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Saturday 01/05/2013

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Common Man: I’m breathing … Are you breathing too? …It’s nice, isn’t it? It isn’t difficult to keep alive, friends – just don’t make trouble – or if you must make trouble, make the sort of trouble that’s expected. Well, I don’t need to tell you that. Good night. If we should bump into one another, recognise me.

“A Man for All Seasons”, Robert Bolt

Don’t cause trouble.  Don’t take risks.  Don’t stick your head above the parapet.

Quite apart from anything else, it’s safer.  Ask the Common Man, he’ll tell you. Mid-table, that’s what you want.  “The sort of trouble that’s expected”.  A decent cup run.  The occasional result against one of the more fancied sides, the odd bloodied nose.  Everyone likes that…. we like it, “football” likes it, whatever that is.  The plucky underdog.

This?  This is different.  This is the possibility of automatic promotion from a team made up of loans, mercenaries, someone else’s players.  Conspicuous, and condemned.  “Yes, ‘Franco’s put a great team together, love the way they play, but…. and I know they’ve not broken any rules, fair play to them, they found a loophole and exploited it.  But it’s not really in the spirit of the rules is it?  I mean, what happens when all the loans go back?”.

That’s hardly going to get any better if we do go up, if more journalists desperate for a story but with neither the time nor the attention span to evaluate the situation take notice. Who needs it?

Not as if it’s in our hands anyway.  Hull may be on a stinking run, a right stinking run. Three games against the current bottom three, no goals, one point.  One win in four at home, and that courtesy of a deflected free kick and a goalkeeping howler.  And yes, of course, they’re playing Cardiff… league leaders, best defence in the division and so forth.  And, yes, there are one or two on the Cardiff books with links to Watford… 731 appearances in yellow, 159 goals, 3 Watford Player of the Season awards between them, yes, yes, what of it?  Hull will go up if they win, it’s theirs to f*** up ultimately, no getting away from that.  And they’ll know it.  They’ll know.  The knowledge of how completely they’ll have screwed this up if they go into the play-offs has to be a motivator.

Nor can our game be taken for granted, far from it.  Sure, Leeds might not have won away in the League since December 1st and only once since September but they’re a tough side and a big club, don’t be fooled.  They’ll have a big support with them and despite being mid-table, won’t be on the beach at all.  Nor should we read too much into the suspensions being served by El-Hadji Diouf and Rodolph Austin.  A club like Leeds will inevitably have players of equal calibre ready to step in.  An irrelevance.

And OK, we may have a bit of side.  Fernando, looking, playing, sounding more like his manager every day.  Troy, a leader, unplayable.  Anya, Pudil, all energy,tricks and power.  Almen Abdi, the professor, most assists in the division.  Chalobah, the conductor, the metronome.  Jonathan Hogg, breaking it up, keeping it moving, keeping it honest.  Marco Cassetti… seen this shit before, composed an opera about it, give me a man to mark.  Ekstrand, solid and elegant and one day he’s going to break the net.  Lloyd.  Just…  Lloyd.  And Manuel… experience, reliability, a voice.  A captain.  Yes, OK, we’re decent.  So we should be, we’re going for second.  No reason to take anything for granted.

Laughably, people have been quoting this vaguely superstitious, coincidental claptrap.  The thing about us having been promoted every seven years since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.  The thing about every promotion we’ve enjoyed to the top flight concluding against a team in white.  What a load of cobblers.  As if any of this has any bearing on Saturday’s game.

It isn’t difficult to keep alive, friends.  Just don’t cause any trouble.  Don’t stick your head above the parapet.  Don’t go expecting anything, it’s not in our hands, there’s less emotional risk in just letting it wash over you.


Come Saturday, be proud.  Be yellow. Be loud.

Bring it on.


1. Nigel - 01/05/2013

My sentiments exactly thanks for summing up how most of us must feel. Whatever will be will be etc.

2. LB - 01/05/2013

Cry goals for Harry the hornet, Zola and Watford!

3. Geoff McPherson - 01/05/2013

Excellent as always.

Match will be viewed in Denver at the 3 Lions Pub on Colfax at 5:45am Saturday for those who would like to attend.



