Monthly Archives: August 2009

A night in the life of football fan.

There is generally one thing you can be sure of on a busy night of sport. Contrasting emotions. Yesterday was no different.

Come with me if you will through an evening in the muddled mind of yours truly…

Time: 5:25 Emotion: Disappointment. The radio reports that England ladies have gone 2-1 down in their Euro 2009 curtain raiser. They are also down to 10 after a dodgy dive in the 1st half from the Italian striker. Who says the ladies aren’t as good as the men? They can con the refs with the best of them…England go on to l0se the game.

I think it is also worth noting the flippant way in which this game was covered. Tired cliche’s about the women’s game were lamely trotted out and the piece descended into pathetic laddish jokes. Having said that, I guess I get what I deserve if I listen to talkSPORT.

Time: 6:10pm Emotion: Excitement. I’m home, I see my 8 month old daughter for the first time since 7:30am and Watford are playing tonight. I know I am supposed to be all grown up and sensible, but nothing can replace the sense of anticipation that rumbles and grows in your belly ahead of your team kicking off. What will the team be? Who will score? What will happen? No-one ruddy knows and it’s brilliant! Even guessing the attendance is a cause for childlike excitement…

Time: 7:14 Emotion: Bewilderment. BBC 3 Counties Radio draw my attention to the fact that Watford have accepted a bid for Tommy Smith from Portsmouth. Just when this saga looked like reaching a conclusion, there is yet another twist, and for Tommy all roads lead to the South Coast and another tilt at the Premiership.

I have to confess, this news put a broad grin on my face. I have nothing against Reading fans, in fact I feel hugely sorry for them – this episode must have been annoying for them as it has been us, but I still have minor issues with their boss.

If I’m honest, the thought of the assembled local press watching on whilst Brendan Rodgers smile slowly slips from his face as he hears the news “Tommy Smith is having a medical at Portsmouth…” fills me with mischievous delight.

Time: 7:20 Emotion: Sadness.News filters through about “large scale unrest” ahead of the West Ham United V Millwall cup tie. Not entirely unexpected, but saddening nonetheless. I have a daughter that I want to take to football soon. We don’t need this.

Time 8:30 Emotion: Cautious Optimism. Half time at Elland Road and Watford are behind. 1-0. The commentary suggests we are playing well though, and for once, I am not completely resigned to defeat. You see, for all my excitment before a game, once it gets underway I am the most frightful pessimist. Those who have read Adrian Chiles book will know what I mean – I’m just like him. I think it was the great Graham Taylor who once summed up our plight so perfectly – “For a football fan, there is nothing so dangerous as hope…”

Time: 9:27 Emotion: Pure unadulterated delight. Watford youngster Marvin Sordell equalises for the mighty Hornets. Anyone watching at this time would have been treated to the sight of me dancing round the living room and kitchen in an excited style that can only be described as a cross between punk and breakdancing. One of these days I’ll put my back out. It will be worth it though.

The game goes to extra time and my long suffering girlfriend just about manages to conceal her annoyance that she now has to endure another 30 minutes of me prowling around like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Time: 10:00 Emotion: Disgust. Footage from the West Ham game starts to appear on the TV. Deeply unpleasant both inside and outside the ground. My mind starts to wander as to how the media will portray this. The obvious link will be to any harm done to our 2018 bid.

In many ways the media coverage of events like this are as unsavoury as the unrest itself, but we really can’t avoid the fact that what was unfolding was pretty ugly and totally inexcusable. Have these people no shame?

On the plus side, there seems to be some pretty clear footage, so tracking down many of the protagonists should be fairly straightforward.

Time: 10:10 Emotion: Despondancy. Leeds United grab a second goal in extra time, and there is no way back for Watford. Leeds 2 Watford 1, and we are out of the Carling Cup. A competition we were unliklely to win, but a loss is a loss, and every onse hurts. The excitment of earlier in the evening is a dim and distant memory.

So, my evening  started with disappointment and ended with despondancy. Looking at it that way, it may be hard to see why so many of us devote so many of our emotional and financial resources to following sport.  However, as we all know, if someone has to ask the question  “why do you do it? What’s the attraction?” then they are unlikely to ever fully understand the answer.

