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Watford 1 Swansea City 0 (15/04/2017) 16/04/2017

Posted by Ian Grant in Match reports.

1. I’ll just come right out with it. I’ve been seeing someone else.

2. On Wednesday night, I’m at South Park versus Hastings United. Ryman League Division One South, the eighth tier. It’s my first Hastings away game, one of several landmarks along this road, some passed and others still to come: I’ve yet to don the colours, I’ve yet to refer to “them” as “us” without a twinge of conscience, but it’s only a matter of time. I haven’t bothered to count, but I know I’ve seen more Hastings games this season than Watford games, and I only started going in December. This is me, now.

3. Lost somewhere in a suburb of Reigate, South Park’s ground places the emphasis firmly on “park”: a crowd that only just reaches triple figures and is almost certainly comprised of more away fans than home stretches around the barrier, barely a couple of yards from the touchline. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to a properly competitive football match; the pace is relentless, the swearing likewise. Amid all of the urgent clamour, you can even hear what the referee’s saying if you concentrate hard enough. Familiar faces. Chips in polystyrene, served by a nice lady maintaining cheerfulness in the face of absent help and a large queue. A barrier to lean on. A gorgeous sunset.

4. I’d always rather imagined that when I walked away from Vicarage Road, it’d be in a great flouncy sulk about something. Perhaps ever-increasing ticket prices. Perhaps being shunted to one side in favour of more lucrative commercial opportunities. Perhaps some act of vandalism by ego-hungry owners: a change of colours, a change of name. The London Hornets. Perhaps the vapid soullessness of it all, the paucity of openings for young players, those bastard electronic hoardings, the inconsiderate kickoff times, the imminent insertion of video technology into the spontaneously combustible joy of scoring a goal, Robbie Savage. Any number of other things.

And it’s true that many of those do nag away on my now-occasional visits. Transparently, this is not the game that I fell in love with at seven-years-old. That’s hardly a relevation: the world isn’t the same in most other respects either. And it’s also true that something died – well, let’s not be dramatic, it sighed and slouched and grumbled a bit – in me as I watched our football club apparently be content with a day out at Wembley last April when we could’ve had so much more; I’m not in it for the glory, clearly, but I deeply resent an age where glory doesn’t have sufficient value on the balance sheet in comparison to finishing fifteenth or whatever. What a waste of a beautiful game.

But it won’t do to condemn it all, any more than it’ll do to blindly romanticise everything about the lower levels of non-league. There is good and bad at every club, at every level; the balance is different for every supporter. That isn’t it. Instead, I’ve simply realised that the role I need football to play in my life is one of a steady, defining rhythm. What I love about it is its monotony, the sense of continuity and familiarity; the knowledge that we’ll all be back here in a fortnight or less, complaining about the same things, hoping for the same things. That’s at odds with the hysteria of the Premier League, at odds with the marketing of every fixture as an event.

But more than anything, it’s at odds with a busy family life a hundred miles away. Those now-occasional visits don’t really satisfy because they have none of that rhythm, none of that continuity. They’re a slice of cake in place of a three-course meal, a Christmas special in place of a box-set. I’ve found happiness elsewhere and I’ve found it sipping a cup of tea on a shallow terrace, knowing that I’m ten minutes from home, from family life, from where I belong. Knowing that I’ll be back for the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that. Seasons coming and going; players and managers coming and going. Being part of something. That’s all.

5. I know, I know, you’re here for a Watford report. Sorry. Forgive me.

6. So, yeah, I’m back. Has it always been this loud?

7. I haven’t been here since that Middlesbrough game and I must admit that I’ve come prepared with a hatchet for, you know, a job. So it rather takes me by surprise when we begin by setting a rather brisk passing tempo, Amrabat and Niang spreading wide, Capoue and Cleverley pushing through the middle; I see more constructive football in the first five minutes than I did in ninety last time around.

But we lose our way quite quickly, like when you enter the supermarket with a shopping list in your head only to find yourself staring blankly at shelves of soup. Swansea are set up to pick us off in midfield and duly do so; Capoue will intervene decisively before the half’s done, but barely touches the ball otherwise and frequently cuts a particularly exasperated figure. We have creativity, which is a step up from last time, but a series of wildly inaccurate cross-field passes betrays the difficulty of bringing it into play; both of the wide players are guilty of squandering what they do receive.