4. Noelinho (@Noelinho) - 01/05/2013

I’ll be cheering on the Hornets from Glasgow at the weekend, but one very quick point to make. If we go up, the whole loans “issue” can be wrapped up without much fuss at all – said loans count as transfers in the Premier League anyway, and there’s no limit on transfers that I’m aware of. People always need something to complain about.

Watford need to go out and win. No point worrying about Hull, That game is irrelevant to us until it’s over. We have to win to get second. So let’s cheer on the Hornets and then see where we stand at the end of all the other games!

5. Roger Smith - 01/05/2013

All credit to the club for maximising our support. After failing to get through with many telephone calls on Monday morning, my son who lives in Manchester emailed the club to go on the waiting list and lo and behold got a ticket in the Upper Rous.

The players will do their bit. All the more reason that we do ours.

Cry “God for Harry (the Hornet), England and St George!”

6. Wimborne Hornet - 01/05/2013

I can’t stand the pressure. I’m taking Friday off and going to Weymouth with the Mrs. Will be in Watford nice and early in case I get 2 punctures or the car breaks down on the way up.

Wouldn’t it be great, I know we would all have taken this at the start of the season but wouldn’t it be great.

Then your mind slips to the equaliser from Burnley, the one at the death at Molineux – how the hell didn’t we win that game? Dominating Millwall and coming away with nothing but what a season. The club is in safe hands, we’re playing fantastic football and we might get promoted. Where’s my beta blockers?

NickB - 02/05/2013

One 20 mins before the game and a top up at half time is the plan. Suspect I might as well not bother…

7. straightnochaser - 01/05/2013

The unique serendipity for me, of the current circumstances of our Club, is that I don’t care – no, that’s not right – I don’t MIND what happens on Saturday. If we win & Hull don’t I’ll celebrate of course and look forward to next season with greater optimism than our previous 2 forays. If that’s not the outcome I’ll relish 2, maybe 3 more opportunities to enjoy watching our football this season. Our return to form means we’ll likely be the side that others prefer to avoid. And if we miss promotion altogether, next season in the Championship will be one to savour anyway because the quality of our football is a joy to behold more often than not. Someone remind me I wrote this on Saturday when I’m convulsing in agony/ecstasy* (* delete as appropriate)

Craig - 02/05/2013

It’s a wonderful feeling, not to mind. I don’t mind the playoffs, I don’t mind another year in the Championship, I certainly don’t mind going up where I’ll get to see the Golden Boys on television here all the time. It’s a wonderful feeling at the end of a season that has brought an enormous lifting of the dread I’ve had for some time.

8. Richard - 02/05/2013

I shall be plugged to the internet here in Bogota, Colombia. Loved the piece, don’t want to get involved in superstitions, we must play well, win and then see what happens with Hull.

9. Simoninoz - 02/05/2013

Tense. Just can’t concentrate this week. I just keep on daydreaming about Fernando scoring after skipping past 7 hapless Leeds defenders AND Smith or Helgusson giving Hull a pasting. It’s been a bit different this season (apart from the obvious) to we exiled ‘Orns. The boys have been live on TV in Oz 6 times and twice in the last fortnight. For a change I actually feel I know the players, rather than just recognising their names. It will be a long Saturday waiting for the 9.45pm kick off. It’s the Hull game live that night so I’ll be in front of the box bellowing with a Welsh accent and checking the Vic Rd score on the internet – all very draining. I can already sense that the second half … sorry… halves will seem ten hours long. Tense.

10. Leggatts 'orn - 02/05/2013

“Ultimate Possibility”. Yep that sums it up. Very nicely.

Someone said that before, didn’t they?


11. Luke Fairweather - 02/05/2013

Wimborne Hornet sums it all up for me. “The club is in safe hands, we’re playing fantastic football and we might get promoted. ” Such huge strides as a club in just a year. Bloody Hell!


12. paullbaxter - 02/05/2013

A few have already beaten me to the Agincourt simile, but any chance you can do the team talk before the match on Saturday, Matt?

