the vic. I want all the fat cat high-earnes out and hungy young-ish players who are proven at CCC level and who can develop further brought in. I won’t be surprised to see any (if not all) of Ellington, Hendo, Francis, Shittu and Demerit leave. Add to that the deadwood, also/never rans such as Hoskins, Ashekodi, Kabba, Avinel etc. and we’ll have ourselves a tight squad again full of hunger – and that is when Boothroyd is at his best. Instilling passion in hungry players.

I have to say I am not as disappointed at our failure as I had expected. Though I doubt we’ll ever go up again – I can’t wait for the transfer window and the new season… To quote many a BSAD preview – Bring It On!

15. Tim Turner - 15/05/2008

Kris – a bit harsh on Avinel and Ashikodi, who have played less than five first-team games between them, and are both young enough to come into the category of players who are still developing and learning their trade. I believe Aidy mentioned both in his speech at The Grove the other week when talking about the young players who he sees as the future of the club.

16. The Great Big O - 15/05/2008

A wretched season. Absolutely wretched. For one reason, and one reason alone.

The level of expectation.

Two years ago we had a fantastic season. It was the biggest over-achievement against expectation in the club’s history. We expected to go down, but we went up.

Last year we expected to go down. We tried valiantly, but we delivered precisely against expectation.

This year, after our fast start, we expected to be promoted but didn’t achieve it. (It felt worse for those of us attending mainly home games. Personally, I witnessed a record of W6D8L8 : a points-per-game ratio that would have had us relegated across the full season. Down instead of up. The flip of two years ago.)

That’s why this season has been so painful for so many of us.

The answer? It’s not Boothroyd’s team-selection, signings, tactics, managerial decisions. Nothing like that.

The answer is to stop kidding ourselves. Stop kidding ourselves that we can be a Top Ten Premier League club by 2010. Stop kidding ourselves we can afford to risk £3.5m on a dodgy striker and hope he comes good. Stop kidding ourselves we can win promotion again without an exceptional talent we sold for £10m and didn’t replace. Stop kidding ourselves Henderson can score goals when he isn’t partnered by someone the opposition fear more – i.e. Marlon King. (Look at Hendo’s record.) Stop kidding ourselves that effort, belief and ‘character’ are all you need to win matches. (Creating chances helps.)

All this season I kidded myself. With the result that expectation ruined my season. Yet it was the club’s tenth highest finish ever.

Aidy says he’s learned some lessons this season. So have I. In future I shall genuinely expect nothing – the way the club taught me, back in the late 60s and early 70s. I’ll hope, I’ll shout. I’ll occasionally tut. But I won’t expect. Expectation is just too painful. Too much like being a Wolves fan. And that’s the last thing I’d want to be.

Did anyone notice they missed out on the play-offs again, by the way?

17. Matt Rowson - 15/05/2008

The Great Big O

Not that there isn’t a lot of truth in what you say, but the statistical pedant in me feels obliged to point out that W6D8L8 = 26 points from 22 games =54 points over 46 = a couple of points clear of relegation. Still not great, I’ll grant you.

18. The Great Big O - 15/05/2008

Damn you, Matt. I expected to get away with that.

Yet more disappointment for me.

19. Nick J - 15/05/2008

As the Nick referred to by Simon in post 2 as “the embodiment of Jay Demerit himself”, I would like to point out that I am neither blond, american or (any longer) a resident of Camden. I would, however, have been very disappointed if I’d put in that sort of defending for the office team, let alone Watford FC …

20. Hornetboy84 - 15/05/2008

For me …

1. I’m glad I went to Hull as I got closure on a depressing season.

2. 42.5 mins of glorious hope. Well worth the trip.

3. Future possibilities – for next season. It might not be brilliantly successful – but it might be fun again. And lets face it despite the money next year in the Prem (cos we would have done Bristol) would have been too much. lets build a little base first (a la WBA)

4. And I was boosted by Aidys post match comments. Keep faith with the man. everyone. Please.

5. To the girl from Brighton and the boy you met in Blackpool. Thank you for your lifestory. Almost as entertaining as those 42.5

6. Ultimately – we lost the semi because of Mr Friend BUT in truth we didnt deserve any luck or help because we weren’t good enough over the season.

7. And at least L*ton went down.

21. Lesley-Anne - 15/05/2008

A very disappointing result but the change in play is a good positive to end the season with!!! I really thought we had a chance before their equaliser just before half time.

I can’t agree with Tim Turner’s comment about offloading Ellington and Priskin. If we’re to play more football next season then surely we need players who can play. They’ve been criticised this season, perhaps unfairly because we haven’t played to their strengths. It would be just like us to get rid of them now we plan to change!!!

