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Manchester City 6 Watford 0 (18/05/2019) 19/05/2019

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

1- Amongst the early morning deluge of excited messages, my brother’s resonated the most.  9:30 am, “I’m here!  Erm… would anyone like a drink? (Got a bit excited and left Leeds at 4)”.  The rest of us weren’t due to be at the Railway in West Hampstead for another three and a half hours.

By which time it was rammed and unlike on our previous visit a month ago spillage onto surrounding pavements was not permitted, the first sign that Things Might Not Go Well.  It was cramped and uncomfortable, consistent with the prevailing nervous anxiety borne of anticipation of what could happen and fear of what might a few hours later.

But there’s people.  Some in sky blue, most in yellow. Strangers to share a snatched conversation, familiar people, people you’ve not seen for a while, for years, looming out of the past and sharing a word, smiling and pumping fists and then disappearing again.  Wembley Way (strictly, “The Olympic Way”), when we get there, is the same but more so.

The evangelical gentleman who looks like something from the Life of Brian, is still there hanging optimistically over a railing as he was prior to the semi final.  There’s more security here too;  more safety cordons, checks of tickets and bags that hadn’t been a complication last time and are rendered problematic by both the dissipation of our party (with me still in nervous custody of many tickets) and the Cup Final Ice Creams that Daughters 1 and 2 have demanded and which are still occupying hand space as we try to turn a carrier bag full of waterproofs into something not involving a carrier bag. Also, there’s Fuzz…

…who has dressed for the occasion and made relatively slow progress in consequence with multiple requests for selfies and media intrusion.  Next time Fuzz, get an agent.

As we make our way around the right hand side of the stadium, there’s no escaping that this is becoming rather familiar.  In part down to our (still) newly elevated status, in part due to Spurs, and in very large part due to the fact that the semi was played here too…  an exploitative nonsense that has almost become accepted and slipped behind other exploitative nonsense in the grand scheme of things.  On the subject of which, and whilst recognising that it can be painfully, lazily, stupidly easy to blame the woes of the world on a remote and intangible power-wielding entity (heaven knows…), it would be remiss not to acknowledge the disgraceful ticket prices.  Shameful.  It’s the Cup Final… it’s supposed to be a big deal, fine.  Demand is high, fine.  But that the girls’ season tickets cost a comparable amount to their cup final tickets for very decent but far from top priced seats speaks volumes about the organisational body’s sense of priorities (and that of our club, fair play to them).

2-  Abide with Me.  Anthem.  We’re at the front of the top tier, at “right back” in the first half.  As an aside, I’m advised that Z-cars got a couple of airings – during which time I was attending to assorted requirements including £2.50 for a half-litre bottle of water poured into a flimsy plastic pint glass, twice – but hurrah for that (Z-cars, not the exorbitant water).

And then, the football.

We knew it was a tall order.  No, we didn’t need to be better than Manchester City (budgets, payroll, blah blah), just to beat them on the day.  Nonetheless a tall order which, were it to be realised would need the little things to go for us.  So… most obviously, Pereyra’s chance.  We’ve started 4-5-1 and we look concentrated and organised…  yes, City are coming at us like a wave from the off but their attacks are breaking on the rocks of our defence, particularly the excellent Mariappa, and they begin to look a bit stodgy and immobile.  And then suddenly we get a break and Gerry’s off, and City are scrambling and – let’s not lose sight of this in the cloud of what’s to follow – we may not be in the same league as City but we’re still a bloody good side.  This is a devastating counter-attack, supremely executed as Pereyra has found space in the middle and Deulofeu finds him superbly.  And… there’s Ederson, out like a train.  We needed him to be asleep.  Or… we needed Pereyra to somehow flick the ball over the advancing keeper – that he didn’t is no failing, not really… it was a chance denied, not wasted, but we were going to need that to go for us.  We knew it at the time, much more so later as Guardiola would candidly acknowledge.  We score that, it’s a different game.