Matt Rowson - 02/05/2013

no. i will be with my six year old, and getting one word in edgeways will be a challenge…

Roger Smith - 02/05/2013

Sorry to be pedantic, Paul, but “Cry God for Harry…” is the culmination of “Once more unto the breach…” – and that’s Harfleur, not Agincourt.

paullbaxter - 03/05/2013

Thnaks for the correction, Roger. Who says that football isn’t good for the intellect?

13. Battersea Dave - 02/05/2013


Your description of Cassetti – brilliant, absolutely spot on. Am travelling by direct train from Clapham Junction on Saturday so hope to see plenty of yellow on platform 16.

Come On Youuu Golden Boys

14. Mr S - 02/05/2013

Loved it.

Little note, Abdi doesn’t have the most assists in the division!

Matt Rowson - 02/05/2013

Well… that’s the thing about assists isn’t it? There’s no absolute definition. Hell, Watford fans can’t even reach consensus on whether Kevin Phillips scored the last WFC hat-trick in at the Vic in 1997 or not.

Fantasy League have Abdi at 13 and a load of others (inc Antonio, Eagles, Ince, Leadbitter) on 12, which is where I pulled the stat from.

15. Harefield Hornet - 02/05/2013

I’m bloody bricking it and it’s only Thursday but I’m also reassuring myself by remembering that the last time we were actually promoted at the Vic was 1982 against Wrexham and on that basis another such moment is long overdue! COYH

Harefield Hornet - 02/05/2013

On the 4th May!!

Stuart Campbell - 02/05/2013

Is it really only Thursday? You sure? Being retired, every day seems the same. I’ve checked the calendar and the paper so many times it’s seriously worrying. And the kickoff time… hell, it is 12.45… isn’t it? It says so on the side of the fridge.. better check again on the club website. And my retro yellow ‘Orns shirt. Check that again too…. no dribbly tea stains down the front… Oh Lord this is what dementia must feel like. Maybe I should get a quick medical. You ‘Orns!

16. Nige in Oz - 02/05/2013

the hull game is on live down under and then delayed broadcast of the watford game straight afterwards. so do i watch the hull game or do i sit in a dark room, wait until midnight and then watch Watford as if it’s live?

17. Patrick Walker - 02/05/2013

I have exactly the same dilemma as Nige in Oz. Another option is watch Hull with the sound down and listen to Hornets Player? I am also looking into live web streaming (although have never successfully done this, so am doubtful I would actually get to watch the game!). Why oh why don’t Setanta have a “viewer choice” option where you could choose to watch one or the other?!! (and, as ever Matt, loved the article, which brought back many happy memories of the ’99 run in, the away win at Port Vale – which followed your Palace report – being my personal highlight)

18. bringe555 - 02/05/2013

I’m currently trying to sort out picture in picture for my PC … so I hope both games are streamed somewhere … because I think we’re on Sky’s red button so the chances of a pub screening up here in Liverpool aren’t too good.

19. keith catchpole - 02/05/2013

Top read Matt…. Can’t wait for it

20. J Clarkson - 02/05/2013

fecking hell….i never thought that we would ever go through through all this ever again…div 3 loomed just yesterday..now the promised land is in touching distance..what a mixed up world we live in…

belief my hornet friends, belief..the future is yellow

21. winslow horn - 03/05/2013

4th May 1991….Oxford United away and the great escape..those were worrying times when the future of our club seemed precarious….

4th May 2013, as others have pointed out, the future is much brighter than for some time……..

Excellent piece BTW Matt – look forward to many more! Now if only I’d purchased a bloody ticket before the Leicester game…..

22. stu partridge - 03/05/2013

great piece.

worthy of Henry V on the ramparts, knowing fate can slice a man in two with its cruel blade, but as long as his heart is strong he can taste victory with pride and death with honour……or sumfink like that

23. Joe Richardson - 04/05/2013

Been feeling good about today all week. Positive, excited. Then I woke up this morning, read this report and felt inadequate, like I hadn’t done enough already to show how proud I am of our little team.

So I pulled on my replica shirt, went out to Hove Park and smashed 20 seconds off my personal best in the local Park Run. Over to you boys. Come on you ‘orns!

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