8. Swansea, meanwhile, need to be scored against before they’ll look like proper relegation fodder. Llorente towers above all and needs careful marshalling by the excellent Prodl; Narsingh is quick and impish and draws out a terrifically aggressive ninety minutes from Holebas, disrespectfully and deliciously dismissive of his opponent, stopping just short of clipping him round the ear for his insolence. The real threat, obviously, comes from Sigurdsson, who draws a sharp save from Gomes with an instinctive flash at the top corner; Gomes unredeems himself with a skewed punch shortly afterwards and Fernandes wastes the opportunity. Ki Sung-Yueng shoots at the keeper when released by a swift break. They really aren’t bad. Yet.

You wouldn’t have said that the visitors were on top, exactly, merely that the game was turning out to look more like their gameplan than ours. Maybe that’s the same thing. Never one to stand around and discuss these things, Deeney nearly opens the scoring by meeting a Janmaat cross and requiring a flying save from Fabianski; we’ve created very little otherwise, in truth, and the intensity of the contest has dropped considerably as it’s gone on. It’s become a flabby, vague game; my attention is drawn to the uncanny colour of Ki Sung-Yueng’s hair. The winning goal is a defensive mess, Mawson’s hesitation capitalised upon at the second time of asking by Capoue. A relegation season kinda goal. We know what those look like.

9. We begin the second half well enough, Fabianski clawing out a ferocious, rather Guedioura-ish drive from Janmaat before it breaks the net. We don’t continue it well enough, however, and we don’t have much else besides a disallowed Okaka goal to show for it by the end. Indeed, much of it is spent in gradual, and yet very definite, retreat: as it becomes more and more evident that this will be the lead we have to defend, we withdraw first a visibly irritated Amrabat, then Niang and then Cleverley, which is the equivalent of giving up on your supermarket shopping list and just grabbing milk of various colours because, well, that’s always on the list.

On the one occasion that we let Llorente drift away from Prodl and win an unchallenged header, Sigurdsson whistles a shot wide from twenty yards; he scores two of those every week on Match of the Day. With about twenty minutes to go, you wonder quite how long it’ll be before one of a seemingly endless succession of crosses finds the giant Spaniard’s head rather than going out for a throw-in. The answer is long enough for him to no longer be on the field, presumably withdrawn with a crick in his neck; when Swansea finally deliver a ball worth attacking, it’s Sigurdsson who stretches and heads wide in injury time. He wastes another opening of his own creation immediately afterwards, scuffing a shot at Gomes, and the game is gone. Swansea ought to be kicking themselves. But they’d…yes, ha ha.

10. Immediate thought: a better side would’ve beaten us here. Less immediate thought: it doesn’t matter. You can afford to lose to a better side if you’re consistently beating the ones below you; you can play those percentages. It’s a depressing thought, perhaps, but we need do no more than this. Perhaps this is it, forever. Or at least until something goes wrong and we get relegated and we wonder whether we might’ve used our time rather better.

We’ve attempted much more with much, much less in the past. True, there wasn’t so much to lose. True, injuries. True, West Brom sounded like a lot of fun. True, it seems unbelievably Arsenalish to be turning your nose up at tenth. Even so, I can’t help but feel that there’s a very real danger of television’s billions becoming the only prize at stake, the only ambition to hold. A place at the trough for the feeding frenzy. It isn’t much of a dream. This was an increasingly conservative, cautious and yet oddly casual performance, and while I admit that I haven’t been here very often, I’ve seen nothing else from us this term, nothing to indicate that we have hidden depths.

It isn’t wrong to hope for more. It isn’t ungrateful, it isn’t forgetful. It might – might – be unrealistic. But personally, I’d rather fail trying. I imagine that the next few weeks will tell us whether the owners feel the same.

11. Back in Reigate, Hastings run out comfortable 5-1 winners. The claim for the division’s last playoff place is looking increasingly convincing. The evening is crowned by Simon Johnson’s spectacular thirty-yard strike into the top corner. No instant replays, quite possibly no replays at all; football at this level sharpens your mind’s eye. The crowd drifts into the darkness of the car park and evaporates into headlights and radio static. Everyone’s gone within five minutes. This is no more ‘real’ than anything else, perhaps.

There may yet be glory before the season’s out, though. Don’t tell me that doesn’t raise a tingle at the back of your neck. Don’t let that become a distant memory.


1. Mike B - 16/04/2017

Might want to edit the first 2 duplicated paragraphs out.

Overall – a bit ‘bah humbug’ I’m afraid. This is our 2nd season – consolidation is the order of the day.