Then the penalty shout.  No, I don’t think it was a penalty either but it could have been, VAR or no VAR.  Kompany’s turning away from the ball but it’s not quite ball to hand.  It could plausibly have been given.  It wasn’t.  That’s another one we needed to go for us.  Doucs knows and reacts accordingly, you wonder whether this train of thought is going through the players’ heads too.

And then the opening goal.  No, not offside.  Felt it, felt like it might have been, wasn’t.  Yet another example of City’s merciless timing… right on the edge, pushing it to the limit, but onside.  And there’s a little push by Silva on Kiko – who should already have done better in an aerial contest – but nonetheless, a little push.  It’s critical, Kiko’s off balance briefly and doesn’t have time to recover.  But you don’t get those, certainly not today.

3- The first possible criticism is the apparent lack of aggression.  If you’re the underdog, if you’re in this situation then you surely want to give it some welly.  To get stuck in, to win the 50/50s.  Lack of physical competitiveness has rarely been a criticism levelled at this Watford side but… it is here.  As we rock on our heels at a second goal, expertly crafted and cruelly on top of the first it’s only Gerard Deulofeu of all people who’s getting stuck in… and briefly you’d really rather he didn’t as his waspish energy is frustrated, badly directed and precarious.

In balance, however…  that criticism has to come with caveats.  There was a clear game plan for one thing, a good one.  Sit deep, keep your shape, smother.  Jumping into tackles looks good but players with feet this quick will exploit the holes you leave behind when the challenge is dodged by a quick pass or slight of foot.  Hell, look at what happens later in the game when we push on a bit.  So…  yes.  You’d have hoped for more bullying.  More doing something to upset City.  But let’s not pretend that this was a magic bullet, that but for this everything would have been different.  There was a reason for us setting up as we did – good decisions don’t guarantee good outcomes, least of all against this lot.  The half ends with a show of defiance from the wonderful Holebas, who is robbed when trying to play an inswinging cross from the right and briefly we’re in trouble again… until he snarls into a challenge to critically reclaim possession having hared a third of the length of the pitch.  We’re rallied by this.  In my pocket however, misplaced during the cordon complications described earlier, the lucky chocolate has all melted.

4- The other possible criticism is that we played it too open in the second period.  That by moving from 4-5-1 to, effectively, 4-3-3 we surrendered the initiative to City, that we made it too easy for them to rip us apart on the counterattack which they promptly did.

Again, I’ve got some sympathy with the decision.  Yes, it was high risk and no, it patently didn’t work.  But for fifteen minutes of the second half we were on top, the more assertive side.  Will Hughes is scurrying everywhere, Gerry is making great sweeping runs from right to left across the face of the defence who scatter like ninepins, Troy is suddenly winning every aerial challenge.  Slightly dazed, someone whispers that City’s defence really isn’t very good, is it?  You know, good at defending?  Which sounds perverse, but… frankly they don’t need to be very good.  You’ve got to get the ball first for one thing, then you’ve got to hold onto it under the manic midfield pressing.  But if you get past that lot… they’re fallible.  Genuinely fallible.  And this is why going on the front foot is the only option.  Against perhaps any other side you’d say “look, 2-0 and we’re not out of it.  Keep it tight, grab a goal, game on”.  Here, though… you rather fancy that it was a choice between losing 3-0 and the outside possibility of tipping the balance with a high risk of things going very wrong.  And we know what happened.  But I’m pretty comfortable with the decision, still…  it’s still 2-0 after an hour and we’ve made City look uncomfortable.

4- And then they score again.  And it’s de Bruyne, out of nothing, on the break.  And it’s cruel, and what follows feels kind of inevitable, so we’ll draw a curtain over it.

