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Watford 2 Swansea City 0 (17/02/2009) 17/02/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from the win over the Swans



2- How bloody hard did every single one of them work tonight?  In the process reducing a very evidently capable Swansea side to a pass-to-consequence ratio unseen at Vicarage Road since the departure of Vialli. 

3- Masterful stuff from Lloyd Doyley, Nathan Dyer disappearing into his pocket whither many have gone before him.

4- Enjoyed the squad huddle at the end of the game.  Any excuse for gratuitous fist waving (I don’t get out much…)

5- Good stuff from the Rookery.  Has anyone worked out what the first two lines of that song are yet…?


1. Vicarageroad - 17/02/2009

Hoist up the Watford Flag,
Hear the Hornets Sing !!!!!

2. Austin - 18/02/2009

Quite agree. What a sparkling performance all round. I know it’s been noted already, but it’s the first time I’ve seen Mike Williamson, and what a player! Exactly what we’ve been lacking at the back- a confident, huge, strong brute of a man, with ball playing skills as a nicely packaged added extra.

Does anyone know any of the words to that song???

3. vicroad - 18/02/2009

After watching Dyer against Fulham I was a little wary, now I think I must be stupid. Well done AGAIN Lloyd.

4. Dave Jackson - 18/02/2009

Awesome performance from the boys!
Palace, Burnley, Chelsea and now this…things are looking up at the Vic.
The boy Cork was outstanding and inspirational…if we could get him to stay for another season that would be a result.

5. moose badge - 18/02/2009

thunk 5 been stuck in my head since saturday


6. moose badge - 18/02/2009


7. JohnF - 18/02/2009

Great performance and very enjoyable once we got to grips with their midfield. Lloyd was excellent and Williamson in defence makes a massive difference; hard to believe he was playing in the second division until a few weeks ago. Cowie looks very useful and McAnuff really worked hard and consistently beat defenders. Smith back to his best and Mariappa played so well at right back. Jack Cork is a fine player now, in a few years, wow!Great team performance. Only sour note was Lee Williamson’s stupid revenge challenge that could have resulted in a red card. Wasn’t the ref good. Really had his finger on the pulse and saw everything, gaining the respect of both sets of players and fans.

8. Dave P - 18/02/2009

I think the first line is “hoist up the Watford flag” but I struggle with the rest ’til the last line.

I really enjoyed last night’s game, Lloyd and Corkie were fantastic!

One thing I’m noticing with Rodgers is he doesn’t seem as stubborn as Aidy. He has taken both Bridcutt and Hoyte out of the team when neither as looked as impressive as hoped

9. Winslow 'Orn - 18/02/2009

That was simply magnificent. The sight of McAnuff and Priskin chasing back into our defensive half to shut down opponents is enough to warm the cockels of many a hardened Hornet’s heart!

10. Kris - 18/02/2009

I had to stop following the math online during the second half. I was so afraid we’d throw it away but thankfully we didn’t. Onwards and upwards I feel.

11. Nick - 18/02/2009

If “that song” you’re referring to is the one that ends in “Don’t want to go home” the opening lines are “Hoist up the Watford flag, hear how the Hornets sing”

12. Matt Rowson - 18/02/2009

JohnF, please tell me that you’re joking about the ref. I resisted a thunk, since reflecting on the ref’s performance often misses the point but seeing as we won…. no, he didn’t command respect. He came down hard on nothing challenges early on, then left himself nowhere to go when it did get feisty. By the end of the first half he had completely lost all sembalnce of control and half time, not his control of things, remedied the situation. With two different teams involved, the game could have ended in carnage.

13. Andy - 18/02/2009

What a great game, quick and fluid passing and looking dangerous going forward. Williamson at the back has really stabilised things and I think Demerit is getting his form back with a big bloke next to him again.

I thought the ref generally had a stinker, he didn’t seem to “see” much of what was going on.

Get in!

14. Somerset 'orn - 18/02/2009

Great stuff last night.

The changes to the the starting lineup reflected the selection headaches that Rodgers now faces; there’s genuine competition for places and he seems to have transformed a paper-thin squad low on confidence into an agile and adaptable unit. Mariappa back to right back, Hoskins on the bench, Rasiak nowhere to be seen – if it hadn’t gone so well these would have been construed as selection errors. But the end result was the most cohesive, combative and compelling team display we’ve seen for a long while. And we defended as a team, exactly as Rodgers said we should – Swansea are a tidy team but we reduced them to wildly thrashing long range efforts at the corner flag.