Ian Grant - 16/04/2017

Yes, fair enough. I’m a bit worried that it could become the order of the decade, but I appreciate that might not be based on much beyond pessimism…

2. harefield hornet - 16/04/2017

Football is all about opinions and it’s pretty clear from your thoughtful piece here that you are losing interest with the Premier league and all that goes with it. That’s your choice and I absolutely respect that. Family commitments have curtailed my away attendances in recent years but now my daughter is old enough to come with me I’m re-discovering the excitement of visiting the top clubs and playing against the best teams. You’ll always be a Hornet!!

3. Esp - 16/04/2017

My uneducated guess is that you will see less “flabby, vague” matches following your newly discovered local league team Ian.
My only away match this term following the Hornets was versus Millwall in the cup as my work and family commitments put paid to my season ticket renewal this season and any neutral reading your piece might deduce at which ground you might derive more pleasure from in the coming few seasons.
10 – 20 minutes watching Watford on Match of the Day can be quite euphoric and exciting but 90 minutes in the Lower Rous and the 3 hour round trip to get there are not so
Now, let’s see where my local Southern Counties East League Premier Division‎ team Tunbridge Wells FC play….

4. Walklate88 - 16/04/2017

I agree with both comments above – does seem a bit overly pessimistic given we’ve achieved safety in our second season in the top flight. But I also understand why your losing touch with it. When I first started going to watford it was about the ramshackle nature of it all – sitting in a half full tired looking rookery, watching us battle it out against the likes of Stockport, Grimsby, Southend! I went because it wasn’t something I’d seen before – not something I could access on sky sports or match of the day.

But, like you Ian, I’m growing up and finding I have less time to imbibe the hornets day after day. And so going to watford as an event to relish, to look forward to every fortnight. An event which keeps a group of friends, I wouldn’t normally see every two weeks, together. An event which reminds me of my heritage, where I grew up. All of that now suits me.

I don’t know if any of the above makes much sense, but even though I totally sympathise with your position, I actually feel that going to watford is so much more than just watching a football match

5. Pete - 16/04/2017

You can’t change your alliegence but you are entitled to temper your level of enthusiasm.
Kudos IG for saying it.

Ian Grant - 16/04/2017

No danger of changing my allegiance, but plenty of room for a new one. I promise to wear yellow if paths ever cross.

6. Mike S - 16/04/2017

I could’ve written more or less the same piece – more clumsily, less eloquently and with two fewer references to supermarkets probably. Solihull Moors are my Hastings – really struggling at the moment, and needing to find something from somewhere when the players look spent. I nearly bought a scarf when I was there last.

But here’s the thing. Only Watford – Premier League nonsense & all – can give me this buzz. A Solihull Moors match is the latest instalment in a good box set; every Watford match is a new James Bond or Star Wars film… at least until kick off! My guess is, deep down, you’ll always feel the same, and when Fred is older and family life not quite so all-consuming, it’ll be Watford more than Hastings you’ll turn to to fill in the gaps! Might be wrong, but I hope not.

But your point about consolidation is valid. I want to see us go for both cups both barrels from the off next season. That’s right – a full strength side for our August encounter with Notts County, and a 1-0 win will do just fine.

Ian Grant - 16/04/2017

Yes, it’ll be interesting to see how it all evolves. There are definitely things, beyond mere convenience, that I can get from non-league that’ve long since been absent from the top flight and the Championship: lovely to stand again, lovely to be able to wander around at will, lovely to feel like a person rather than the access code to a bank account. At the same time, you can’t beat those nights – mainly nights – when the noise tumbles down from the Rookery and Helguson – mainly Helguson – heads home an injury time winner and you get to lose the plot completely with twenty thousand people. So, yeah, we’ll see. I’ll try to find ways of writing about it without descending into insufferable self-indulgence (leave it!).

7. NickB - 16/04/2017

Once again, I’ve published my thoughts without any noticeable effort, under the pseudonym Ian Grant. It’s all becoming a bit worrying.

8. ballantine70 - 16/04/2017

Good post, Ian. I get where you are coming from. Having had my formative years in the 1st Taylor era this is now technically the best period since then, if not ever. And yes Leicester were the exception to prove the rule last season, but escaping relegation is the order of the day when it comes to excitement for a team out of the big six. Or possibly scraping a UEFA cup place. A UEFA cup place used to be the prize for being runners up…

Mind you, this is probably just old gitdom.

