For the final time this season, Jon, Jason and Mike are here with a new podcast. In this episode they countdown the Top 10 things of the 2013-2014 season and talk to Ross Wilson, former Director of Football Operations at the club.

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

WFC in 100 Objects #45 - A Watford FC Branded Double Decker Bus

Not the actual bus!
It was a school holidays in the late 80's, and the junior hornets, then run by the legendary Ann Swanson, were on a day trip to Highbury. I was on the trip and we'd enjoyed a tour of the stadium, hearing the horse and cart ghost story, and a game of football in the JVC centre - an indoor sports hall in the depths of Highbury.

After a great day we all piled back onto the Watford branded double decker bus and headed home in high spirits. There may have been a chant or two. We were joined by a few of the youth team players at the time - David James was one from memory - and I was sat on the top deck about 6-7 rows from the front on the top deck. How could a football filled day like this go wrong? (this is feeling like a set up in an episode of Casualty). 

As we went past, what I remember to be, Finsbury Park train station we went under a railway bridge. It was no ordinary bridge, it was a bridge that was a fraction lower than the height of our bus. There was a sound of very loud crunching and scrapping as the metal roof opened as easily as the foil on a sandwiches I'd devoured earlier that day. A shout of "GET DOWN!!" was bellowed by David James, and we all ducked. The roof of the first 2-3 rows were concertina back. All were checked and found to be okay. We got off, waited at the side of the road before being taken to a near by police station. There we waited. No mobile phones to call home or tweet a picture of the bus, but all were happy and we got to see the police cells. Our behaviour must have been good as no one was left behind at the station.

After talking about this object on the podcast, Ralph Buckland send us an email with a picture of a toy Routemaster bus, with Watford FA Cup Final '84 branding, that he owns, which is currently on loan at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon Warwickshire. As you can see it's roof is in good nick!

So object 45 in our list of 100 Objects that define Watford Football Club is a Watford Branded Bus, no matter how big or small.

Monday, 21 July 2014


As football supporters it doesn’t suit us to admit it, but for professional footballers, playing football is just a job. The majority will have the good sense to admit that they are fortunate to be involved in a profession that see’s them paid handsome wages to do something they (presumably) love, but it’s still just a job.It doesn’t suit us to think like that because these guys are our heroes. We talk about them endlessly, sing their praises and chant their names. Imagining them as people who are the same as us; working to pay off mortgages and credit card bills, ruins the mystique somewhat.

Deep down however, you know it’s the case.

So think about it for a minute. Think about the last time you got a new job. A pay rise. An improved bonus and a new company car. You were pretty pleased, right? You told your family and friends who were all, rightly, delighted for you. It was exciting and you were proud of what you’d achieved. Quite right too, congratulations. So why should it be any different for a footballer? When a player signs for a new club, it’s for one of two reasons. He’s either on the way down, or on the way up. Players in decline can usually leave without too much backlash. They’ve done their bit and are moving on. It’s best for both parties. It’s when a player is at the peak of his powers and wants to move - that’s when it tends to get a touch awkward.

Troy Deeney has had a tremendous couple of seasons in a Watford shirt. He’s scored bucket-loads of goals, performed (mostly) with pride and passion, very rarely giving the impression that’s he’s giving anything but his all. He’s a striker at the peak of his powers, and is unsurprisingly attracting interest from Premier League clubs. It has all been a bit daft up until now, Sean Dyche has chanced his arm with a few early bids, but with the Watford Observer confirming that Leicester City have just had a £6.5m bid turned down, it feels as if things have started to get serious. 

To be clear, I desperately hope Troy Deeney stays with Watford. With him in the side I believe we’d have an excellent chance of promotion and if the thought of seeing him re-united with Matej Vydra doesn’t excite you, then I suggest you check your pulse. Having said that, if he wanted to leave, I’d fully understand why. He’d in effect, be getting a promotion. A new job with better pay, bigger bonuses, potentially greater opportunities and more security for his family. All the things that you and I want from our professional careers. I think if Deeney does go, he should go with our blessing.

But why should we sell? We don’t have to. We have the Pozzos don’t we? 

Yes, we have the Pozzos. A clever, savvy, tough family who have made a success of their business interests and of their football clubs. They have made it to where they are today by knowing when the time to do a deal is right. I’m pretty certain they’ll do the same on this occasion. ON occasion I’ve been baffled to see Watford supporters questioning the Pozzo family, asking when they are going to pay a transfer fee. I always struggle to see the relevance of this. Why do they need to pay a fee? Will the receipt prove that they are serious? I’d have thought there was enough evidence knocking around already to suggest that they mean business. I dread to think how much it will have cost to sort out the mess left by Bassini. The players currently at Watford will be on the highest wages ever to be seen at Vicarage Road. You may have noticed a new East Stand appearing. These things cost money. Lots of it. There will be a time when Watford Football Club will be expected to provide something in the way of revenue, at the very least some significant entry in the “money in” column. Could you blame the Pozzo family if they took this opportunity to get a little something back? 

Ah, but if we keep Deeney and get promoted, that would be worth immeasurably more than the 7 or 8 million they’d get from selling Deeney. Parting with him now would show that they aren’t serious about promotion. Right?

Well, if Troy stayed and if we went up, then yes. They and Watford would be quids in. There are a lot of “ifs” in that sentence though, aren’t there? What if Deeney stays and we don’t go up? What if Deeney stays and gets injured after 2 games? What if, what if, what if. It’s all conjecture, guesswork and luck. It’s about making the right decision at the right time, something that I think we’d all agree, the Pozzo family have proved to be pretty good at.

Then there’s Troy himself. His choices have a big part to play in this. I’ve heard people suggest that he shouldn’t be allowed to move. Well, that’s easier said than done. Troy Deeney does his best work when his head’s in the game, when he means business. Who’s to say how he’ll perform if he’s told he can’t move. Told that he’s being denied that chance to advance his career, to earn more money, to make his family more secure. To get, let’s face it, would be a better job. I know how I’d feel…

As I said, I want Troy Deeney to stay and sincerely hope he does. If he is to leave however, there are two things that I’m conformable with. 1) That Troy will have deserved and earned his move, and 2) That in being owned by the Pozzo family, whatever deal is done, it will be right for the long term future of Watford Football Club.

Monday, 9 June 2014


Reverend and the Makers Love Leighton...
Leighton Baines. he seems like a decent bloke, doesn't he? He's an excellent left back, he looks pretty cool, he seems nice in interviews and he applauds the fans when he goes to take a corner. Oh, and he's taken a guitar to Brazil with him. Full marks all round then, and that's why here at From the Rookery End, we're fully behind the "Love Leighton" campaign being run by our friends over at XFM. Our very own Mike will be sporting one of the t-shirts (modelled by reverend and the Makers above) in Sao Paulo, as we look to spread the Love Leighton word so keep your eyes peeled at the England games this summer and let us know if you spot him or one of the t-shirts (surely set to be the must have fashion accessory of the summer) in Brazil.

On a more serious note, Leighton Baines is the subject of Mike's latest piece for and you can read it by clicking the link below. Let us know what you think!