Hopeful of good things next season!

22. Red - 15/05/2008

At last closure. Can’t wait for next season.Thank you to most of the contributors to this site. Certainly the place to visit for intelligent, humourous comments about the team we all love. Aidy would’nt need a older, wiser advisor if he visited this site and took note. Perhaps he does and perhaps he did. Is it you?

23. Matt B - 15/05/2008

I also share a sense of relief that this season is over. I have probably missed more games this year than ever before in my 15 years of being a season ticket holder, and with the exception of Palace away, can’t actually remember a game in either half of the season that I really enjoyed.

The prospect of another season in the Premiership, quite frankly, wasn’t that appealing. The realities of the modern game are such that the financial chasms between top-four and rest of the top flight, and top flight and division two are getting bigger and bigger. Another top flight season of losing most games just isn’t very appealing and I don’t go to Watford to watch big name players.

But here is the dialemma. For most of my lifetime (37 years and counting) Watford have over-performed in respect to their history.But I do expect them to be playing in the upper half of the football league structure, because this should be expected, because that’s where we have spent the majority of the time in the history of the “modern” game.

But if the only way we can get a sustained status is through this bipolar “play to win at all costs” (see Aidy’s book on “Managing the game”) in drab division two seasons, followed by “get spanked and then relegated, enjoying the parachute” which seemed to be the game plan for most of this season, then I’m not sure that I’m that interested any more.

Jeez, I know. I’m starting to say things like “It’s not what it was like in the old days”… but I’m sure that as soon as the transfer gossip starts I’ll be hooked again, just as I am every year.

24. Wrighty - 15/05/2008

1. At least we went for it and playing properly too.

2. Comedy defending, again. We could do with a grown up back there ordering them about.

3. The emergence of of some of our ‘talented’ players. MacAnuff scared them and looks like the player I hoped he’d be. Ellington looked happier in that role, had some ball and showed he has got some ability. Not sure about 3.5M though, but we’ve paid it oe & I for one, maybe the only one, hope he stays

4. I can’t see them beating Bristol City though

5. The new kit’s exciting isn’t it*

this is poorly disguised sarcasm

25. markymark - 15/05/2008

David : What about Sadler and Bromby ? Disagree about Hoskins.I don’t think hes good enough to a top championship player.

26. Wrighty - 15/05/2008

I’ve just had a thought regarding the announcements about the change n playing style on the oficial website (and marketing forum). Do you think that it has anything to do with the poor turnout on Sunday ? And how are the season tickets selling?
Hope not

27. Matt Lovett - 15/05/2008

Very disappointing, but if it has woken Aidy up to the folly of the blind faith he has shown in Richard Lee then that’s certainly a positive.

28. Matt Rowson - 16/05/2008

Wrighty – not sure I agree about their chances of beating City. It’s not a foregone conclusion by any means but Hull have enough goals in the team, they’re favourites for me.

Red… ig will have to take on the mantle of being Aidy’s older, wiser advisor since he is, I believe, just about older than Aidy whilst I am still in my youth. Relatively speaking.

29. Lincoln 'Orn - 16/05/2008

Did nobody else notice Williamson the other night. I thought he was superb and was very impressed.(His piss take of Folan in his own box was particularly satisfying, turning him 2 or three times) Him and Eustace surely have to be the central pairing next season, Eustace is a leader. Whilst I would agree that changes have to be made I wouldn’t think it would take a lot for us to be promoted. Confidence is a wonderful thing and we haven’t had any, particularly at home, for a long time. I think we as supporters should ask ourselves if we could have done anything to help that, again particularly at home.
One concern for me would be our lack of a goalscorer with a bit of pace eg. Marlon. For all our dominance first half at Hull we still didn’t really create any clear cut chances, apart from the goal(was that really us putting 2 or 3 neat passes together in the box). But it was exciting and they were seriously worried until that calamity of a goal went in, all our good work undone in a few seconds, bugger!
Could I suggest we get behind the team next season particularly at home, and not just until someone makes the first mistake of the season!

30. North Bucks Hornet - 16/05/2008

The Great Big 0 – spot on pal, make this man Chairman!
Shame about Richard Lee – as an Aylesbury boy and WFC youth product I really want him to succeed but feel it’s time for a change – Ben Foster back on loan anyone?

31. Matt Rowson - 16/05/2008

Lincoln… you’re right about lack of chances, and about Williamson, but I think you’re thinking of the Marlon of two or three years ago rather than the current model? Not sure there’s much of that fabled pace left after his knee injury, we did well out of Wigan for my money.