9. John parslow - 16/04/2017

Tough one.
I have not enjoyed this season.
But we by necessity are in the “consolidation ” years.
What I won’t accept is a club that doesn’t go for it in the cups when the league feels impossible.
But I do believe that the Pozzos feel the same .
Just existing not enough. They want Europe. Some glory . Some success at Wembley ( beating Spurs there might be fun !!)
I have been here before . You have too. The Perryman / Lee says we’re just … what … we’ll just there .
Last week I had 2 of my daughters at the West Brom game . Lights . Noise . Ambition. Thunder . Only the 2nd game I enjoyed this season but tenfold for them being there .
Enjoy your flirtation .
It’s okay – we forgive you.
But when you are ready . Bring the kids . Learn to love it all over agin z

harefield hornet - 17/04/2017

It’s a whole new experience – queuing for Hot Dogs and the Ladies toilets! Just make sure the tablets are well charged for the coach journeys to away games!

10. David Davies - 16/04/2017

I to am falling out of love with Premier League football. I enjoyed the Championship, but money has destroyed the game in my opinion, and in the opinion of a much more famous Watford supporter. The more money they get, the worse it becomes.
I now watch Eastleigh, where a season ticket for 23 games costs me £99 and it only takes me 30 minutes to get to the ground, including a 20 minute walk from the free car park.
This season I have watched Dale Bennett playing for Forest Green Rovers, Sean Murray turning out for Swindon in the cup and Bernard Mensah playing for Aldershot Town
I used to stand on the terrace at The Pilot Field and watch the U’s some 40 years ago.
It is more fun down here in the lower leagues and some of the goals would grace MOTD, if only people realised there was football lower down the pyramid.

Ian Grant - 16/04/2017

Thanks, David. I get to watch Lenny Pidgeley in goal for the U’s. I don’t know what that says!

11. SteveG - 16/04/2017

I get the emotion (or lack of it), and I also get that there are different kinds of pleasures to be had from football at different levels – the intimacy of watching Wealdstone at Lower Mead before it became a Tesco car park brings back some happy childhood memories.

It wasn’t a great game, but we did enough to take the points and keep another clean sheet, and also good to see Mariappa grab the opportunity that he’s been given to make WM have to think several times before restoring Britos to the starting line-up.

I can also understand that with this squad it ought to ‘feel’ better, but let’s pose this question. If you don’t like what’s happening at the moment, which team (being realistic!) would you like us to emulate in terms of points gained and/or style of football? Palace? Stoke? West Brom? Bournemouth? None of these immediately makes you think “if only we were playing as well as that”… or maybe that’s your point, that’s this what the Premier League is outside the top 7 or 8 clubs.

So, maybe not excited, but content with being tenth, and safe, with matches in hand.

Meanwhile, enjoy Hastings…

12. Matthew Lovett - 16/04/2017

Interesting IG, very interesting. Having been an ST holder at The Vic since 1978 my first love has always been Watford, but I’m a serial adulterer – over 400 games at Clarence Park watching St Albans City (plus the odd away game when local enough and nothing else is available), 3 years at Bournemouth University for Dean Court at £3 a game including student discount of course, and 30 or so ventures to Stevenage and Wycombe over the past 10 years to support ‘grass roots’/’local clubs’. Don’t feel anything other than pride that you’re a football supporter, rather than one of the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’. My mate who I’ve been sitting with me at The Vic for the past 10 years has been trying to get me to along to Brackley Town (his local team) – your thoughts do nothing other than convince me to get my arse down there on the next occasion that there’s no ‘fixture clash’. All the best for your Hasting boys – a play off final in Tier 6/7 is a great occasion – three and a half thousand crammed into Chesham United’s ground (with several hundred locked out) in May 2014 for the Southern League Premier play off final with St Albans City was close to a Tuesday night at The Vic.

13. Simoninoz - 17/04/2017

It is possible to be happy bigamist, Ian. It’s 50 years this week since my first Watford game and I watched the whole 90 minutes of the Swansea game on a delayed feed yesterday; the tension is still there and I was sweating through the second half with that thin lead. I emigrated to Australia in 1988 and on Saturday I saw the mighty Sydney FC get presented with the A League trophy after a wonderful season (although the odd Aussie system means we have to win a semi and then a Grand Final to win the whole comp). I see most home games and the odd away one and the joy, desperation and despair are the same as those I feel for The Golden Boys. Heaven knows what I would do in the (highly) unlikely event of the two clubs meeting in a competitive fixture!