And Lloyd Doyley. Faultless again. It’s a confidence thing and we suddenly seem to have ours back.

Watford and Rodgers looked for all the world like a doomed relationship until the Burnley game, but there are genuine signs that we’re getting to know each other and might yet make a happy couple. The Rookery were even singing his name, and the on-pitch display of togetherness at the end was heartwarming.

Hopefully we’ve got enough about us now to get out of trouble sooner rather than later. An upturn in away form next please, starting Saturday.

15. ApperleyOrn - 18/02/2009

Games under the lights always seem to produce 10 times the atmosphere of the usual sleepy Saturday 3pm stuff – so I find it massively frustrating that I can very rarely get along to these midweek matches.

Listening in on the radio last night I have to say I have not heard such a noise from the Rookery since, well, a very long time ago. It is also probably the first time in a long while that I have listened to a game and felt absolutely certain that we would win.

Can we play all of our games at 7.45pm on a Saturday please so that I can get along and we benefit from the whole evening atmosphere thing?

16. SteveG - 18/02/2009

Hugely enjoyable evening, with the transformation from our own dismal pass-to-consequence ratio at Reading only a few weeks ago being remarkable. The signings in the transfer window have been well thought out and we now have a squad with genuine options. Agree with the plaudits for Cork and the promising start for Cowie, but the absolutely critical difference for me has been the signing of Mike Williamson. Where there was previously panic and periodic kamikaze lapses in position, we now have composure and organisation. We did have a few wobbly moments – but we never looked like surrendering a two goal lead and had the cover in the right places at the right times. In turn, this means we can just enjoy Lloyd’s splendid defending rather than agonise abut dodgy distribution leading to a goal conceded.

This team won’t go down!

17. simmo - 18/02/2009

Agree with all that has been said about this match and I realise one result doesn’t make a season but just re-read the Reading thunks and comments in January. Humble pie anyone? Large slices being handed out.

18. Wat4Steve - 18/02/2009

1 – I have been critical in the past of both Lloyd and Jay back last night it was difficult to fault either player. Doyley in particular was outstanding and I can’t remember a match where he was consistently better. Still not convinced either has a long term future at the club and it wasn’t that long ago Brendan tried to off load Jay to Charlton.

2 – Pairings part 1, despite my criticism of Jay has have always said he has played his best football along side a dominant commanding centre half. Perhaps Williamson can be this player and bring the best out Jay once more, if Jay is to have a long term future at the club surely he needs to restructure his reported £400K a year contract.

3 – Pairings part 2, well Tamas and Tommy both scored last night so many of you will find this comment barking, but I still don’t like the look of the two together, for me they both drop into deep position and like to collect the ball. I would rather play once of them with a forward that will stretch the play. At times the ball went into the channels and neither player looked interested in running after it.

4 – The referee what a W*****! I half expected him to come out in a Welsh shirt after half time. Jobi deserved more protection than he got talking of which I think he has been sensational since Brendan arrived. It’s amazing what showing a bit of confidence in player can do to his morale although another high wage earner. Come on boys if you really love the club and want to stay lets sort out new deals on realistic money. (Smith, Jobi, Jay)

5 – All of a sudden the squad looks strong. Hoyte, Williamson, Hoskins and Harley on the bench Cauna, Banguara and Rasiak in the background (still lack a bit of cover at the back). A couple of positive results in the next couple of weeks and I think we should soon start to climb the table. I am actually starting to look forward to going to football again!

19. JohnF - 18/02/2009

Of course Matt. You must be getting too many weird views to be comfortable with irony, not your fault. Won’t do it again, promise.

20. Matt Rowson - 18/02/2009

i’d stand by those thunks to be honest simmo. we’ve not followed a steady trajectory or development since Reading, I’d argue that we’ve become a LOT more pragmatic and have much more bite.

21. DM - 18/02/2009

Oh. My. Goodness. Last night was utterly splendid. Best performance of the season so far. The green shoots of Watford’s recovery as a club are there for all to see. The huddle at the end really warmed the cockles and the board, players and staff seem to be actively trying to re-crate the club ethos that Mark Ashton did his best to destroy. The fans are buying in to it, that new song (though i can’t work out ANY of the words from where I sit…) is helping, long may that continue.

