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Thursday, 4 September 2008

Sing when I'm winning? Watford 2 Ipswich 1 - 30/08/08

So then. I'm back.

Having missed the Palace, Rovers and Charlton games (holidaying in the South of France) I made my home debut against Darlington.

This was something of a strange experience for me. Those of you who read my ramblings towards the end of last season will know that me and football weren't really getting on. So much so in fact that the last entry in this blog was on the 19th April. On that day I severed ties with the game for the summer.

[caption id="attachment_54" align="alignleft" width="128" caption="Pursuit cycling. Bravo!"]Pursuit cycling. Bravo![/caption]

It really all had got too much. Watford were woeful, England were worse and the Premiership was (is) full of some of the most unpleasant people on earth (Hi Ashley. Send my love to Cheryl. You tw*t.). So, I began a trial separation. It was quite nice really. I watched some cricket, I played some cricket. I kept half an eye on the Euro Championships in Austria and Switzerland and I played some half decent golf. I watched the Olympics and discovered that I quite liked pursuit cycling.  I went on holiday. I even did some gardening. Lots and lots of stuff that didn't involve football.

So, when it came to the Darlington game, it was all a bit alien. The first time I had thought about Watford for a good couple of months was when I attempted to go through the turnstiles ahead of the game.

I say attempted because, this being Watford, the end of our trial separation just had to have a hitch. The ticket office had failed to activate my and about 3,000 other season cards, necessitating a lengthy queue at the ticket office to collect a paper ticket. Welcome back to Watford!

Anyway I got in, and the game began. It followed the formula we have come to expect from these games - we play a weakened side against a lower league side. Both sides cancel each other out, with us looking marginally the stronger. We score, they score (late) and there is extra time. The fitness levels and presence of a few experienced players finally tells, and we win through. Just.

It wasn't a great spectacle, but my brother and I agreed that our reserve side beating a first team, albeit a lower league first team, could only be a good thing. That's right ladies and gents, a good thing.  I could feel something I hadn't felt for ages. Enthusiasm.

Ipswich next. And I am definitely back. In the week leading up to the game I am checking websites, reading fans forums, and generally looking forward to it.  I am taking my 7 year old nephew who had specifically requested a trip to see Watford as his birthday present. (Quite remarkable as his only previous visit was the 1-2 reverse against Bristol City last season). The promise of another young Hornet. in the family only adds to the feel good factor.

Game day is sunny and all is well. The ground is full (in the areas that aren't unsafe for human inhabitants)

[caption id="attachment_55" align="alignright" width="128" caption="5:22pm"]22pm[/caption]

and there is a big away following, adding to the atmosphere. Z Cars kicks in and I am definitely, definitely back. Football is brilliant. Mart Poom's 2nd minute clearance isn't however, and Ipswich are ahead.

This is an important moment for me. I'm not sure how I am going to react. I sit there for a while, staring at the Ipswich fans cheering and laughing in equal measure. I think about texting my brother (he is in the Rookery, I'm in the Rous) with some sarcastic comment about great starts. Then it dawns on me. I'm OK. There is a long way to go, and we can turn it around. We can still win this. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, we can now add optimism to the newfound enthusiasm.

I'm delighted. You see, at the end of last season I thought I might have completely fallen out of love with Watford. Maybe even the game as a whole. A couple of minutes after Ipswich went ahead I realised that I am still head over heels.

The Ipswich fans serenaded us with an array of chants that were both amusing and aggravating in equal

[caption id="attachment_56" align="alignright" width="128" caption="7:05pm"]05pm[/caption]

measure - "One-nil to the football team" (That one is presumably on loan from the oh so stylish WBA, currently struggling to score in the Premiership) and the even more laughable "We're just too good for you.." rang out from the Vicarage Road End...

The rest of course is history. Late winner+Ipswich fans and their daft chants+sunny Saturday evening+Watford FC=happiness. Brilliant. I make no excuses or apologies for my feelings and subsequent rants last season, and I stand by them. I don't think I have enjoyed a season less. It was horrible. I really thought it may have been over. I thought I was going to be one of those blokes who "used to go to Vicarage Road a lot when I was younger, but you know, I just stopped going really..."It turns out I'm not.

Bring it on!

4 comments:

  1. What a great article. Sums up my feelings exactly. I still think that, despite a poor finish to last season, we still achieve remarkable results given our financial position and the limitations of the size of the crowd we can pull in. We still got into the playoffs, for God's sake! And WHAT a start to last season! We're really not that bad.

    EXCEPT - first half against the Tractors. Woeful. But - Ipswich scored and could have had two more. Do you know? It didn't worry me. I'm only looking for the Hornets to be a strong Championship team. Unless we get the Sultan of Brunei to fund us, we cannot aspire to be anything else. It's still a tough division.

    Second half - different game. Much better balance and drive. Dominant and the better team. Went home a very happy Hornet fan.

    It's amazing how your focus changes. I love football, but during the close season, I was wrapped up in the Olympics (FANTASTIC!!) and football was a non-event (apart from the soap opera that is the transfer window, of course). Come the start of the season, can I be bovvered? Nah, not really. However, I've renewed my season ticket, so off I go with no great hopes. Sit there in the Upper Rous, listening to the garbage that the visiting fans sing and then joining in the response. Ah! All of a sudden, my mind is football, football, football. The adrenalin rush of a goal. The closeness of a miss (from either side). I'm back in love and, even though this is Watford FC, hardly the greatest club the world has ever known, they have yet again become big in my life and take over.

    I scan football websites, but of course, it's all about the big boys. I get bored - what I REALLY want to know is - is there any Watford news? It's MUCH more important than anything else in football terms, and that includes England, who are desperately painful to watch. Club rools OK!

    As Aidy would say - COME ON!! A top ten finish would be absolutely great.

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  2. Nice work Shirl.

    I ended last season feeling much the same and while I'm regaining interest, I haven't been ARSED to go to a game yet.

    All in good time.

    Nice to see the start to the season isn't the SHOCKER I was expecting.

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  3. You only post when you're winning...

    C'mon just because we lost our last two games doesn't mean you should quit typing.

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  4. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post... nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

    ReplyDelete