14. Leeso - 17/04/2017

IG, I sense you have only written what many were thinking about Saturday. When you have been watching Watford as long as we have, you hope (and probably partially expect) that for every turgid 0-0 draw away at Wrexham or Rotherham, you are “owed” a 7-2 at home to Blackpool, or a Tommy Mooney-esque all action non stop performance of passion and determination, or the occasional opportunity in the Cup at least to give one of the big boys a bloody nose. I’m not sure the Premier League works like this – the number of empty seats for what was allegedly a sold out fixture suggesting that many recent recruits decided this was going to be a game they didn’t need or wanted to watch.

You are obviously right – football is largely about familiarity (sitting in the same seat, seeing the same people, singing the same songs, moaning about the same players – a Cheers bar if you will) but if you don’t get some entertainment with it on the pitch, you invariably feel short changed, and Saturday did feel a little that way (as did the Middlesboro game, which I also came away from disappointed and desperately trying to reason in my mind as to whether it was a good thing that at least we didn’t lose.) Was this the new norm?

But West Brom was different – we played with confidence, we scored a couple of decent goals and looked like we could get more, we defended resolutely, the crowd got involved – there was a connection with what was happening in front of us and it was brilliant, if not slightly unexpected. I love watching football – but generally only if one of the teams are wearing yellow, and I hope you will get that buzz back at the Vic that I had a week last Tuesday very soon. COYH.

15. Ewan Hughes Army - 17/04/2017

Had a cruel twist of fate made us Hatters rather than Hornets, I suppose we might have had the best of both worlds….

16. JohnF - 17/04/2017

I understand your feelings Ian, particularly with the long travel and with other pressures on time. In addition the increased ticket costs do have an impact on the way you feel if the football lacks joy. I occasionally go to my local side Wycombe (who are Trust owned) and although the standard isn’t as high, it is great to watch when they are playing well (and winning). I also occasionally see Chesham and the games are enjoyable because you feel closer to the club. It is also much easier to get there either by public transport or by car; parking at Watford is becoming really difficult.The prem is a problem because it has three sections at the moment, the top 6 or 7 who will always be part of the top 6 or 7, the middle section who are normally mid-table with occasional flirtation with relegation and those who are usually relegation battlers. It is much less fun outside the top 6 or 7 and for the others it stifles that most important factor in following your team, hope. Hope that you can have a good season and get promotion, hope that you can do really well at some stage. The cups are important for the fans and are the source of hope. I hope the club recognise that. On top of this there is an element of frustration that the quality of players ought to be able to deliver better performances more of the time, e.g. Sunderland and Swansea. In terms of taking children, that does make an enormous difference. I took an eight year old to the Sunderland game for his first live league match and his anticipation and enjoyment of the game just made a huge difference. We’ll see what happens but in the meantime whatever you do, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty, life’s too short for that.

17. PEDantic - 17/04/2017

No, sorry, I can’t go along with all this. After the game on Saturday I was looking forward to coming on this wonderful blog/forum to confess my irrational love for Jose Holebas and to ask why Watford seem to spend so much time in home matches playing in a 15 yard strip just inside their own half. However I find this time round the discussion has been hijacked by talk of how great football is in the lower divisions and of buying season tickets at other clubs!

While I agee with all the views expressed on how football has gone, especially in the Premier League, and even though I sometimes attend matches as a neutral, the point is that Watford have been my team for the thick end of 50 years and always will be, and it matters not one jot which division they are in or where I happen to be living. I only experience the thrill of a goal when Watford score it and, if I can’t be there, the only result I need to know on match day is Watford’s. If any fans are losing these feelings for any reason, then I feel sorry for you.

I do wish we’d get on with trying to win a trophy, though…

David Davies - 19/04/2017

I think we all look at Watford as our main club, it is just that the hype and anticipation of a game is not matched by reality on the day. Watching lower league football is enjoyable because it is played as Watford did all those years ago.
Not that it is ‘dinosaur’ football, although having seen Lincoln live they only have three tactics. One is lump it up to the big centre forwrd and hope to get the second ball, a long throw into the penalty area for the same reason, or get in the 4th officials ear all game in the hope of getting a favourable decision from the referee.Tranmere play better football and I am rooting for them, but it looks like Linclon are going up.
I digress, there is good football played down lower. Look at BT Sport You Tube site. Bromley scored cracker against Eastleigh last Saturday. A screamer from 30 yards out by a midfielder. Most in the 1880 crowd applauded, think Phil Jagielka for Everton last season.
We go to football to be entertained, not to see passing for passings sake.