North Bucks… we’ll be fairly near the back of a very long queue. We played Foster when injured, that’s what knackered his season this time. No coincidence that we’ve not borrowed anyone off Fergie this season, despite Foster’s evident progress in the team (and Webber and Eagles previously).

32. Lincoln 'Orn - 16/05/2008

Matt. Point taken about Marlon in his present state and you are probably right that it was a good time to sell. I just can’t help thinking that perhaps if Hull’s or Manures Cambell had been playing for us on Wednesday night it may have been a different outcome. I thought he had a fairly quiet game but he is always a big threat.
With regard to Williamson and Eustace being our midfield pairing we would of course have to take into account the fact that both will probably gather a fair few cards in a season as they can both dish it out a bit(Williamsons Cantona style lunge at Scunny was assault) but if Adi can harness both’s agression they could be the new Johnno and Micah ( Oh to have that pair in there now) Micah was a lazy sod sometimes but he could certainly play a bit.

33. Back from Hammerau - 16/05/2008

When it comes to putting next season’s starting 11 together, I’d like to see what Gareth Williams can do.
We need someone in the back 5 who can talk to and organise the other four. Clarke Carlisle did it and Calum Davenport seemed to do it.
For me Richard Lee’s problem is as much the speed of his distribution as its accuracy. The opposition always have time to organise themselves before he’s decided which ball to play.
Maybe having the budgetary limitations of not getting promoted will lead to a smaller, more cohesive squad. It also may suit Aidy.
I’d also like to see Keith Burkinshaw back, if only very part-time.

34. Simon in Oz - 16/05/2008

Thank goodness it’s over.
Now you can watch the cricket.
If you learn from your mistakes, then you are less likely to repeat them.
Aidy is NOT Vialli, so we must give him time to sort out what he got wrong this season.
I think he will learn.
He’s a young manager of a small club. He’s had success. He’s now had (relative) failure. He’ll have learnt more from this (strange) year than the previous two.
We need him. Who else would the doubters recommend as manager?

35. David, Aylesbury - 16/05/2008

Markymark : Yes I would definitely include Sadler and Bromby, I just got carried away at the prospect of all that exciting attacking creative football we’re going to be playing…. 🙂

I accept Hoskins may not be the one but he had scored 15 or so goals in an average team before we signed him, so he obviously has some talent. From his brief outings for us he looked a bit lightweight but skillful and with a reasonable ‘football brain’…attributes that a passing style will require (not the lightweight bit obviously…).

Matt R is spot on about Marlon….have you seen some of his marks out of ten for Wigan ? They make Jordan seem good in comparison !
So we all seem to agree that we need a quality goalsoring ‘fox in the box’ who is also very quick.I think Robinson and Ashikodi deserve a go but anybody got any possible transfer targets ?

36. Johnny Boy ( formly JohnM, but there are too many of us) - 16/05/2008

The season is over and what a ride its been if you think about it – we lose our three last home games and we are still in the play-offs – madness.
Thinking back, since I became a season ticket holder back in 1999 – 2000 it’s been a hell of a ride.
That first season in the premiership – getting beat but also thrashing Vialli’s Chelsea 1-0 although we did make the mistake of hiring him two seasons later, discovering Bsad ( thank-you Mat and ig). Beating Coventry on the last day of the season which set us up for a nice unbeaten run at the beginning of the next.
The Vialli year, tragic but exciting. Remember how he always picked he team that finished the previous match if the substitutions had turned the game round – he knew his best team!!! His introduction of Macca(sorry Matt, just had to get that in). His rejection of Coxy and how Coxy turned it round and raised two fingers to Vialli, whose father in law I met once but that is another story.
The Lewington era. A cup semi final although he did drop a certain Tommy Smith. The turning of an expensive striker into player of the year defender, the immortal Marcus Gayle last seen plying his trade with the rejuvenated Aldershot. And dear old Ray, there he was sitting next to Hodgson as Fulham somehow avoided relegation, both of them looking like they hadn’t how they had done it.
And now the Aidy years, some roller coaster they have been and hopefully will be for some years to come. The great players he brought in Marlon, Springy (‘you used to be scum but you’re allright now’ – well not anymore as you are back there!!). Ones he developed – Ashley and Hameur, and some dross he bought – remember that Spanish guy with one name?
So what is to look forward too. Maybe Ellington becoming the best attacking midfielder in the championship, spraying passes to the pacy, new, young attack of Robinson and Ashikobi as they rip the championship defences apart. Impact player Darius Henderson brought on for the last twenty minutes when defences are tiring to knock in the late goals. ( he was known as ’15 minute Darius’ at Gilingham). Demerit learns the art of passing the ball and along with a meaner Danny (i.e.in the close season Malky teaches him some of those sly little tugs and digs he was so good at) form the spine of a tighter defence. So as regards next season, in the immortal words of that lady wot cooks ——–

BRING IT ON———- I can’t wait.

