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Watford 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (03/12/2008) 03/12/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Five thunks from the League Cup Quarter FInal

1- Enormous fun for ten minutes.  After that… echoes of both Premiership seasons.  A reasonable effort, not abject humiliation, but painfully inevitable for all that.

2- Why aren’t there any nasty bastards in our team any more?  Surely the most gentle, mild mannered Watford team in a long long while?  What would you have given for  a Heidar, a  Doris, a Tommy Mooney in the second half? 

3- What is the point of Tottenham?

4- For all that we should have been behind at half-time, soft penalty calls from bigclubcentric refs notwithstanding, the switch around of personnel gave us a much more convincing shape, even if Lee Williamson has never really “worked” in a wide position.   Tommy’s cleverness has rarely been wasted out wide, but Williamson is much more forceful in the thick of the action – seemed an odd way round to employ the pair.  Jenkins and Bridcutt in central midfield looked reasonably convincing mind.

5-  Aaron Lennon.  Ainsworth Deluxe.


1. meldrew - 03/12/2008

1. Wonderful goal from Priskin.
2. A spineless performance from McAnuff – the £1.75m player who can’t deliver a cross, shoot let alone score and worst of all appears to be a bottler and in my view pound for pound the biggest waste of money in our history after Nathan Ellington.
3. Graham Simpson not in the directors box.
4. Luther’s gone a bit grey 😦 I feel old.
5. We used to win games like that. I feel very old 😦

2. JohnF - 04/12/2008

I felt this was a much better performance than last Saturday and Bridcutt actually played as part of the team. Most of our players played well and we had a great start but 70 minutes of chasing the ball really tired them out.
My thoughts: Why can’t Notgoodanuff pass the ball?
Why does Demerit dive in (injuring himself)?
Lloyd really didn’t look up to it so it says a lot about Saddler.
Overall I hope Rogers has learnt from Saturday and will play to strengths but agree with you Matt about Smithy and Williamson. Hard game Saturday coming and we must win against Norwich.

3. stephen hoffman - 04/12/2008

i watched the game bridcutt was not convincing at all he was extremely poor i personally thought culminating in a ludicrous 30 yard shot. a massive bravo to harley who defended aaron lennon excellently . personally i thought the turning point was when jay had to go off -he was looking near to his best today and doyley came on along with ben for spurs- our defence looked much less assured then. As for bromby welcome back when he went to the centre he looked good -and although he weren’t exactly great going forward from right back – he was great defensively and as for the moron in the rous who was booing him -get a life – i might be biased here as my dad sponsored bromby last season -but surely after that performance he needs to stay in the team.

4. stephen hoffman - 04/12/2008

as for we need a couple of nasty players- i knows he’s not that popular -but the long forgotten eustace could fill that role.

5. DM - 04/12/2008

Following the sound reservations after Saturday, this was a step in the right direction at least – there was far less tippy tappy nonsense in that first 15 mins or so, and we got the ball forward quickly in a manner we didn’t manage on Saturday. But once Spurs got hold of us, our pre-Ted problems of lacking leadership and rocky defending lent an inevitable air to the final outcome.

Agree re:Bridcutt and Jenkins. Both played beyond their years, though when both tired in the second half, Watford looked leggy and the introduction of JJ O’T and Hoskins to pep us up a little was ten mins too late.

Once Ted works out that Smith and Williamson would be far better suited to this formation if they swapped positions, we should be fine going forward. While there’s no doubt Smith can play centrally, Williamson is wasted on the right. Our best two players this season should be the first names on the team-sheet and in positions which suit them both.

6. Dan - 04/12/2008

Re 2 – well there is Jon Harley, who is on course for an appearance before the FA to explain his disciplinary record this season. And of course John Eustace, though he seems somewhat out-of-favour.

4 – I thought Bridcutt was pretty terrible last night, maybe trying too hard to show what he could do for the camera.

5 – Bang on, but what does that make Jobi? He was on the receiving end of some unnecessarily harsh stick last night, but I think we have waited long enough for him to ‘come good’. Hoskins deserves to be starting.

Other thoughts… this was better, and it was good to see that Buck’s footballing principles do not preclude the use of the Bromby Bomb. Loach’s distribution was much improved (ie, not insane).

Entertaining comment from the bloke behind me when Gomes bowled the ball upfield: “Blimey, he can throw further than Richard Lee can kick it”.

Take another look at the cover of the programme, and tell me that it doesn’t capture Buck at precisely the moment he first sees Lloyd attempt to put the passing game into action.