Except.  Except.  Except that at 5-0, something remarkable happens.  We’ve been loud, in general, and in defiance of the scoreline.  Louder than a month ago, louder than City, the grim memory of the Palace play off now surely dismissed.  Because at 5-0 the songs start to thunder and the flags start to wave  and suddenly the away end is a torrent of yellow and red as flags get frantically waved.  I destroy two, the second of which floats down to the posh seats below as it detaches from its pole. It’s breathtaking and emotional.  All clubs boast that they have “the best support”… I’ve got a Sheffield Wednesday supporting mate who genuinely believes that the Owls’ nineteen-year absence from the top flight is the result of a conspiracy borne of the establishment’s fear of the insurmountable advantage offered by the Hillsborough crowd.

But this isn’t about “best”.  This isn’t about anyone else.  This is about pride in who and what we are, pride in what the team has achieved relative to precedent and expectation, and – most of all – about the fact that the result of one game doesn’t affect that.  As per the preview piece winning is important, but it’s very far from everything.  It’s not even the most important thing.

Digressing slightly, the same goes for Manchester City.  Better informed people than me have written extensively on the questionable source of City’s largesse.  The morality of it, the cleanliness of it, the within-the-rulesness of it.  And it’s clear that many City supporters have reacted incredibly defensively to this which… is wrong, in itself.  You should at least be able to question things objectively.  But the critical detail is in what it is that you actually support.  If some malevolent psychotic took over Watford in the future… not a Bassini, someone far far worse…  you would be uncomfortable with it, you would withdraw your custom in extremis.  But…  you’d still believe in that thing, that whatever-it-is that you support which remains unsullied by association with idiots or crooks.  The same goes for City, irrespective of what you believe of their ownership.  Their fans might revel in the magnificence of the team, but independent of that they believe in a Thing, their Thing.  Quite right too.  It transpires (see below) that the defiance in the Watford end, which continues unabated throughout the sixth goal, is met with a standing ovation from the Sky Blue end.  Well done everyone, the 1881 not least.

5- It takes bloody ages to get out.  I miss our medals, and the trophy, as daughter 2 has an urgent requirement… karma has long since left the building, but nonetheless she’s pretty desperate.  A fair old slog later we’re getting on a Thameslink train at West Hampstead in need of somewhere for a quiet, brief sulk.

So being greeted by loud cheers from three beered-up fifty-something Luton fans on the adjacent table was something that we could have done without.  In the event it could have gone far worse… one of them even passed on the Cup Final programme that he’d acquired from somewhere to daughter 2, whilst awkwardly warning me to erase the expletives that adorned the yellow-and-black side of the cover.  They exited at Luton Airport Parkway, and we finally got our quiet sulk.

But really…  is there that much to sulk about?  Being Watford’s a fine thing, even if we did get humped in the Cup Final.  We’re stable, secure.  Mid-table in the top flight of all things, going into our fifth consecutive season at the top table.

And “another 35 years”?  That kind of logic only holds any water if you believe this to be a random process.  Like… the roll of a dice, the toss of a coin.  A chance event determined only by probability.  That’s not reality, our relative success, undoubted success compared to our historical peers, isn’t random… it’s based on the decisions and the actions of all sorts of very good, very competent people.  All of these things change the odds, affect the outcome.

We didn’t win this time.  Next time might be different, and it might be soon.

Enjoy the summer.


Gomes 2, Femenía 3, Holebas 3, Cathcart 3, Mariappa 4, *Hughes 4*, Doucouré 3, Capoue 3, Pereyra 2, Deulofeu 3, Deeney 3
Subs: Success (for Pereyra, 66) 3, Gray (for Deulofeu, 66) 2, Cleverley (for Hughes, 73) 2, Janmaat, Masina, Kabasele, Foster


1. Bill Clarke - 19/05/2019

A marvellous summary of the day Matt which captures the achievements of the 2018/2019 season. The support shown by the fans in the final 15 minutes was incredible and was reminiscent of the 1984 final when the chant of “Elton John’s Taylor made army” echoed around old Wembley long after the final whistle. Pleased that the Owner and Chairman have acknowledged the support shown by the fans in an official statement. A great family club with traditions. Long may it continue. Onwards and upwards.