18. Mike Smith - 19/04/2017

Wow Ian you’ve certainly stirred up a (if I may use the pun) Hornet’s nest. However after reading all the comments it seems there’s some sympathy for you. I’ve been watching the ‘orns when they played in blue & white & weren’t the ‘orns. Have enjoyed my football over the years especially the promotions. It’s ironic that we now have probably the best squad ever & are in the promised land with loads a money.
The stadium facilities are the best they’ve ever been. Oh the Shrodells Stand & the luverly toilets! but………….are we enjoying it? That’s what we’ve all been saying. What’s to aim for? Are we happy to be a middle of the table team each year? A real conundrum & I can see your dilemma especially being down in Sussex. Could be worse though. We could be in League 2 playing at Dog Kennel Rd. & hoping for promotion! At least we can all hold our heads up high when talking about football in the pub etc

19. Old Git - 19/04/2017

Hmm. Goodness me. There’s quite a few of us who post here who have done the half-century although I can’t claim to have seen the Golden Boys in blue. Maybe that’s why we can’t ever see ourselves following any other side, we’ve just got too much invested in it all.
What I do know, Ian, is that you were there when Alan Smart hit that goal at Wembley with seconds remaining, you were there when Big Doris hit home that penalty at the Millennium Stadium and you were there when Vydra wrapped up the win at Brighton to send us up.
You won’t get those memories at Hastings, commendable though it is to support your local team. Should Hastings ever make it to the Ryman Big Time, you will be very welcome at Hampton and Richmond, splendidly known as the Beavers, whose ground is a few minutes walk away from where I live. I even saw a second-string WFC play there in a pre-season friendly a few years ago. It’s fun going there but let’s be honest, the football isn’t very good!
One of my most savoured memories dates back to the time when sides were only allowed one substitute and the pre-match team announcement finished with the number 12. Someone called John Barnes. Who? We’d never heard of him. He came on with 20 minutes left against Oldham. Bloody hell. You don’t get sights like that in the Ryman League.
And yes, we are annoyed at all the things you mention, at the prima donnas (I still haven’t forgiven Kabasele for his sitting down act at Bournemouth), at the stupid ‘epic’ music before Z-Cars, etc etc etc but Leicester showed that it CAN be done.
So keep the faith. We’ll be Champions one day. Maybe not in my lifetime but you’ve got a heritage to pass on now, mate. So make sure you do!

20. Graham Daly - 20/04/2017

I’m with mike – I started with Cliff Holton! Living in Cheshire with a growing family meant that for many seasons I watched my Hornets from afar, or very occasionally at draughty places like Chesterfield, Grimsby, Mansfield, Wrexham for God’s sake (!) as well as the loftier palaces under GT in his first incarnation So I have real sympathy for you IG. Macclesfield Town kept me interested. However, now I have the time, the money for an over 65 over 75 mile ST I am loving every game I see. Thankfully, my allegiance stuck with me so now I can worry,laugh, celebrate, curse as if I was 12 all over again. The love will return I promise. Ok the EPL hype is a drag, the wages are obscene, the media do their best to pretend we don’t exist (the last 4 after match reports in the guardian of all papers haven’t Mentioned Watford once. Extraordinary.) But, here’s the thing. The skill levels are better than anything Jason Pineapplehead (for example)ever managed, the formations and types of play are interesting, bewildering sometimes, especially to Kabasele it would appear, and we get more chances to knock over the prima donnas. The ground has got just the right feeling of dramatic, properly enclosed but still ours, still the Watford ground, STILL Vicarage road. I love the walk there, the spring or trudge back to the station, all the play – including the timewasting, it never changes – none of the diving (ok ok – it’s not perfect) and not much of the refereeing. Lot’s could be better, natch, but hey, we are more than still here – and that has been in doubt – we have GOOD owners, a brilliant mascot, (am I getting desperate?) and a superb bunch of fans who keep us entertained – as on here.So thanks. Keep the faith.

21. David w - 21/04/2017

Thank you to all of the posts above, for me it revolves around one of life’s great juxtopositions, namely the journey vs the destination. My first ST was for the 91-92 season which I have held since then and without doubt my favourite period was the “Terry and Ray” team of the early naughties. I do not have a faith but during that period I felt part of something bigger than me. I still love going to the vic but somehow, the fact we have arrived, and stayed, in the world of milk in honey I no longer feel part of something special.

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