I’ve been critical of Rodgers so far, but you have to take your hat off to him for being far sighted enough to move away from his beliefs. Reverting to 4-4-2 has saved our season. Dave P is spot on – this time last year, Boothroyd’s stubborn-ness derailed our already faltering promotion bid. Had Rodgers been as stubborn, we’d be well adrift by now. I’m starting to believe he could be the right man for the job and a few more games like last night, I’ll be shouting his name from the roof-tops.

And what a team he is starting to mould. Mike Williamson looks a snip at £125,000 and has galvanised the back four just like we hoped, while Doyley is becoming an absolute revelation at left back. Eagles a couple of weeks back, now Dyer, have spent large portions of the night in Lloyd’s pocket. The cheer when Dyer was taken off said it all.

Jack Cork – what a player. He was excellent again last night. He is as complete a central midfield player as I’ve seen in a yellow short since Johnno. There’s not a weakness in his game as far as I can see. His Chelsea contract is up in the summer – here’s hoping they off-load him and Brendan is waiting to snap him up.

22. Nick - 18/02/2009

“Jobi deserved more protection than he got talking of which I think he has been sensational since Brendan arrived.”
I know where you’re coming from Wat4Steve – there has been a marked change in his attitude and effort but the end product is still so often lamentable for a player of his experience. Apart from the cross for the 2nd goal I thought he was fairly ineffective in the final 1/3 last night. His shot straight into the keepers gloves in the last 10 minutes (after all the good footwork in the approach) was sadly predicatble.

23. DM - 18/02/2009

Just re-read the Reading thunks. No pie for me, thanks Simmo. if anything, what’s happened since only strengthens my points.

24. Back from Hammerau - 18/02/2009

As others have said it was an enjoyable evening against a team who didn’t look like they were on a 3-month unbeaten run. (I wonder what one of those feels like.)
Mike Williamson is a ‘proper’ Watford signing and I reckon he’s our best buy for years.

25. simmo - 18/02/2009

Sorry Matt R – I meant Sheffield United rather than Reading. However after that game I was also part of the “sack the manager” brigade so I am happily chomping on my humble pie.

I may be taking things to the extreme but if we kept this squad together I feel that we would have a great chance of promotion next year.

26. DW - 18/02/2009

Wonderful wonderful stuff. There was structure, passion, skill, guts, cohesion and that was just from Doyley. Like most fans I will support the shirt but there is something special about Lloyd.

It is such a shame that our pitch is so difficult to play on. The £500K per year the egg chasers pay plus all the beer and food money they generate equals the wages of 4 good players a season. However the style that Rogers is trying fashion would be so much easier on a flat grassy pitch.

27. Johnny Boy - 18/02/2009

Very difficult to make any meaningful thunks when you enter the party late i.e. the next morning so I’ll just agree with everyone and say what a great night and to the contributor who thinks Lloyd hasn’t a long term future at Watford – I think you are right because on current form one of the premiership boys will be after him!
Couple of other observations;
– Would any of us have picked that back four? Maybe that Brendan boy knows what he is doing.
– What was up with Tommy, from always being fairly quiet to talking/argueing with the ref etc – seems to have worked, back on the score sheet and more involved.
– Thought Scott’s kicking was much improved as has his all round game. Also, that throw down the middle in the first half had a touch of the Ben Foster effort on Sunday for Ronaldo’s dissallowed goal.
– Sitting in the Lower Rouse, I don’t know what the words are of that ‘song’ but the lilting sound eminating from the Rookery is fairly pleasant to us old codgers as I remember the original, and I don’t mean the Beach Boys but the Kingston Trio. I ‘ve just realised that I’ve used the word ‘lilting’ in reference to singing from the Rookery – Nurse, bring me my medication.

Come on Watford !!!

28. Jamie - 18/02/2009

So credit when due, McAnuff on the basis of the last month has started to deliver a bit more. More tenacity, more aggression, more end product. Well done that man.

Cowie I would have liked to have seen more of and I’m glad that he was kept on. Certainly looks full of running but I don’t recall many times he got round the back of the defence. Is he perhaps more suited to a central role?

Very disappointed at 2-0 up that when we had a free kick 30 yards from goal that we didn’t have a pop or a shot. We fan’s deserve to be entertained and the best way of beating the opposition is to go 3-0 up rather than stay at 2-0. Our long range shooting is generally poor but you’re not going to improve if you don’t have a go!