2. John van Dyk - 19/05/2019

Hi Matt
A brilliant post, as always. Cheered me up and helped put the disappointment in perspective.
Thanks for all you posts throughout the season, I look forward to them and always enjoy them.
You enjoy the summer break too.

Matt Rowson - 19/05/2019

Cheers John 😊

3. Ethel - 19/05/2019

Great report as always, yesterday’s pain was heavily reduced by our support for the last 15-20 minutes. Some near us left at 4-0 and can’t give them a hard time as it was uncomfortable but those who stayed are the exact reason we follow this club.
The vitriol of some of our newly acquired rivals should hopefully be taken as a huge compliment and that of older rivalries, like those you met as a sign of jealousy.
Lots of clubs won’t be looking forward to next season like we are, when do the fixtures come out ? COYH

straightnochaser - 19/05/2019

13th June at 9am.

4. Big Al - 19/05/2019

The familiarality of Wembley – but not for finals – irks me too. Given that Old Trafford can take 76,000; Spurs and Arsenal in the 60,000s, the Etihad 50 something, etc can we not go back to a neutral ground for a semi? Cardiff proved it’s workable and would also be available.
I suspect it’s an issue due to whatever promises they had to make to flog the Club Wembley debentures but it smacks of knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

5. straightnochaser - 19/05/2019

Yes, as others have said thanks again Matt for the level-headedness of your writing, bringing perspective in spades. Like balm for a smarting wound.

6. Sam - 19/05/2019

Thanks Matt (& IG) for “thunking” through the season, for an exile out in Nairobi it provides the context that you can’t get really any where else (accept the excellent From the Rookery End pod).

I was there in 1984 (I mainly remember crying and Rusty Lee making a crazy cocktail in the am on TV-AM), I couldn’t make it back for 2019, but agree that this year may well be the new pin-code for the post-84 generation.

We had 20 people over for the game, a massive thunderstorm blew up the DSTV (shortly followed by the internet) so we had Derek Payne providing the coverage (love his accent, Pat Butchers’ brother?) and a lot of WhatsApp from my Dad and Brother who were both there.

I think that this was one to take on the chin and being sanguine is wise, but I thought Jonathon Wilson’s piece in the Guardian today about the other planetary sphere just shows how much the Premier League has stratasphised.

Anyway. “Football, Bloody Hell” as they say – what a season it has been, here’s hoping for 2019/2020 – we can target a top 10 place, Cucho in place of Pereyra, Wilmott for Maps and someone else for Isaac and who knows…

Have a great summer to you and the girls…

Mark S - 20/05/2019

Cucho is by all accounts a striker not a left midfielder/winger and Wilmott is clearly not good enough for the prem yet

7. Ray knight - 19/05/2019

Great summary Matt of a special day I enjoyed more than I should have done. I was there in 84 and you left the stadium with a sense of injustice. Yesterday we were beaten by an incredible Citee team. De Bruyne just increased our pain but my overall feeling was pride in our team and most of all for our fans. The singing was truly loud and proud. I bumped into some cousins and had a pxss poodle beer with them at half time. In tedibly the quality of the beer did not matter. Travelling back with my son we remained positive. We just need more appearances at Wembley and we will get a trophy. And yes Bobby P remains my favourite player!

8. Harefield Hornet - 19/05/2019

I know I’m going to get criticised for this view but the outcome of this match was as horrifying as it was predictable – despite all the deserved plaudits etc about our support I thought yesterday was bloody awful. Yes I know it’s not all about the winning but it was so one-sided it became embarrassing – to the state of modern top tier football that is – not Watford or our marvellous support. Jonathan Wilson’s Excellent piece in the Guardian sums it up perfectly – worth a read.

