Being a football fan isn’t always easy. It’s an expensive, time consuming way of life that more often than not leaves you feeling drained, disappointed and depressed. Sometimes though, it all goes to plan and you remember just why you do it. For me and two of my Watford supporting cohorts, this weekend was one such occasion.
Watford fans across the world will have got their weekend off to a flying start having witnessed the Hornets thoroughly outclassing previously unbeaten
QPR on their home patch, but for me and my fellow ‘From the Rookery End’ co-presenters the news that our podcast had been downloaded for the 10,000th time made sure the day was a truly unforgettable one.
Having hit this landmark and taken time to reflect on the six podcasts we’ve done to date, I have been able to make a few observations.
Firstly, people are obviously listening to our little podcast. That’s definitely good news. Taking into account our singing voices and questionable attempts at comedy, it’s surprising, but is both reassuring and rewarding nonetheless. If you are one of the fabulous people to have taken the time to download and listen to our efforts so far – thank you!
Secondly, what fun we’ve had. We’ve been incredibly lucky to forge a decent relationship with the club and as such have been able to interview players, visit the training ground, meet the Chief Executive – we have even been allowed to risk our lives by recording a podcast in the out of bounds East Stand. Oh the glamour!
We’ve giggled uncontrollably as we have each taken turns to write and sing songs about our heroes, marvelled at Jon’s seemingly unbreakable optimism, realised with some horror that all the women in my family have crushes on Watford players both past and present, and been staggered at Jason’s ability to recall random statistics at the drop of a hat. Let’s not forget that for most of the time we’re doing all this in a pub. What’s not to like!
My third observation is perhaps the most important. It is that the podcast experience to date has reinforced what I think a lot of us already knew – Watford is a very, very special club. In an age where football club and fan seem to be living an increasingly separate existence, Watford are once again bucking trends and showing that the opposite can be true. The club have put a lot of hard work into community events, but it has been their attitude to us and ‘From the Rookery End’ that has reaffirmed just how lucky we are to be Hornets.
When Jon originally had the idea for the podcast, we had a vague idea that once established, we might be able to swing a couple of quick interviews with the players, or failing that a word with the kit man. How wrong we were. The team at Watford have been absolutely fantastic and having heard the first podcast, willingly responded to our requests for interviews and access to key personnel. How many other clubs would take three blokes, armed with an iPhone and singing Barry Manilow songs about Lloyd Doyley seriously? Not that many. It’s a real mark of the club and its commitment to doing what they can for us, the fans that set them apart from so many of their contemparies. Now more than ever, I’m proud and privileged to be a Watford fan.
Of course, it is a two way process, we give as much as we take. After all, I don’t think it can be a coincidence that shortly after being interviewed by Jason, Jon and I, both Scott Loach and Lee Hodson received their first full International call ups. Don’t mention it lads – just happy to be able to give something back.
In talking to Jason and Jon about our first six podcasts, we’ve each managed to identify a favourite moment so far. Jon’s was a surprise. Both Jason and I assumed he would have been keen to never speak of his singing debut again. Not so.
“I missed the Lloyd Doyley goal against QPR and it hurt. For centuries people have found solace by expressing their hurt through song and I felt that was the best way to deal with my anger, frustration and pain. “Oh Doyley” was straight from the heart and proved to be a great help in dealing with missing one of the most important goals ever to be scored at Vicarage Road.
My recovery was complete when I met a Watford fan in the Rookery who had heard the podcast whilst on holiday, and had spent his week singing my song with his friends in the Spanish sun. Lloyd, if you are reading – I’m sorry. Oh, and that goes for Barry Manilow too.”
The most, ummm, how can I put this, experienced member of the team is Jason and despite being the eldest, his 2010 highlight is all about youth.
“The day we spent watching the Under 18s beat Reading and talking to Nick Cox (Assistant Academy Director) about the work done at Harefield was a great experience. The positivity, passion and belief in what they are trying to achieve was clear to see and it was hugely encouraging. On the pitch, the youngsters really looked the part and I went home that day safe in the knowledge that the future of our club is in safe hands”
Here here Jason. So what of my favourite podcast experience? It’s pretty simple really. A bit like me.
As you will hopefully recall, we interviewed Lloyd Doyley in the second podcast. As you’d expect, Lloyd is a great bloke, but the thing that will stick with me is that we had the same trainers on! As we took time to congratulate each other on our impeccable taste in sneakers, I felt a connection with Lloyd – a common bond that will now never be broken. As a Watford fan, what more could I ask for?
So. Six podcasts done so far,10,000 downloads, lots of fun and some decent football along the way too. Thanks to all of those who have contributed or played a part so far and a massive kiss and cuddle to anyone who has taken the time to download the podcast and listen to us – we really, really appreciate it! Please carry on listening and spread the word!
The next podcast is the Christmas special, featuring an interview with the mighty Malky Mackay. It will be available to download from iTunes or at www.fromtherookeryend.com on Christmas Day.
Come on you Horns!