Great atmosphere also. Suddenly that Soton postponement to a Tuesday night is looking a good idea.

29. Somerset 'orn - 18/02/2009

Simmo – I’m quite happy eating humble pie if it means we get to watch performances like that. I was calling for Rodgers head at the time.

But Matt’s right, at the time of the Reading game the sudden change in tactics and the pragmatic approach couldn’t have been predicted. So I stand by what I said as well, if for no other reason than we’re not out of the woods yet, and the points we threw away in Rodgers first ten or so games while he neglected to play to the squad’s strengths may still come back to haunt us.

But on the evidence of the last 5 performances, Rodgers IN!

30. Harefield Hornet - 18/02/2009

Absolutely great stuff. Not trying to be wise (We all know I’m not!) after the event but a glance at the league table yesterday revealed Swansea had only won the same amount of games at home as us and won four away compared to our one. They are draw specialists – and I wasn’t as terrified of them as some people I know.

Having said that we were magnificant. This team is young and energetic, Williamson was a rock at the back and although its unfair to single people out after such an immaculate team performance, Cork was different class.

Onwards and upwards.

Now for that away form………………………..

31. Wat4Steve - 18/02/2009

Agreed, whilst there has been some improvements there is a long way to go before we can say Brendan has turned it round. To be honest I think we are back to playing how we were playing before Rodgers took over.

32. Nashinho - 18/02/2009

The song is originally by the beach boys – Sloop john B.


Also used by Bohs fans in Ireland.

I love it already!!
It’s been a long time without a “song of our own”.
OR have we just nicked it from another club?

33. David, Aylesbury - 18/02/2009

Best performance of the season. Top marks to Brendan because his tactics were absolutely spot on. Fine flowing football when we were in possession and lots of hard work and chasing when we didn’t have the ball – I’ve never seen McAnuff chase back and defend as much as he did last night.

Every player had at least a 7 out of 10 night and Lloyd was superb though probably Jack Cork pipped him for man of the match – what a player he is already and still only 19.

Play like this and we don’t need to worry about relegation.

34. Adam J - 18/02/2009

Football fans, how fickle we are. Brend, what a man!

35. Dan - 18/02/2009

Really, really good. And credit to Buck for the team selection – I would not have dropped Hoskins (or maybe he was still feeling the knock from Saturday), but it worked and Smith looked good tucked in behind Priskin. It certainly allowed him to see a lot of the ball.

The midfield was awesome, we knew what Swansea were going to do before they did and consequently got there first. Surely a Premiership side will be in for Cork if Chelsea let him go?

As has been said, Doyley was absolutely outstanding.

Competition for places, goals, clean sheets, group hugs…. Looks like we ought to be ok now. What a contrast to a month or so ago.

As has also been said, the Beach Boys didn’t write Sloop John B. I believe it is “trad.” but I am happy to be corrected.

36. Richard S - 18/02/2009

I wasn’t sure about the team selection, in particular leaving out Hoskins and wondered if it was paying Swansea, albeit a decent and in-form side, too much respect. Fair play to BR though, it turned out to be spot on, with outstanding performances all over the pitch.

37. St.A 'orn - 18/02/2009

Re: Sloop John B.

A traditional folk song, made famous by the Kingston Trio before the Beach Boys (as ‘Jonny Boy’ said).

It hurts me to say: it’s been sung at old trafford for a while, but it’s good fun and keeps the atmosphere going. Let’s make it our own!

38. ramsgate horn - 18/02/2009

Fine game,best live game ive seen at the vic this season,in terms of the result and the performance.We reduced a decent outfit to long range shooting and although they kept the ball well, they never hurt us. LOACH good shot stopping when called upon,MARIAPPA steady effective.DOYLEY steady again DEMERIT powerful in the air, won tackles had Scotland in his pocket, M WILLIAMSON no nonesense won headers and tidied up well. COWIE goog crosses CORK excellent , JENKINS snapped, ratted grafted a fine young midfielder,MACANUFF in my book he set up the goals and really worked hard chasing and tackling back.SMITH created and scored,PRISKIN fine goal led line well. mom contenders ; macanuff, cork doyley but demerit piskin also excellent SWANSEA kepy ball well but renderes toothless and only created half chances which never troubled loach onwards and upwards lets get the wins to keep us up NASCHINO re 82-3 LIVERPOOL H 2-1 scorer for us martin patching then a grobbelar og which has also been sometimes given to blissett for them craig johnston.