9. David - 19/05/2019

I forced myself to watch the game when I arrived home in South West London Saturday night. It could have been worse was my conclusion but your report Matt has reduced my pain with some very good points.

10. whitbreadjoe - 19/05/2019

I found the match humiliating and probably my worst-ever experience as a Watford supporter. Losing 6-0 in an FA Cup final is embarrassing, there’s no getting away from that and I was praying for the final whistle at the end. I don’t blame the players – the gulf in class is obviously huge – but their heads did drop a little too soon I feel.

That being said, it was an amazing day prior to 5pm and the supporters were magnificent throughout.

Thanks Matt/Ian for all your write-ups again this season.

11. Ross - 19/05/2019

Great piece as usual Matt. As a regular reader of your write-ups, I felt compelled to comment for the first time today to confess to being one of those who may have held you up, grabbing one of those selfies with Fuzz! In my defence, I accosted her in the Railway, so before the ‘Wembley Way Scramble’
As for the game – the support at the end gave me goosebumps. And as I said to my forlorn brother, embarrassed at the scale of the defeat and wondering whether it was better to have not got that far – we’ll always have the euphoria of the semi.
I was in nappies in 84. For those of us of a (slightly) younger generation, as I think you said last season – these are the good old days!

12. Vaughn Smith - 19/05/2019

41 years and counting following the Mighty Gold – I’ll not stop until the day I die. My second FA Cup final disappointment, but despite the outcome it filled me with joy. The walk down Olympic Way – seeing yellow completely dominating; the noise we generated inside the ‘concert venue’; the opposition folk realising that it meant far more to us to be there and be stuffed than it meant to them to win. I love Watford, and I love football – I salute Man City for doing what they did to us. It’s painful, of course it is, but fair play – they did what any great team/athlete would do to their opposition in that situation.

13. Mike - 20/05/2019

You have to give Gracia some credit for making tactical changes at 2-0/3-0 in order to try and retrieve the situation, when most other coaches would have shut up shop. This obviously led to city filling their boots on the counter attack. Our midfield was overrun on too many occasions – too many 2nd balls lost and being caught in possession. The full time whistle couldn’t come sooner enough as far as I was concerned.

14. tonyfirasse - 20/05/2019

Long term Abu Dhabi-based lifelong Hornets fan logging in. Loved the report Matt, as throughout the season.
Nothing sinister about the Abu Dhabi investment in Man City, it is hard-nosed long-term business planning in diversifying revenue from the oil economy.
Who would say no to having your club transformed similarly? The Pozzos have done a magnificent job and here we are solvent, successful and being seen as a role model in some quarters.
It is all about perspective, Maine Roaders saw some dark days and being mocked left right and centre – good luck to them in the stratosphere.
Yes the support is there are growing for Watford FC, we have arrived and have established ourselves. The squad will be enhanced in the summer and not by over-priced, over-rated self seekers.
We are who we are, there is pride, sadness, thoughts of what-might-have-beens. We grow, learn and move on. We have a decent, highly-respected, charming Head Coach in whom the owners and the fans believe. I am optimistic for the future. COYH!

15. Jeff Lloyd - 20/05/2019

The hope that it wouldn’t be like at least two of the last 3 meetings at the Vic, when City absolutely shredded us then too, was quickly not realised. We often play the ‘would you have X in the WFC team?’ game when visiting teams arrive. Is there a single City player who wouldn’t improve the current WFC incumbent? If, like me, you think, ‘no’ then it’s no surprise that teams below the top 2 will get a pasting. We weren’t awful, not great obviously, but not awful. It’s hard to play football without the ball.
Anyway, will not be despondent to pick up £40m for Doucs, £20m for GD and £15m for Bobby. Then buy a couple of unknown European midfielders who turn out to be world beaters!


