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Watford 0 Queens Park Rangers 2 (30/04/2011) 30/04/2011

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from the last home game of the season.

1- Glossing over the other stuff for the moment and focusing on, you know, the game of football taking place on the pitch… it wasn’t bad, was it? Far better, far more competitive than might have been feared given a home side with ostensibly little to play for and visitors only needing a point. It could easily have been a shocker. Instead, whilst it was never as open as the first meeting between the two sides – Rangers weren’t going to fall into that trap again, let alone in this context – it was feisty and committed, if frequently scruffy and untidy. Colin may have indulged in a foreign prima donna, but he hasn’t thrown out his modus operandi completely. Two sides who didn’t want to concede, but nonetheless sent units rattling forward chasing a crucial goal, as if playing Kabbadi. The chances came at both ends; as at Leicester, perhaps more so, it could have gone our way. Certainly as Sean Murray prepared to enter the fray for a sprightly, encouraging and long-awaited debut we were in the ascendancy, the side more likely to. Instead, Rangers nicked the lead, and that was that. The game was always going to run away from us if we went behind, and the magnificent Tommy Smith put the seal on it with a fine second. Nonetheless, there was far more to the game than the one-sided romp that some reports have suggested; on this occasion, however, the context and the peripherals were more important than what actually happened on the pitch.

2- And the context of course is that Rangers would appear to have won promotion and the title, subject to the coming week’s proceedings. On the subject of which… it seems inconceivable that a points deduction won’t ensue. It’s not as if the Tevez situation left anyone in any doubt as to the rules. QPR, albeit there’s far more to the side than Faurlin, would not be punished by a fine should their promotion stand; indeed one might argue that had Faurlin’s recruitment been conscious and cynical, it would have paid off, and where then the disincentive for every other bugger to ignore the rules on player ownership?

Less conceivable still of course is the fact that the League have left it this late to adjudicate, as if they’ve gone out of their way to make life difficult for themselves and everyone else, Rangers not least. But should Rangers suffer a points penalty you won’t find many tears shed in Hertfordshire, I suspect. It wasn’t the unseemly scuffles with interlopers in the Rookery, these have happened pretty much whenever visiting supporters have made significant incursion; I’m sure there were far more Rangers fans in the home end keeping a respectably low profile than there were causing trouble. It’s not even the pitch invasion, tedious as that was; those of us on the pitch at Craven Cottage thirteen years ago (ulp) would hardly be in a position to criticise on that score. It was the utterly needless and moronic charge towards the home end, the provocation of a situation that was only ever going to be diffused by a heavyweight police presence, ultimately on horseback. Celebrate by all means, but why a stand-off? Fuckwits. A situation not remotely placated by the reliably provocative Neil Warnock, as ever displaying all the restraint and judgment of a four year old with a sugar rush in gesticulating towards the Rookery end.

3- As for their team… one suspects that major surgery will be forthcoming, should they go up. Perhaps it will happen anyway. This is essentially a classic Warnock side with a sprinkling of fairy dust, but that won’t be nearly enough in the top flight. Even Taarabt, who put in a classic “best kid in the playground” performance (thanks, ig), from frequently hanging on to the ball too long to throwing a great big strop and ostensibly threatening to take his ball home to, ultimately, scoring the goal that changed the game, even he might lack the composure and the patience to make his talent count against more experienced defenders. That Shaun Derry can still walk baffles me… he’s surely to be out to pasture. Dan Shittu, whilst only a sub, put in a performance that almost parodied his clumsiest at Vicarage Road. And Heidar, bless him, is not going to lead the line next season; he turns 34 in August. “A team to get you promoted”, as someone said before the game.