39. Lesley-Anne - 18/02/2009

Yes, what a great evening, the best in a while!!! It feels like we’ve turned the corner and the group huddle at the end was good to see.

Let’s hope we can carry the confidence through to Blackpool on Saturday as we definitely need to improve our away record. If we can do that and chalk up a few wins in a row we’ll be ok. Here’s hoping!!!

40. Nashinho - 18/02/2009

In 31 above Wat4Steve says “To be honest I think we are back to playing how we were playing before Rodgers took over.”

Does anyone else completely disagree with that?
I am amazed to actually be watching a Watford side that even attempts to pass the ball let alone actually succeeds some times.
Plus the football played has given us some amazing goals recently – you know, the ones which make you turn to your neighbour and say DID YOU SEE THAT?

This has been a bit of a culture shock and I’m sure BR was tempted to say in the very early days that it is not just the players that need educating, but also the fans.

Well, I’m all for change – it has been suggested that BR is dogmatic in his approach, but wasn’t GT?

While I’m on change, how about the atmosphere. In my opinion we have never been particular vociferous in our support, but maybe we can change that as well while we are at it.

I think our club has been associated with long ball football (rightly or wrongly) in a negative sense for a long time. When it was effective I loved it. We also have not been too vocal – remember GT berating us for not getting behind the team, and then instead of us responding positively HE had to backtrack and say sorry!
I am quite happy for both of these things to change, even at my advanced age.

It could be the best trip we’ve ever had.

41. Kris - 18/02/2009

Someone else mentioned the selection made by Rodgers. When I saw the starting lineup my first thought was “Brendan you fool”. No Hoskins is bad enough but Mariappa at right back – surely you’re having a laugh. Brendan went for De-De-De ahead of Hoyte? Surely a misprint? Well, thank God I don’t have a say when it comes to team selection.

And what about the strength of our squad? Our subs bench yesterday was: Lee, Hoyte, Hoskins, Harley and Willo mk1. We didn’t even have room for Rasiak and we have Caunas coming in as well probably. For all the lack of cash, Brendan seems to have a stronger squad than Aidy had at the start of the season. Eg. Fulham have been looking at Willo mk1 and he can’t even make it into our starting 11?

42. derry pigweed - 18/02/2009

All the players performed well and as a team,Lloyd was very good again,Cork was my M.O.M. and nice to see Smudger in the mix with one asssist and one goal,Tamas was Tamas, does very little but scores, every team needs a Tamas whether it is mini-soccer or premiership look at Man utd and Berbatov!
Well done Watford/Brendan now let’s kick on!!!

43. MartinG - 18/02/2009

As one of the critics after the Sheff Utd game I’ll eat my humble pie. The team is much stronger now. Cork and Jenkins were dominant in midfield and Lloyd has gone up about 3 levels in the past few weeks. Fantastic last night.

And thanks Moose Badge that song’s words have been a complete mystery until now. Good addition to the repertoire.

44. Sequel - 19/02/2009

From my lino’s-eye-position in the Lower Rous, I get a pretty good view of offsides, sneaky shirt pulls and other indiscretions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there must be some kind of foggy force field which descends every time a bloke with a flag jogs towards the corner. How else do you explain the officials we’ve seen this season? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Smudger so animated as he was against Swansea. Demerit must have used up a few lives, aswell, questioning strange decisions. Still, a win’s a win, and the officials can now slink back to the Watford Sunday League from whence they probably came.

45. Walker (R) - 19/02/2009

As Dave P says (8.), it’s a manager’s ability to reflect, adapt, change and re-invent that’ll make or break him.

Having been a Rodgers sceptic – purely by his early actions, missives and mumbled mutterings – I feel he really could be the right man at the right time rather than the right man at the wrong time as I was billing.

I’m a confirmed Ray Lew fan because I like to judge achievements in a relative sense (i.e. £3.7m wage budget compared to AB’s £8m rising to £17.6m) and I now see a chance for Brendan to return the football side of things (and ultimately the whole club) back nearer the fans like RL did post-Vialli.

We’re not the best team in the world, we’ll never be the best team in the world but the Swansea game showed how much enjoyment can be garnered from giving everything.

The crowd got the players going who got the crowd going who got… you get the idea.