We really need another centre-half if Jay is out-of-action for a while, and even if he isn’t. If it’s his back again that would be a worry as back injuries don’t tend to just disappear overnight. Hopefully other sides won’t be put off from agreeing to a loan deal given our impressive track record of sending people back crocked.

7. Pete - 04/12/2008

This was a step in the right direction until we ran out of puff and reverted to being a bit gay.
After we scored, and espectially after they equalised (with the exception of the 3 on 1 when Priskin should have fed Mariappa) it was all Spurs. We hardly had a sniff and the limited use of corners and our magnificant long throws (sic!), summed things up.

We gave it a go, but are not good enough to compete with any teams who have a bit of a brain.

I chuckled a bit when Doyley came on and reverted to Saturday with his first pass (back to Loach when the entire game was in front of him). It was like Lloyd had forgotten the year and was remembering what Vialli had taught him to do.

Hoskins came on far too late, Jenkins should have been replaced by the Wolves bound JJoT much earlier and like Matt said, while it was not humiliation, it was pretty inevitable.

8. Matt Rowson - 04/12/2008

Dan – agree that Eustace fits the bill, but Harley isn’t nasty he’s just petulant. All bar one of his bookings have been for stroppy revenge-hacks after he’s been fouled.

Agree about CBs, but SSN said groin injury for Demerit this morning.

Pete – I agree with your “we gave it a go” statement, but given that we’re not good enough to outplay Tottenham it frustrates me that we don’t have destructive players to fall back on. A frustrated part of me wanted Bangura on in the second half, not because he’s done anything recently to suggest that he’s worth a place, but just so we’d get in their faces a bit and give away a free kick that wasn’t the result of Phil Dowd wanting football to become a non-contact sport…

9. Johnny Boy - 04/12/2008

Much more encouraging performance – hasn’t that Priskin got some skill if he puts his mind to it.
Thought Bridcutt might become our ‘nasty bastard’ but he was more subdued last night.
Agree about Smith and Willo especially as Tommy has a good understanding with Mariappa who is slowly making that right side his own.
Finally, Ross Jenkins was name checked on 606 last night which was being done by Lovejoy who said he can remember his granddad taking him to see Ross Jenkins therefore he must be the oldest player in the league etc ( sound of presenter laughing at his own joke) joke

10. Ozzy Nige - 04/12/2008

Well after the debacle of last weekend i thought we were pretty damn terrific last night. Yes Spurs deserved to win, yes it was a soft penalty (but Jenkins is very young and no doubt he will learn) and shame Loach spoilt a great first half perfromance with a soft goal but otherwise i thought we perfromed well above our league position.
Agreed there is still some way to go in improving our performance but there is no shame in losing to a premiership team playing a nearly full strength team.
Agree with your comments re Doyley Mr Hoffman, maybe its time he moved on. Not knocking his endeavour just his skill and ability to pass the ball accurately…
Re Lennon – do you think he has ever stayed behind after training sessions to practice his crossing ability? Absolutely piss poor and i reckon his first half attempt on goal was just a miss hit cross.
Finally, there has been no slating of the manager yet. what’s going on?! Surely somebody is prepared to stick the knife in, afterall it’s now 2 games and no victories…

11. Matt B - 04/12/2008

It was an enjoyable evening, for the most part. Particularly that beating Watford in the League Cup seemed to matter soooo much to the supporters of “top five pretenders” Spurs. Whilst better than us, they really aren’t very good at all…

Have to say, though, that it felt weird that there was this big, full-house, televised cup game going on at the Vic whilst there is complete, utter secrecy about what the future holds for the future ownership of the club.

12. DM - 04/12/2008

I won’t dispute that the spine of the side needs toughening up at all, but I wouldn’t leave either Jenkins or Bridcutt out to make way for Eustace. While he certainly fits the bill as the nasty player, I’m not sure his legs are up to the job of getting around midfield for 90 minutes in the hurly burly of the Championship. He’s just that fraction too slow in everything he does, evidenced by the amount of free kicks he gives away among other things. The injuries he had earlier in his career have taken a heavy toll and I think we can see why Stoke only wanted to give him a one year deal.

13. RGW - 04/12/2008

The main reason we were under the cosh for much of the first half was because we were trying to play too much fanny football, Spurs would nip in and nick the ball, and we’d suddenly be outnumbered. Almost every single one of their attacks came from us giving possession away in dangerous areas.

Spurs were rubbish. Lots of flash-looking play, but they gave the ball away as much as we did and had little end-product. They were definitely there for the taking in the second half, it just needed us to step up our game a notch. But instead there didn’t seem to be any belief. And after Lampard’s interview, now we know why. What sort of team talk is it to say “Go on lads, get out there and avoid being humiliated”.