4- As for the ‘orns… delayed as it was, much as it’s surely replicated at the end of the season at every club around the country, I love the parade around the stands. The players having their kids with them re-enforces the family thing, and that’s just superb. Long may the tradition prevail. It’s worth noting, too, that whilst Britt Assomablonga didn’t make it onto the pitch, he nonetheless became the twentieth (twentieth!) home grown player to be named in a squad this season. That’s surely a focal point of any balanced review of our campaign. Mackay continues to work wonders, and will surely be tested again next time around; Scott Loach appeared to be waving goodbye, and it would be a huge if welcome surprise to see undisputed Player of the Year Danny Graham still in a Watford shirt (and vest, of which many were sported in the home end. and red shorts! hurrah!) come August. The last of the big salaries may be off the books by then, but the challenges won’t be any smaller.

5- A small detail, an aside, a footnote. But as this is half my blog, I have the right to be self-indulgent. After twelve seasons in the same seat, I have finally been located by a drip. On a day like today… occasionally chilly but bright and sunny and certainly not wet. A drip. This is as large a concern to me as the state of our squad, the state of the pitch. And far more than the Royal Wedding. Anyway. Do carry on…

Big respec’ to all those going to Preston. Were it worth the effort, if there was the slightest chance that anyone reading this didn’t already agree, it would be worth commenting on the lunacy of the scheduling of the final matches of the season. But, you know. BHaPPY will not be represented, much as Deepdale has always been a good away trip. “Helping Hands” and the School Report will follow shortly. Otherwise, have a good summer…



1. Simoninoz - 01/05/2011

….and many thanks to you, Matt & ig for your special brand of observation and humour this season; it’s particularly appreciated by exiled ‘Orns like myself.
Any news on “Watford FC Miscellany”? My well-thumbed copy of “Watford FC On this day” needs company in the ‘thunderbox.’

Matt Rowson - 01/05/2011

“Watford FC Miscellany”. Umm.. don’t hold your breath. Apologies, but the publishers rather jumped the gun on the sleeve notes to OTD.

2. Orient 0 Scousers 3(rd team) - 01/05/2011

I always knew you were a drip Rowson ! …and no point in a long trip to Plymouth either…

3. Soxon Hornet - 01/05/2011

I think special mention should go to the ‘brave’ half dozen or so home fans at the centre of the Rookery who attacked the lone QPR fan as he tried to exit the stand. Just pathetic. Whilst I wouldn’t condone the actions of an away fan who committed the ‘crime’ of sitting in the wrong end, I suspect that there are several families and kids who were caught up in the unseemly struggle who won’t be coming back to Vicarage Road any time soon. We’re a family club. Let’s keep it that way. The brainless and cowardly offenders should be identified and given appropriate bans since they really aren’t welcome at the Vic.

jeremy clarkson - 01/05/2011

Soxon, totally agree with you, i lost my faith in football yesterday. I had a QPR supporter (more f*ckwit and would have been dangerous had he half a brain) in front of me with his 9 year old daughter in the Rookery, but couldnt keep his emotions to himself. Only on quietly perservering that he would be “spotted” and they wouldnt worry about his daughter that he eventually twigged he should move after the Qpr guy in Red Top got jumped upon. It is a shame on society that these thing happen, but how the hell did Qpr get 100+ tickets in a block in lower Rous..beggars belief for security!

P.s. I also asked the stewards to have a word to a WAtford (f**kwit)fan for calling Shittu a big B… C… and Taarbaht a terrorist!. He was ejected!

4. Stephen Hoffman - 01/05/2011

Matt I am one of Smith’s biggest fans, but I wouldn’t say he was magnificent today, by his standards he had quite a poor game, although he took his goal well.

Both Doyley and Hodson, in particular Hodson until the unfortunate mistake which led to Taarabt’s goal kept Smith and Routledge quiet.

Matt Rowson - 01/05/2011

I dunno, depends how you judge performance. In the context of being very attentively marked, he made one goal and scored the other…

5. kendean - 01/05/2011

Black shorts please!