I’m certain, as the great new song says, I won’t have to “sing on my own” in the Rookery in future games.

You ‘Orns.

46. Esp - 19/02/2009

I am sure there have been better games at the Vic but as Dave M has rightly said it was by far the best performance of the season and that goes for the away games I have witnessed too.

Team selection, formation, applicatiion, substitutions and crowd atmosphere (Swansea fans played their part) were all spot on

Plus what a wonderful and humble manager they have, what a guy and it’s great to see someone not trotting out the same tired old excuses about the pitch and/or the officials. He gave credit where it was due. Good on him and for that alone I wish Swansea well for the season. At times they were a joy to watch (and that statement is based on seeing all 3 matches live this season)

I haven’t got as many games under my belt as some on here but if you leave the play off finals and away matches out of the equation the game is up there with the Crystal Palace play off semi final (for atmosphere) and the Portsmouth game in recent memory for pure entertainment at Vicarage Road

47. Wat4Steve - 19/02/2009


Did you go to Bristol City away?

48. Wat4Steve - 19/02/2009

or the QPR home game? I seem to remember playing some decent footy under AB also, how about Ipswich at home?

Our trouble has always been our defence and now Buck has been allowed to bring in a right back and a centre half we seem to be improving in that region, and the addition of Cork is a massive boost. I understand we have an agreement to have him next year too but I guess that depends what happens at the Bridge although can’t imagine him being ready for their first team just yet.

Oh……. Didn’t AB try to bring in a right back and a centre half only to be told no! Lets be honest you didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to work our what our weakness’’ were / are.

Amazing how some people only remember what they want to. Not trying to be anti Buck but lets not get too carried away we need some consistency and I hope it starts Saturday we have a run of 7 or 8 games where we need to get 5 or 6 wins if we are to get clear of the drop zone.

49. SteveG - 19/02/2009

The turn around has been very welcome, but let’s not overdo the humble pie factor. We looked to be in very serious trouble a few weeks ago. For whatever reason, whether it’s because of a frank discussion with the players, a word in the ear from Malky, Frank or GT, or because Brendan’s an intelligent man who’s flexible and learns quickly, there has been a dramatic change. We weren’t wrong to be worried about the potential for disaster through a dogmatic insistence on 4-5-1 with Priskin as a lone striker (this just wasn’t working) or for a passing game that went nowhere. The change of system has given us much more cutting edge and restored the attacking threat. The exciting goals have often come from fast and purposeful counter attacking – good passing, to be sure, but not passing for the sake of it. Indeed, as has been mentioned, the one time when ‘keep ball’ would have been a real bonus, in the last ten minutes against Palace, was the time when our passing ability seemed to have deserted us. So, all credit to Brendan for seeing the light and strengthening the squad with some bargain basement deals, but let’s not fall for the argument that he had it right all along and we were wrong to be concerned.

50. Nashinho - 19/02/2009

Johnny Boy,

The attached link to the Kingston Trio version should bring back very pleasant memories.
This is a fantastic version of the song.

51. Adam J - 20/02/2009

Mike Williamson, the best signing since one Thomas William Smith?

52. Old Git - 20/02/2009

Yes Nashinho, there are surely plenty of us who can remember the 2-1 home win against Liverpool in 1983. It was the last match of the season, our first season in Division One and arguably, our finest moment. Liverpool were already crowned as Champions and our victory was made all the sweeter at the final whistle when we learnt that Man Utd had lost 2-3 at Notts County. This meant we leapfrogged the Red Filth and finished runners-up. Cue: unrestrained dancing in the stands.
Yes, it was Notts County who beat Man Utd. In those days, the gate receipts for League games were shared between the participating clubs. This was based on the reasonable assumption that you need two clubs to play a match so a 50-50 split was fair. However, in response to lobbying by the Big Clubs, the rule was changed shortly afterwards to enable the home club to keep all the money. So United would keep everything from a gate of c50,000 from their home game with County… and County would keep everything from the 10,000 or so they could accomodate for their home match with United. Bugger the idea of sharing! Inevitably, clubs like Notts County, Swindon, Brighton, Oxford etc. all of whom made it the the top division through good management, dropped out of contention as the Greedy Boys got greedier and bigger. Running a football club became less of a sport and more of a marketing exercise.
It’s been very instructive to see the cricket administrators bitten on the arse as a result of their recent greed…it would be most gratifying to see something similar happen to football.