Bridcutt was OK for 30 minutes, but he then disappeared completely. I was looking for him to see what he was doing, and the game was mostly passing him by. He certainly wasn’t doing anything useful going forward, and he wasn’t effective in breaking up Spurs attacks, so what was he for? I wanted Hoskins on for him at half time, with TS and LW switching positions.

As already commented, the subs were much too late. Even so, Hoskins did more in 10 minutes than NotEnough in the rest of the game. A couple of nice first-time passes which didn’t quite come off, and made space nicely for a shot on target.

Why didn’t Loach come up for the corners in injury time? Who cares if he can’t head a ball to save his life, he’s big and might have posed a problem or two.

14. simmo - 04/12/2008

The overriding feeling is that for all the possession Spurs enjoyed and the chances they created, this was still a very winnable game.
In particular why were our set piece plays so predictable and poor when they have been such a good source of goals this season.

More worryingly, I wonder if anyone else heard Frank Lampard Snr’s interview after the game on 5Live. I am sure he said that the first aim was to avoid a heavy defeat. Forgive me for saying this but I always thought the first aim was to try to win. Maybe that is why he is a well paid advisor and I am in humble employment outside football.

15. NRC - 04/12/2008

Missed Donny so first view of the ‘new’ style of play and actually enjoyed what I saw, okay not good enough against opposition clearly better than us, but surely promising for the rest of the season – comments about getting the best use out of best players accepted? Liked the commitment (also evident against QPR) and the passing and use of wings and agree that Hoskins coming on earlier might have made it interesting.

16. Pete - 04/12/2008

Agreed. We needed (and arguably have done for some time) a nasty bastard who doesn’t mind mixing it up at one end or other of the field.

Rogers worries me. Before the game in a BBC interview, he asked whether or not he would target Gomez. He catagorically said he was not going do that as he was a good goalkeeper. The fact that we don’t target players – weak or otherwise – strikes me as ludicrous.

How does the old addage go – “Get in to them; to Fuck them up”.

Humourous, serious or otherwise, where are the nasty bastards who can get us out of this mess.
Like you, too much Williamson / Jenkins and not enough Hessy / Bangura.
Too much Moralee, not enough Heidar / Mooney
Too much Bromby, not enough Colin Foster.

17. JR - 04/12/2008

I’m having real trouble warming to Rodgers and last night epitomised why. A new manager, a winnable home game against local-ish Premiership opponents with the chance of a semi, poss against Burnely or Derby – all the ingredients for a rip-roaring, high octane-fueled night under the lights. Instead after we scored, we got a display of sterile insipidness. I’m sure they tried but the game just meandered away. I know we were chasing shadows in the second half we just didn’t do anything to get the crowd going. A thumping tackle, clenched fists to the Rookery, anything, to get the blood bubbling.

And that’s my concern. I know it’s only been two games but surely this is the time when the team is trying to impress. Pretty passing is all well and good but if that’s all I want to watch i’ll get a Setanta subscription and watch Arsenal. I go to football to get excited, depressed, angry, exhilerated, instead my first thought when Bent was scored was relief that it won’t go to extra time.

It doesn’t help of course that my impression of Rodgers is that little ole hoofball Watford have finally got someone to turn us into a ‘proper’ football team – after all he’s managed Chelsea ‘s reserves y’know.

I really really hope I’m wrong, but frankly I’m not sure if I really care at the moment.

18. Dan - 04/12/2008

Re Pete’s comment on the Rodgers “we won’t target Gomes” thing… if that’s really what he said then that is worrying. There is nothing wrong with targetting an opposition’s weak point – he may well be a decent keeper but he is also still low on confidence, and under pressure. When we got an early cross in I actually thought that this was going to be part of our game plan. Clearly not.

I remain very worried that the commitment to ‘the syle of play’ and the ‘footballing principles’ will become dogmatic, and that we may be expected to come over all righteous when we go down about playing the game the right way, regardless of the result.

Bollocks to that, I’m a Watford fan: I want to see some decent football, sure, but most of all I want to see us attack fast and early, get after people and – most importantly – win. If that inolves going direct every now and again, and getting the ball into the corners for territorial advantage, so be it.

19. stephen hoffman - 04/12/2008

eustace isn’t he had a few bad games , and became the booboy target , he hasn’t been given a chance recently and the second half of the season last year he was one of our best players -and you talk about fitness much as i think jenkins will be a great player -his fitness week in week out to play 90 mins is not there yet – eustace as he showed last season and for the first few games this season is . I also think harley is so much better at left midfield then mcanuff i would be tempted to give sadler another go.

20. Matt Rowson - 04/12/2008

Too right Dan.