Matt Rowson - 01/05/2011


6. Loofah4Eva - 01/05/2011

I suspect that the Rangers hardnuts consider this to be their local derby, seeing as we’re just up the road, hence the threatened aggro. More fool them, and I hope the Rookery continues to ignore their pathetic pretensions to rivaldom and treat them with the irrelevance they deserve. For sake of the hardnuts, it would be good to see points deducted and QPR having to go into the playoffs – the colour of Colin’s face and the pressure of steam coming out of his ears would be a joy to behold.

Even if they do go up, you can’t see them doing a WBA and staying there. Smudger and the Iceman are past it, from a Prem viewpoint, and Taarabt will undoubtedly go walkies and end up in the Chelski reserves. And with the legendary impatience of club managements in these days of having a ‘fiduciary duty to shareholders’, Colin must be favourite already to be the first head on the block, if he doesn’t depart before hand. He’s a good lower league manager, but has already shown that he can’t hack it in the Prem.

So it’s likely we’ll be ‘entertaining’ this bunch the season after next. I can’t say that they’ll be missed next season, other than as a dead easy away game to travel to.

What did Taarabt get into a strop about anyway? I didn’t see the match, and although it was mentioned in the radio report it wasn’t spoken of in the TV ‘highlights’.

7. Sequel - 01/05/2011

I’ve just deleted 5 paragraphs. I only actually need one word to describe this season.
And that applies to you too, Matt. Thanks.

8. John - 01/05/2011

Just like to add my thanks for the reports. Being Oop north I don’t get to many games but do enjot Matts thoughts. Cheers

9. SteveG - 01/05/2011

May I also echo Simon’s comments – many thanks for your unfailingly interesting, often amusing, thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. Especially on the occasions when I haven’t been at the games, the thunks provide an interesting alternative ‘take’ on the game from the 3CR commentary and the WO website … and so much more civilised than the latter!

Keep up the good work.

10. Stephen Hoffman - 01/05/2011

Ok its probably best to say well marked for 75 mins and then our defence fell asleep. Maybe I’m alone on this but moments of clumsiness aside, I thought Shittu looked a darn sight better than Fitz Hall, who missed his customary Vicarage Road red card, by getting injured.

11. JohnF - 02/05/2011

Thanks for your posts Matt and IG. It is a pity the season went out quietly in footballing terms but for all that what a season. We await developments over the summer with interest. I was slightly concerned to see the “new owner” parading with the team to take the plaudits for ? However, we will see. There have been times when the team have played with a freedom and enthusiasm that made me proud to be a Hornets fan and the highlights video is on my list.

Have a great summer.

12. Johnny Boy - 02/05/2011

Thanks for the reports matt and ig
Like you Matt, thought TS was good and wouldn’t mind back at the Vic next year if QPR don’t want him.
Shittu was his usual self – gets/heads the ball well, doesn’t know what to do with it. Still a great name to sing to the Marry Poppins tune from the terraces.

13. The Great Big O - 03/05/2011

A thoroughly splendid season – reported on a blog that is also thoroughly splendid. Thank you.

14. Tim Turner - 03/05/2011

I’m surprised no one else has mentioned Lloyd’s determination to get on the scoresheet on Saturday. There was an attempted curler from a narrow angle in the first half and a decent shot from the edge of the area in the second that didn’t miss by all that much. Shortly afterwards, someone put a shot in and who was it racing in to snap up the leftovers in case the goalie fumbled it? Yep, Lloydy again.

I reckon he must have had a bet on himself to score – he had as many attempts on goal against QPR as he’d managed in the entire season to date.

15. MartinG - 03/05/2011

Thanks for the thunks all season. A most enjoyable season. Even though it fizzled out a bit at the end it was still very watchable throughout.

16. JohnM - 04/05/2011

Just to thank all on this site for keeping me in touch over this, for me, pleasantly successful season. Highlight for me—picking up a newspaper in a hotel in Eire and open-mouthed astonishment and delight to see the 6-1 Millwall result. Disbelief—I phoned home to check!
Finally, I have posted, in the past, my doubts about Malkies ability as a manager. Yes, I was wrong. He has worked wonders. Thanks to all again.

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