53. Mike S - 20/02/2009

Great game, smashing song, an’ everything… but is it really beyond us to sing something that is just ours, rather than something that has already been reverberating around Old Trafford for months? We don’t need intricate lyrics – they can develop over time if you like, a la Delilah. We just need to pick a song and a tenuous reason and sing it from now until the end of time. ‘Fraid I can’t get excited about singing an adapted manyoo anthem.

I often defend referees – I’ve even stood up for Stuart Attwell. But the best I can say about this guy is that he wasn’t quite as atrocious in the 2nd half as the first.

54. Simon in Oz - 21/02/2009

Dear Old Git,
Your post says everything I feel about English footy these days. All money and no Glory. At least in Oz we have a nice little league without huge, ridiculous gobbets of cash – like the 1980s in UK.
The global financial thingy may yet see your schadenfreude of a big-club fallover. However, don’t forget Leeds have already shown the way?
Despite the above I will get up in the middle of the night to listen to 3CR and the boys in yellow.

55. Johnny |Boy - 23/02/2009

Thank you Nashinho, brought back some pleasant memories – bhappy, now an old boys golden oldies music site!!!!! — sorry Matt
Come on Watford

56. Back from Hammerau - 23/02/2009

Adam J – Given the meagre sum paid for Mike Williamson and the immediate transformative effect of his arrival, is he a better signing than Tommy Smith?

Mike S – Isn’t it the Watford way to use other people’s tunes? (a la Z Cars)

Personally I don’t care what we sing. I just rejoice in the fact we’ve been given something to sing about and it’s certainly preferablt to stuuf referring to an irrelevance who’ll be in the Conference in August.

57. Old Git - 23/02/2009

Mike Williamson has started brilliantly but just hold on a moment. Remember Paolo Vernazza? We thought he was the best player ever in the whole world ever, in the history of the universe, just after his debut.

For a week or two.

58. Nashinho - 23/02/2009

My apologies. I have not been to as many games as you recently.
You are correct that everyone knew the problem areas, and fortunately someone was eventually allowed to address them.
I allowed 2 good performances to overawe perhaps.

I still think matches now compared to then are like chalk and cheese though.

How was Blackpool?

Old git – thanks for your lucid comments about the way football has gone.
However my query wasn’t about Liverpool (which I remember very well) but about Swansea at home in 82/83.
I can not remember that game, but know we won 2-1.
That was the last time we played them at the Vic before last Tuesday.

59. JohnM - 24/02/2009

Looking back at the seventies and eighties it did seem far less complicated before television, billionaires and big money—certainly us supporters seemed more important to clubs in those far-off days. Isn’t it odd that, since bucketloads of money flooded into football with television, so many more clubs now go into financial meltdown. Yet in the 1950’s to end of the 80’s virtually every league club survived (with only one or two exceptions) without anything but token TV money, gate receipts and the occasional local donation or loan. Usually clubs were run by local businessmen as a hobby—no foreign investments–with just the occasional showbusiness personality. Now we have, at the top level, the same four clubs, and wild television excitement when a fifth club makes a challenge. Increasing numbers of top flight clubs, despite the flood of television money, now rely on foreign billionaires and speculative investors to survive, together with inflated ticket prices. Yes, at the lower levels of the leagues, clubs are still run the old way, but the sense of a supporter belonging to a club is dissappearing, to a growing extent, from the top levels downwards, like water draining downwards through a column of sand.

Indeed, it is true that we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.

60. JohnF - 25/02/2009

JohnM, Some excellent points. Other problems arise from this, and we have seen some of the consequences at Watford with the hangers on who came in to see the premier league and who demanded sucess no matter the reality. The BBC blog on Charlton also picks up a theme of fans wanting more when it isn’t sensible. Charlton were fairly comfortable but there was unrest about insufficient ambition. Most fans don’t care about where the money comes from and are very short-term in their view. Unfortunately some club managers and directors have the same short view with potentially disastrous consequences. We have been there twice.
I think the FA sold football out in complying with the demands of the big four or five clubs in forming the premier league, which is now out of their control. Unfortunately the big clubs also have a massive say in the FA and they will always make sure that their clubs come first. Now we have big clubs that are foreign owned, managed by foreigners and play almost exclusively foreign players with little opportunity for UK players to come up through their academies. The fans are primarily a source of additional cash and have become “customers” rather than an integral part of the club.
Watford is at least trying to avoid this.