Although one (more) valid justification for the lack of targeting Gomes was that we just don’t have the personnel any more. Ditto the limited value in hurling corners into the box. Who’s going to get their head to them? Had we had Doris or Shittu or ANYONE capable of hurling themself at a high ball it would have been a more productive avenue… who would you back to score a header in the current side? Priskin on a good day? O’Toole if his hair’s out of his face?

21. Mark - 04/12/2008

Hopefully Rodgers will see that McAnuf is of little use to our team and we are better when trying to attack rather than sitting back and inviting pressure which happened after Priskin’s well taken goal.

2nd half we battled well but lacked a cutting edge and we were always going to pay.

Better than Saturday though.

22. DM - 04/12/2008

Dan said – “I remain very worried that the commitment to ‘the syle of play’ and the ‘footballing principles’ will become dogmatic, and that we may be expected to come over all righteous when we go down about playing the game the right way, regardless of the result”

You mean, come over all Ipswich like ? No thankyou.

23. Gerry G - 04/12/2008

“Nasty bastards” – any chance of poaching Sir Tommy Moooooooooney from Wycombe, do you think? I’m not joking.

I remember us beating Spurs a few times, including the (in)famous 1-0 at Shite Hart Lane in our first Div 1 season way back when, when direct but skilful, incisive and exciting football really showed up the poncey, baroque, pointless fannying-about so beloved of Spurs and the TV Brians. If Clodagh is trying to turn us into that sort of team then he can fuck off right now before he does a Vialli.

So, to important matters: is it Clodagh, Roy, Trigger (think Roy), or Ted?

Pete: mentioning “gay” and “3 on 1” in successive sentences put some interest visions into my head :o)

24. stephen hoffman - 04/12/2008

we do have a target man , his name is raziak for some reason he hasn’t been given a chance lately + in the past bromby and demerit have shown themselves to be decent at heading.

25. Matt Rowson - 04/12/2008

Gerry G – no chance at all. Tommy left Wycombe in the summer and now plays for Marbella. Alongside Carl Cort. Yes, really.

Stephen… jeez, I’d forgotten that Rasiak even existed. Fair point. His absence for Donny was put down to “illness”… I can’t believe that he wouldn’t have even made the bench if fit. Seems fair to assume that we won’t be taking up our “option to sign” in Jan, tho, one way or another…. hence (perhaps) Saints’ listing two of their best kids today.

26. Dave Hart - 04/12/2008

Rumour has it that Eustace is off in the transfer window, possibly to QPR, according to one of their supporters. That might explain why he has not been in the team.

27. Jonathon - 04/12/2008

Was quite impressed with the atmosphere (at times) last night.

Even where I sit (Back row of the LR as close as you can get to Rookery) was stood up with me for most of the game!

I’ve been waiting for Priskin to (start to) prove me right since we signed him! He’s coming good at last!

28. derry pigweed - 04/12/2008

Much better performance than Doncaster last saturday,Priskin,Smith,Harley,Bromby and Loachy all played very well.Jobi Powderpuff I just wonder what Boothroyd saw in him? as his overall performance was awful ,in my opinion he has a lack of agrression,commitment,effort and strength and hasn’t shown any of these qualities at Watford.
Hopefully Watford can take this performance into future games and keep improving but we need an enforcer in the team.

29. Esp - 04/12/2008

Dan wrote: ““Blimey, he can throw further than Richard Lee can kick it”. – I requested Dan to put this on BHaPPY after the game when he told me that line so thank you for that Dan; I am so pleased that BHaPPY contributors take requests!!

I thought we put on a great account of ourselves last night but for Rodgers to mould the whole team around Bridcutt I think is wrong. he certainly did not have a great game. I also think our formation would work better if (as others have said) Williamson and Smith swapped positions. Smith has had his better games for us wide right (but he can and does swap sides with great effect too)

I also want to see Bridcutt at right back (where he has played at Yeovil) and my other requests would be for McAnuff to be permanently benched (we can’t sell him as nobody will buy him) and for Mariappa to move back to central defence. Why Doyley played there when he came on is beyond me

Scott Loach (despite the error) was my second MotM after Priskin for his 2 world class saves and ….Lennon?? Overrated on that showing and harley had him in his pocket for long periods of the game, some excellent marking

After that boost in confidence we just might give Birmingham a fright on Saturday I feel

30. Stuart - 05/12/2008

Disagree with point 4 Matt I’m afraid. Thought it was a stonewall penalty and also I just thought Bridcutt and Jenkins were lightweight in midfield. Bridcutt is a neat and tidy player who rarely gives the ball away, however his passing is often sideways or backwards and there just seems to be no cutting thrust to him. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong though. Jenkins is good, but still young so hopefully the Spuds game will be good experience for him.