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Since we last spoke…

Whilst various managers and fans have been getting their knickers in a twist about dear old Tommy Smith, Watford have played two games of football. A truly welcome reminder as to what we are actually here for.

Saturday saw the home draw with Blackpool, and last night’s game away at Leeds was our first tentative glimpse into the post-Tommy era

Now, I’m ashamed to admit, I wasn’t at either game. I couldn’t go to the Blackpool game as I was at a wedding, (It was very nice actually, thanks for asking) and last night, well, last night was away at Leeds. On a Tuesday.

Therefore I’m not speaking from a position of much authority, but from what I have gathered form the various radio stations, interviews, web forums and blogs, things aren’t looking too bad. Not too bad at all. We sound like we are passing the ball reasonably well, creating chances and I’ll be blowed if we aren’t even scoring some.

Don Cowie is back from injury and Mike Williamson continues to inspire confidence. Of the summer signings, Danny Graham seems to have hit the ground running, although rather worryingly he hit the ground not running but in a crumpled heap at Elland Road last night, and didn’t re-emerge for the 2nd half. Hopefully just a precautionary move.

Lloyd Doyley doesn’t sound like he is playing as well as he did last season, and the same goes for young Ross Jenkins, who this year is playing with a sense of expectation for the first time. I’m sure they will both come good.

Obviously we are conceding goals, the game at Barnet representing our sole clean sheet this season. Letting two in at home to Blackpool  doesn’t indicate that we are going to be challenging at any stage this season. But we knew that. Following as it did the 2-4 romp at the City Ground, It does however seem to indicate that Watford games are going to be fun again. Entertaining. Enjoyable.

Fun, entertaining and enjoyable.  I reckon that will do for me.

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Tommy Smith and other animals

I’m a bit older now. A bit calmer. I don’t swear quite as much at match officials, and my goal celebrations are slightly less enthusiastic than they once were. Even Neil Warnock doesn’t wind me up that much any more.

So, with my new found sense of calm, I have been quite proud of the sanguine way in which I have accepted Watford’s current financial plight. Despite the never ending tales of black holes in accounts and player departures, I have continually been able to find the positives and maintain some sort of optimistic excitment.

Even now, as the Tommy Smith saga looks to be drawing to a long overdue conclusion (1.8million toReading is the latest) I am hopeful that we’ll be able to plug the gap somehow.

It’s the thought of his unveileing at the Madjeski Stadium press conference that sees me regress into an angry young man. The thought of his smug face, grinning for the cameras as he puts his arm round our Tommy Smith.

I don’t blame Tommy, he’ll be on more cash, and I don’t blame the board as we need the money too. It’s just a shame it had to be Reading. It’s a shame it had to be him.After considering this saga though, it occurs to me that in this age of super rich footballers, distant, aloof and detached from both reality and us fans,  it isn’t actually that hard to keep the public on your side.

Take our friend Mr Rodgers. His comments before leaving for Reading were just hopeless. His talk of integrity blown wide apart by his tastelessly hasty departure up the M4. At best his words were ill advised, at worst they made him a bare faced liar. Watford fans, while not entriely surprised, rightly seethe.

Weeks later he opens his mouth again, to proclaim that “Tommy wants to join us”. Presumably it was only after this quote hit the press he realised he isn’t allowed to talk to contracted players without permission.

Two examples of opening mouth before engaging brain.

Now we all know that Smith has been the subject of transfer speculation for some time now. But what has Tommy done? Tried to engineer a move through the media? No. Discussed it in public? No. He has kept quiet, and it is for this reason that when he returns to Vicarage Road in a reading shirt he’ll get a standing ovation. Rodgers thought he was clever enough to open his mouth and conduct his business through the media. Something tells me he will be afforded an ever so slightly different reception.

Tommy will get the new me.  I am most definitely saving a bit of the old me for Brendan Rodgers.

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I’m back. Again.

Hi everyone.

I know, I know. It’s been a while. A long while. Again. But this is it. A bright new dawn. My updates from this day forth will be regular, if not rational and sensible.

You have my word.

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