And finally, a thank-you to all the contributors to this site which has been an enjoyable read all season.

37. Matt Rowson - 16/05/2008

Johnny Boy

Marcus Gayle retired this summer, having helped AFC Wimbledon to promotion to the Conference South. From centre-back.

38. nick g - 16/05/2008

RE: 4. I knew it would be R. Styles fault – it always is! Now I have closure I can enjoy my summer.

39. GraemeB - 17/05/2008

Matt, I’m fascinated by your implication that Ferguson is miffed with us for playing Foster when injured. Do you have any evidence to support this? I seem to remember that the extent of Foster’s injury came to light while he was with the England squad, and though he may have had the odd niggle with us, I have never heard the WFC management accused of being reckless with his health.
Although we’ve had a few Man Utd youngsters in the past, we can’t assume this will happen every season. And I can’t see Foster going out on loan again. I expect him to be No 1 at Old Trafford by the end of next season.

40. Matt Rowson - 17/05/2008

Boothroyd implied as much in a q&a at the start of the season. “Who will we get off United this season” “We won’t be borrowing anyone from Old Trafford” was the rather pointed exchange. We played Foster when injured last season, that much is beyond dispute. Foster then aggravated the same injury. If I were Fergie, I’d be pissed.

And I don’t really see why we shouldn’t expect to borrow players off United every season. The way the squads and harvesting of top young players are at the top clubs it’s daft for a club our size not to be exploiting a good relationship. If we have one.

41. Back from Hammerau - 18/05/2008

“I don’t really see why we shouldn’t expect to borrow players off United every season. The way the squads and harvesting of top young players are at the top clubs it’s daft for a club our size not to be exploiting a good relationship.”

Not necessarily. We shouldn’t be so focussed on providing nursery services for larger clubs that it sends the message to our own developing youngsters that there’s no point doing your best to impress because you’ll only get a place if we can’t borrow someone from one of the big clubs in your position.
While Ben Foster might’ve been vital to achieving promotion 2 years ago, how much has Richard Lee’s development suffered as a result of being second fiddle behind him for 2 years at a crucial stage in his career?

42. Matt Rowson - 18/05/2008

Nobody said focus on it. It’s beyond dispute though, surely, that United’s pool of youngsters is going to be superior to our own and where you have a situation where someone like Foster or (to a lesser extent) Eagles is going to command a regular start and significantly improve the side then why not? It’s the reality of the current situation, and every other bugger is doing it.

I’d agree that there’s a balance to be struck, but Boothroyd made it very clear when Foster arrived that he didn’t see Lee as a long term option. You might question that judgment and Boothroyd’s clearly gone back on that since (if only temporarily, perhaps). But that being the case at the time, Foster was hardly holding Lee back – I can’t imagine that Lee would have been first choice by default. We’d have signed someone else.

43. Meldrew - 18/05/2008

What did Poom actually do wrong apart from having ONE shaky half away at Colchester?

44. Back from Hammerau - 19/05/2008

I don’t see a great deal of difference between expecting to borrow players from ‘big clubs’ every season and focussing upon it.
Either way, you’re reducing your ability to plan for the future beyond the length of the loan deal, you’re sending a message to your own-up-and-coming players and you’re weakening the club’s identity. It may may make it easier to sell tickets to southern-based ManU fans, but I don’t think that’s why I come to Vicarage Road.
If anything, the players that have made the biggest impression upon me in my years watching the club are our own products that have shown considerable promise when they break into the team, but then fail to deliver upon it.

45. Pete B - 19/05/2008

Meldrew – he looked like a fish.

46. MikeJ - 19/05/2008

There were good patches in the play-offs but they are like cup-ties and no indicator of form. It’s going to be tough next season. Our true form cannot be measured over the whole season. We are now playing mid table at best; at worst with relegation form. As well as the teams coming down with cash and players that need to go back up, there are other big clubs with form and/or money. As we saw this season the thin line between success and failure is more prevelant in the Championship than any other Division. With Simpson looking for a buyer, he will not want to spend money on players. We have few saleable assets – maybe Shittu or Ellington at a loss. So we must develop our own talent and give young players such as Ainsworth a run. The priority now is to re-build confidence by playing football again. The question is, what has Aidy learned from the season?

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