16. Al Wilson - 20/05/2019

Can’t help but notice that Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Man U, Wolves, Everton, Leicester and West Ham did not get beat 6-0 in the FA Cup final – and why’s that then – because they weren’t there! Sometimes the taking part is even more precious and that’s what I take from this. And thank you Matt and your colleague Ian for taking time with this blog – its appreciated more than you know.

17. Matt Hill - 20/05/2019

Great post and insight. As a neutral I found the whole result utterly depressing for a number of reasons, which I outline here: https://allthingspremierleague.home.blog/2019/05/19/fa-cup-final-a-result-to-despair/. I hope that Watford get another shot at a cup final soon so that this result can be relegated to the back of your minds. All the best, Matt

18. Mark S - 20/05/2019

Those marks must be out of 10 right?

Matt Rowson - 20/05/2019

Why? Because performance is a function of who you’re playing against?

You’re free to disagree Mark. Doing so without sneering would make you sound less objectionable.

RS - 21/05/2019


19. Robin - 20/05/2019

It’s too easy to look at the score and forget that, even at 2-0, we were still very much in the game. And that we missed two very presentable chances and the first 3 goals all owed something to mistakes (Doucoure getting caught in possession, Gomez shouldn’t have come out for the second, failure to deal with a bouncing ball for the third). Those are the margins when playing the likes of City and facing officials with the usual attitude to big clubs.

SteveG - 20/05/2019

But that’s the point, isn’t it? To have any chance in a game like this you need absolutely everything to go your way, and it didn’t – so if Peyreyra is inspired with a little dink or Ederson is a bit slower off his line we go one-nil up. And then Doucoure did get caught in possession, and the ref didn’t give a penalty so those margins ended up becoming a chasm and we got stuffed. But it was a great atmosphere and we still have the memories of the semi-final to look back on and whatever can be said about City’s millions and their origins they are an extraordinarily good football team.

So we end the season with our own version of the double – fastest ever goal conceded in the league and the biggest ever defeat in a Wembley cup final. But it has been a great season and thanks as ever Matt for bringing some colour, humour passion and rationality together in the same place. All together now: “Always look on the bright side of life…”

20. Mike Smith - 20/05/2019

Surprised I didn’t see you in the Railway Matt. Always a good venue. I had loads of compliments about my yellow suit!! Great reports as always & yes the Guardian report sums it all up. A similar one in the S.Times too. An interesting Summer.

21. Red - 20/05/2019

Help please. I know we are a family club. I didn’t know that we were the original, but who is/was Ossie?
Just to say I did enjoy my day. Crying for Abide With Me.

Matt Rowson - 21/05/2019
22. The53rdCard - 20/05/2019

Cheers for the reads this season Matt, enjoy them greatly. Enjoy the break Ben

Sent from my iPhone


23. ROYSTON ROF - 20/05/2019

..enjoy your close season, ..and when is the next seasons review out so I can mark it in my diary?

whilst your are there, where is the Observer clock, and Z cars or Im still standing>

After yesterdays show from the fans, I have been swayed to the later…it could catch on if we were all to make a show of colour as the boys in yellow came out like the show in the last 10 minutes ….

24. Matt Smith - 21/05/2019

Great as ever Matt. Pretty sure I was chatting to your brother on the train up from West Hampstead – there can’t bectgat many people who left Leeds at 4a.m that day!

Matt Rowson - 21/05/2019

He’s the scruffy goon pointing curiously at Fuzz in the second pic. But yes, sounds likely…

25. PEDantic - 21/05/2019

Everyone’s been very sympathetic since Saturday and the media have been complimentary about our fans and their flags (I missed the black ones we also had at the semi). However, every time they mention City won 6-0 it twists the knife a little and I confess I haven’t been able to watch any highlights yet. So I’m afraid I’m with Harefield Hornet on this: I think at 3-0 we should have gone for damage limitation. Don’t lose a Final 6-0 with the world watching. Would 6-1 have felt any better?