61. Old Git - 25/02/2009

I too have only a blurred recollection of that 1982-3 Swansea game, Nashinho. Swansea, of course, matched our progress up the Divisions and in fact arrived at the First Division a season before we did. John F’s posting about short-termism is relevant here, because the Swans, under the guidance of well-known enlightened thinker John Toshack, achieved their success largely with a squad of superannuated Liverpool players whose careers were at an end. Consequently, when age caught up with them there was nothing left and their crash back through the divisions was equally rapid, with two successive relegations, a brief two-season stop in Division 3 and then collapse to back from whence they came. GT’s Watford, meanwhile, had been planning for the future with Barnes, Callaghan, Jackett, Terry and others emerging (Tom Walley’s role was crucial in this respect) to play their part in our Golden Age.

62. GraemeB - 25/02/2009

Did anyone go to the fans forum? Judging by the report on the WFC website it would be hard to imagine a more pointless exercise — bland comments from the suits with all sorts of tosh about commitment. Most questions seemed to be answered with “we’ll be looking at that.” Did a single noteworthy fact emerge?

63. JohnM - 26/02/2009

Just in passing, I, too, have only vague recollections of that Swansea match—the astonishing Sunderland match which closely followed it seems to have erased memories of the preceeding matches—Watford won 3-0 at home to West Brom between Swansea and Sunderland and I have no memories of that match whatsoever. Oddly, I remember nothing of the Swansea game itself, but I remember the Swansea warm-up, and the daunting physical size of their players, and I clearly remember leaving the ground thinking how lucky the Swansea staff and players must be feeling to have lost by such a small margin. Must have been a good performance!

64. Adam J - 26/02/2009

I still like Paolo Vernazza. Maybe we can get him on loan?

65. Dave Hart - 26/02/2009


On the contrary, the forum proved to be of excellent value. First of all, I had a tour of the academy, which is clearly one of the best in the country, if not the best.

I got to ask three questions at the forum, obtaining a clear answer on one (Bennett won’t be offered a new deal), they haven’t decided what is going to happen to the dugout yet, and a lot of players are out of contract in the Summer, including Kabba, Poom and Williams, which suggests that none of them will be offered new deals. You could argue that this was almost common knowledge already, but confirmation from the horses mouth is always good.

I also got to speak to Rodgers about Prikin, Robinson, and the offside trap, as well as Loach not coming out for crosses.

Louie Lavers’ injury is also not as bad as first thought.

Oh, and everyone at the school wears uniforms with the Watford badge on!

My only surprise was that there were fewer people in the audience asking questions than I thought there would be.

66. Royston RoF - 27/02/2009

JohnM (63)

IIR the West Brom had a torrential downpour just after half time and it looked at one time as if the game would be abandoned, but the referree continued and was prooven correct when the sun came out.

I suppose some one out there will now tell me it was night game 😉

67. Back from Hammerau - 27/02/2009

GraemeB – Nothing much came out of the business half of the Forum, other than a promise from the CEO not to make any promises and dissent amongst the directors as to what the surprise about Andy Wilson’s resignation was – either the timing or the fact that he was also stepping down from the board.
It was the first time I heard the Russos speak, but for me it was mainly a chance to hear BR speak and get a better feel for the sort of person he is. I must say I was impressed.

68. Esp - 27/02/2009

Dave Hart if you asked 3 questions that means with my 3 questions we probably were responsible for 20 per cent of the answers! (Sorry I missed saying hallo)

2 of my questions were answered by Brendan, the first about his reaction to fans booing (he was forthright about it being our right to vent our displeasure and he has told the players they if they perform we won’t boo, simple) and the second was about the positions he was still looking to strengthen

My other question was answered by Julian Winter and that was about Lord Ashcroft’s long term commtment to WFC and is it not unusual for the biggest shareholder (with Wilsn gone) not to have representation on the board?

He answered that no board member was aware of how commited LA was to the club and that it was NOT unusual for a large shareholder not to have a board position

Having spoke to Brendan myself after ther forum, like back from hammerau I too was impressed with the man and he took time to thank me for my questions which was a nice touch. He is self confident and intelligent but certainly no egotist – I think he will have learned a lot from Mourinho but he is definitely his own man and I would suggest he doesn’t suffer fools either

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