Also in other news has anybody heard the rumour today that ‘Buck’ Rodgers may be ready to quit the club already and that we ARE in fact on the verge of some kind of financial meltdown after all…………not scaremongering or anything but it’s just something I’ve heard.

Merry Christmas to you all!

31. JohnF - 05/12/2008

Stuart, I saw the press rumour but we knew what the financial situation was before. The “financial meltdown” would come if we get relegated and cannot trim (actually slash) the wage bill. My guess is that if he goes he didn’t believe what he was told at interview – no money and players to go. The calculations are that we need to about halve the wage bill if we are to be sustainable, unless new money comes in to be thrown at the team with little hope of a return even in the medium turn. We certainly can’t afford to waste the huge amount we have on compensation with high backroom staff turnover and it isn’t clear just how big the admin side is. It is possible that the commercial arm, which is growing, pays its way. However, we are not alone and are much better than many. Have a look at the financial analysis on the Supporters Trust Website. The AGM on the 15th will be interesting.

32. Harefield Hornet - 05/12/2008


I shouted that comment about Gomes throwing the ball further than Lee can kick it during the match after his enormous bowl upfield. Do you sit in the LR in front of Row F by any chance!?

33. markymark - 05/12/2008

I fear that without Williamson & Demerit we are really going to struggle at Birmingham.Lets face it with Doyley & Mariappa BOTH likely to play the likes of McFadden,Jerome and that little whippersnapper Phillips are capable of giving us a torrid time.
Bricutt at RB is a good shout especially for tomorrow with O’Toole,Eustace ( even if he is off ) or Bangura alongside Jenkins in CM.I would also start with Hoskins ahead of JM as he far more of a goal threat and did get 2 away to mighty Burnley.
With our weakened squad ANY result would be good at St.Andrews

34. Dan - 05/12/2008

Harefield – no, I’m in the Rookery. You were clearly on the same wavelength as the guy behind me!

35. straightnochaser - 05/12/2008

It was actually Walsall that Mooney left in the summer, having departed Wycombe at least a year before that.

36. Toddy - 05/12/2008

Gerry G in answer to: is it Clodagh, Roy, Trigger (think Roy), or Ted?

I’m leaning towards lisa… have a funny feeling he’ll be much like her, ok to look at but, in terms of success, doesn’t amount to much. Hope i’m wrong…

37. markymark - 06/12/2008

Agreed Toddy Lisa Rodgers is a good shout as she likes football ( she was on the legendary “Under The Moon” several years ago ) and under her/him we are playing something approaching “fanny football”

38. jvr - 07/12/2008

Is anybody aware of a ‘cup points’ calculation ? We seem to have had made great deal of league/fa cup progress(certainly in the 30 odd years I’ve been going) and I wondered if its ever been done.
10 points for winning,8 for semi and so on. I’d be suprised if we had’nt fared much better than teams of a similar stamp to ourselves.

39. Esp - 08/12/2008

Toddy I think it should either be Clodagh due to both Brendan and the Irish songstress both having no visable means of support (Clodagh never wore a bra when she sang on Eurovision if I recall correctly and Brendan has lost his biggest support at the top, Simpson) OR it should be Ted because the most he will win this season is a Dusty Bin

I am also pretty sure on the touchline at St Andrews I saw him giving the famous 3-2-1 hand signal to our defence thus making “Ted” a favourite in my eyes

40. Sequel - 08/12/2008

Bidi, bidi, bidi, Buck!

41. Matt - 10/12/2008

> Gerry G – no chance at all. Tommy left Wycombe in the summer and now plays for Marbella. Alongside Carl Cort. Yes, really.

Not any more Mr Rowson – Carl Cort will be at Vicarage Road tonight with Norwich!!


42. Esp - 10/12/2008

Buck (happy Sequel?) may want to watch what he says or wishes for

At the post match conference after Aidy’s last match in charge (Watford v Blackpool 3-4 defeat) Simon Grayson tried to sound annoyed about some defensive lapses in the post match conference whilst dear old Boothroyd said (with no hint of irony) “there will be changes in personnel…”

Even the Sunday Times journalist summised that Boothroyd’s remark was “a dangerous statement” for a manager whose side were fourth from bottom of the Championship

Hindsight Eh??

Finally re: note 32 from harefield hornet – in case your remark was aimed at me rather than Dan – Yes I do sit in the Lower Rous and if you ant to say hallo that would be great. I sit at LRS4 Row D Seat 154

Where are you in relation to me?

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