On a positive note I enjoyed the rest of the day, particularly the staging of the build-up before the start, which brought a lump to the throat knowing Watford were back for a Final at last. Drinking with friends before and after at West Hampstead was fun too. We stayed to see City lift the Cup, as was the tradition in the past, then I’ve never known a quicker walk back to Wembley Park. Good timing I suppose.

Thanks for the reports through the season Matt, keep up the good work when we reconvene in August and well done on supporting my campaign to educate people that there’s no such street as Wembley Way!

Matt Rowson - 21/05/2019

You need to have a word with that Lineker (I HAVE watched the highlights, or at least the build up stuff). Still disagree with you about strategy tho… to not go for however small a chance there was? Not for me.

Harefield Hornet - 21/05/2019

3 days on and my depression is lifting …slowly! I’m more philosophical about the whole thing than I was a couple of days ago thank goodness but it’s a shame we haven’t got another game – perhaps against another mid – tablish side – you know – just so we can watch the boys (hopefully)hit the back of the net a couple of times again and get this defeat out of their ( and our) system!! I’ve loved watching this team during this season so much I just think it’s a crying shame it had to end like that.

26. Joe Richardson - 22/05/2019

I’ve fully come to terms with the result for the following reasons –

1) I got to see *that* semi-final with my 5-year old daughter. Anything that comes after that is worth it
2) An FA Cup Final! The first I can remember and I may not get many more, so I’m cherishing this regardless of the result.
3) Nobody will care about 6-0 in a few weeks, no more than they would 3-0. But just imagine how we’ll feel if we beat them 1-0 next season? Or in a future cup final? Then we’ll remember.
4) The chap in the West London green grocer who asked me what my prediction was, and gave me my banana for free when I said 1-0, Deeney pen – I’ll remember that longer than all of City’s goals
5) Flags at 5-0 – incredible
6) I’ve felt much, much, worse immediately after countless other games
7) The last few seasons have slowly been reigniting my interest in football. Along with this blog and the recently discovered From the Rookery End podcast, I am buzzing already for next season.

Thanks Matt (especially), IG, and all of you ‘orns!

Matt Rowson - 22/05/2019

Great stuff Joe, in line with my thinking entirely. I love 4 in particular, comparable to Loz flying in from Spain in his Watford shirt on Saturday morning and being waved past the passport queues by an officer who “admired his optimism”…

27. Old Git - 22/05/2019

You mention the outrageous pricing for Cup Final tickets, Matt, compared to the price of your daughters’ season tickets. You have also mentioned Ron Rollitt, the former club secretary who died in 2013. I have my own Ron Rollitt story that helps to define what our club is all about and I would like to share it, especially in the wake of our defeat by FC Abu Dhabi.

I got my first season ticket in 1969. It cost something like £8 17s 6d. Less than a tenner. This was a child’s price and affordable for me. The next season I turned 17 and became ineligible for a half-price ticket. However, I was not earning because I was still at school, studying for my A levels, and the price hike was formidable. So I wrote in to the club, explaining my situation.

I got a reply by return of post from Mr Rollitt. He thanked me for my support in the previous season and wished me good luck with my A levels. He finished by saying that he would be delighted for me to continue to benefit from a half-price season ticket until I left school, and hoped very much that I would carry on supporting Watford for many years to come.

I think my love for our wonderful little club (I use the word ‘little’ with huge affection) was set in stone from that moment. It won’t change now.

Sending best wishes for a lovely summer to you and your family, Matt, to Ian and all the other posters on this brilliant site.

PS. My current season ticket is also half-price….but at the other end of the journey through life!

28. Ilford Pete - 23/05/2019

One of the pleasures of the day was stumbling upon Lloyd Doyley (looking very smart) walking among the crowds at the end (towards Wembly Central). I was able to thank him for all the pleasure he had given me watching him over the years. What a good heart he had, and his focus on not letting an attacker get by was truly memorable.
There is always a silver lining in a disappointing day!

29. Nick B (jnr) - 13/06/2019

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