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Something for the Weekend 16/05/2019

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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1- No, I didn’t do one for bloody West Ham.  Partly because it was Sunday and then Monday and stuff.  Partly because, well, you know.  Because it was a miserable end to the League season, a League season that deserved rather better than for us to slip into the bottom half at the death having spent most of it comfortably in the top.  One point ahead of Crystal Palace, I ask you.

I’d made two crucial errors beforehand, incidentally.  One was to venture the opinion that Chris Kavanagh was one of the best refs in the top flight, based on a handful of games’ exposure so far (I think I’d still stand by that, shoot me).  The other, when an ever more curious Daughter 1 enquired who the worst ref I’d ever seen was was to explain Roger Milford to her without a moment’s self consciousness or apprehension.

Goes without saying, largely because you’ve surely already said it, that the lifting of José’s suspension was the moment the mood turned.  That it suddenly felt as if fate wasn’t loading the bases against us. That’s great, that José can play, the mad bastard. Whatever happens. Then when the Tube strike was cancelled the stars really began to align.  Now we all believe again, wholeheartedly.

2- So, 1984 then.  I remember some stuff.  Granddad queuing up for tickets while we waited in Germany.  Some lads pushing in in front of him, he missed out.  Don’t know whether I remember that, or whether I remember remembering it.  Anyway… Tom Walley called round to apologise on behalf of the club.  Granddad stayed affronted.  Don’t know what happened to that stubborn gene by the way.

We got tickets in the end, I was with my mate Andrew behind one goal.  Eating very salty crisps that had been mashed to smithereens in transit.  On the way, the tube had been yellow, obviously.  Then an Everton fan, a lone Everton fan, got on somewhere and in self-deprecating fashion started an Everton chant to predictable but good-natured response.  No twitter in those days to polarise opinions, no keyboard warriors.  If you had a barney with someone you didn’t send him a pithy or abusive message, you punched him in the face.  Probably.

There was some very odd pre-match entertainment that involved two remote controlled planes, one yellow, one blue, each trying to knock the aerial off the other.  The blue plane won.  And I remember both goals being down in front of us but…  that can’t be right…

And since?  Well.  Mum and Dad would use the day’s starting eleven as a gauge of quite how bad my diabetic hypoglycemia was.  Not sure why.  I could get as far as Paul Atkinson (on for Price, 58 minutes) while my arms shook and my legs gave way.  And the digits “1984” have been in stock use as go-to components of low security passwords and access codes since, well, 1984 I guess.

But not any more, I guess.  The day after tomorrow.  Blimey.

3- The quite magnificent From the Rookery End pondered this week what would happen if we, you know, actually win? What is there left to play for, to aim at, once you’ve realised perhaps the peak of your ambition… Cup winners, Europe?

There’s the midweek trip to Cluj or Helsingborgs or Salzburg of course. There’s that. But beyond that… and here’s the thing, and I’ve banged on about this before so please indulge me… I think the old chestnut, the Radio 5 favourite, “fans just want to watch their team win” is utter nonsense. Fans do want to watch their teams win, of course they do, but more than that…

Fans just want to watch their team. Period.  Has watching Watford suffered from the fact that we’ve not won a major trophy?  Sure, we all want that but… if it was all about the winning we’d have packed this in long ago.  If watching football was all about the football, well…   a lot of it has been crap, frankly.  Less so over the last few years, sure.  But…  folk watch lower division football, non-league football.  There are fewer of them per team, in general, sure.  But they don’t care any less.

So the things that we cherish about Watford will still be there (“including Z-cars, hopefully”, he mutters under his breath).  People, places, smells, sights, sounds.  Feelings, memories. “Watfordness”…  Dad relates how, stranded at university in 1970 he wrote to Ron Rollitt pleading poverty and asking for help in getting to the Semi against Chelsea.  Rollitt sent him a ticket.  “Pay me back when you can, son”. That. That’s what we return to, win or lose.  Hurrah for that.

4- Manchester City, though.  They’re a bit good.  Having said all of the above, my word of course we want to win, of course the very possibility is thrilling.  But, you know, Manchester City.  Retained the league title with a stupid number of points.  An almost balletic team at times, so in sync that their goals are calibrated to be on the very edge of offside, timed to perfection.

Here’s one thing.  There have always been good teams, and there have always been teams that have had more money than other teams.  No, not always this good.  No, not always this much money.  But in general terms it was ever thus.  City are the 1980s Liverpool, the 1990s United.  And, you know.  Wimbledon.  Southampton, grey kits and that.

Here’s another thing.  In life there’s stuff you can do something about.  There’s stuff you can’t do something about.  So…  and here’s the trick….  the things you can’t do anything about, you don’t worry about.  So City are good.  Fine, whatever.  The things you can affect, you affect, and then you stop worrying.  Back to Troy’s maxim in this magnificent club compilation – and yes it really is worth half an hour of your time, even if it’s got Dave in it – that what upset him about Palace 2013 was not the losing, not really.  It was the not turning up.

So let’s turn up.

5- Because, you know.  What if we win?  Yes, we’re underdogs.  But at least we’re that.  Any club in the country would love to be that right now, certainly Wolves who, whatever your attitude after three eventful games will be watching on nervously, telling themselves that this is something they can’t affect, because they can’t affect it, but worrying anyway.

It’s in our hands.  We can affect it. And if we win.  If we win.  Where will you be?  Me?  Near the front of the top tier.  With daughters 1 and 2.  Dad.  My brother Will.  ig, Loz, Paul, the Irish mob.  Bacon, Sarah, John, Lowenna, Fuzz.

Going absolutely mental.  Shouting my head off.  Making new memories.

Bring it on.

 

 

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Comments»

1. Kyffin Jones - 16/05/2019

Thanks Matt, for that call to arms. Paint me yellow and black, point me at a sky blue brick wall, and I will run through it.

YOU ‘ORNS!!

2. David - 17/05/2019

This article has brought more than a few tears to my eyes.

Have fun everyone.

3. Harefield Hornet - 17/05/2019

Have a great day with your family Matt. Like everyone I’m desperate for us to do this but what you’ve said above about it not being particularly relevant to our ongoing progress as a club is absolutely true. Look at where some of the previous so called “ underdog” winners are now, languishing in the lower divisions. They’ll always have the memory of winning it but I wouldn’t swap league places with any of them in exchange for that. COYH!

4. RS - 17/05/2019

Thank you Sir!

I too was at the previous “once in a lifetime” final in ’84 and remember the lengths I had to go to get a ticket. Except I don’t really, but it must have been traumatic since I do remember a guy behind me (with a strong North American accent) asking me at 80 minutes or so “just how long do these Soccer games go on for?”. Clearly not a fan nor a supporter I gave him very short shrift and asked how come he even had a ticket… and in the Watford end at that!

So, the “once in a lifetime” event thing’s bubble is burst (for me at least) our left back is not suspended this time, the tube strike is off things are aligning anyone fancy A Gray to score again; I won’t be minding!

We got at City in both games this season, its a question of sustaining the effort for 90 minutes plus but they are fallible, so while I love the plucky underdog role thing I think there’s more to this Watford side this season. The FA Cup; it’s there to be got!

Enjoy the day everyone.


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