LATEST EPISODE: As one Ends, another Begins

As the Watford first team's season comes to an End, the Ladies team are kicking off a new era in the Women's Super League. Jon, Jason and Mike head to their first game of the season, talk to manager John Salomon and player Renne Hector, plus the boys chat about Troy Deeney's future, the late conceding of goals and the rest run of games. Plus the boys talk to Academy boss CHris McGuane.Email us: podcast@fromtherookeryend.com

Thursday, 30 August 2012

WFC in 100 Objects - #30 - Kevin Miller's Daz White Clean Sheets

Early 1995. Yours truly was approaching graduation in Manchester. And whilst not important in the grand scheme of things, my WFC support during the university years had been limited to trips to Tranmere, Bolton,  Burnley, alongside cramming in trips to the Vic during the holiday periods. So what was I missing out on? Well, a half decent run in the F.A. Cup and an impressive showing in the First Division that saw the Hornets just squeezed out of the play-off positions. Both of these achievements were founded on a fantastic run of nine clean sheets from the first game of 1995 and only ended with an unexpected home defeat to Sunderland towards the end of February.

Strikers get all the glory when they're banging in the goals, so it's only right that a big chunk of credit for this defensive run goes to Kevin Miller. Don't get me wrong, Colin Foster and Keith Millen performed admirably that season. But Miller was showing us early signs as to why Crystal Palace would end up paying £1.5million for a Division Two goalie in 1997. In fact, then in the Premier League, Palace were the last of the sides unable to breach Miller's defences, during a 0-0 draw in the Fifth Round of the F.A. Cup at Vicarage Road. Not satisfied with that effort, after the disappointing Sunderland result, it took Palace all the way into extra time, before they eventually broke the duck at Selhurst Park in the replay.

Kevin can't have it all his own way though. He was missing for one of those games, the 3rd Round cup tie at Scarborough. Another 0-0 draw, Perry Digweed the custodian on this occasion. However, he didn't miss out too often and made over 150 appearances in league and cup during the three years he spent with the Hornets. Kevin enjoyed a very long professional career, with his final appearance in the Football League coming as recently as 2007 for Torquay United. Kevin has remained in the South West, still turning out for Bodmin Town. Of course, all Watford fans will know his finest moment of the 21st century came last summer, as part of the Watford team that triumphed in the London Masters at Wembley Arena (From The Rookery End were there and spoke to most of the squad, including Kevin).

 But as 20th century achievements go, that run of clean sheets in 1995 must be one of the best during the years book-ended by the two management spells of his almightiness, Graham Taylor. So, the latest entry into From The Rookery End's 100 Objects is Kevin Miller's Daz white clean sheets (other clothes washing products are available).

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

PODCAST: Meet the Management

Watford fans still smarting from the last gasp defeat to Bradford City have something to take your mind off the Hornets Cup exit today, as the new episode of the ‘From the Rookery End’ podcast is released.

And we have a special one for you. In the new edition features an exclusive interview with Watford manager Gianfranco Zola.

We asked him to pick a five-a-side team from the best players he’s played with and against - it's quite a list of football legends.You'll hear his views on the squad that he inherited, plus we probed him on his footballing philosophy and we’re sure Watford supporters will like what he had to say.

With his career as Watford boss in its infancy we did spend time talking about his career both as a player and a manger elsewhere – it was absolutely fascinating.

The podcast also features a song for Watford’s veteran defender Lloyd Doyley who is celebrating his testimonial year with the Hornets, and Jon, Jason and Mike are joined by fellow fan David Lewy to discuss what has been a busy opening to the season, with the EPPP, the Pozzo family takeover and the new ‘Zola’ style of football all up for debate.

It has been a hectic summer to be a Watford fan, and now the season has started there continues to be plenty to discuss. It’s a hugely interesting time to be a supporter and there are a wide range of views as to the direction the club is travelling. We hope the podcast gives a balanced approach to discussing the things that are important to us as fans, and hope you enjoy what we had to say – whether they agree with it or not. After a summer of change however, one thing remains the same – our singing sounds awful!

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

THIRTY YEARS AGO - 1982/83


This season marks the 30th Anniversary of Watford's first season in the top division of English Football - Division 1 as it used to be known. To mark what was an amazing season for the club there will be a feature in each matchday programmes this season documenting 1982/83 from start to finish.

Each will be 8 pages long and feature photos from back in the day, clips of newspaper articles and a interview with a key player from the team that season. On top of that will be the words of From The Rookery End's very own Mike Parkin. Mike has been thumbing through the archives, chatting to the players and will your guide through the games of that season and the events in and around Vicarage Road.


If you grabbed a programme at the Watford vs Ipswich game then check out page 39 where you'll read about the start of the season when the club took on Everton and Southampton, plus there's an interview with the scorer of the Hornets first ever goal in the top flight - Gerry Armstrong.


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Watford 2012



Well that wasn’t so bad was it? For the football fan, the summer usually represents a seemingly never ending wait for the season to re-commence. Days are spent searching for even the smallest crumb of news regarding your club, scouring the darkest recesses of the internet to find out a bit about the 13 year old Moldovan that someone claimed may be on his way for a trial. This summer was a bit different though. Of course, as Watford supporters, we had the takeover saga to keep us occupied, whilst there was also the excellent Euro 2012 for a less parochial football fix. Then there was the Olympics. The great big, wonderful, awesome, inspirational, bonkers Olympics. 

You can probably tell that I loved it, I hope you did too, but since the games closed, conversation seems to have focussed around two things. 1) What on earth was the closing ceremony all about, and 2) Why can’t footballers be more like Olympians?

I’m not going to answer either question, they’ve both been done to death. Instead I am going to look at whether footballers could be more like Olympic events, as I reckon at Watford we have a few candidates. 

Take Lloyd Doyley as an example. Celebrating his testimonial year, Lloyd has triumphed in the face of adversity, kept fighting when it looked like it would be easier to give in and above all else, has been going for ages. Lloyd is clearly the footballer version of the ultimate endurance race - the Marathon.

For whatever reason, the Beach Volleyball has proved to be a popular sport since it’s introduction to the Olympic schedule. Unfeasibly attractive people playing in unfeasibly small swimwear. I can’t see the attraction myself. There’s a man at Watford who’d fit right in though. With his Hollywood smile and gleaming white teeth, John Eustace is the perfect fit. Team GB excelled in a number of sports during the summer, although we came up a long way short in the synchronised swimming. Perhaps if we’d sent the Watford defensive pairing of Martin Taylor and Nyron Nosworthy we’d have done better. Their near telepathic understanding and precision timing make them the living embodiment of the sport. Perhaps.

There has been a lot written and said about Sean Murray in recent months. I’ll vouch that this is the first time he has been likened to the 200 metres sprint though. Whilst ‘our’ Sean isn’t the most spectacularly skillful player, he still manages to deliver electrifying excitement. Not quite the 100 metres, the undeniable jewell in the athletics crown, but one that delivers regardless. I wonder if the nickname ‘200 metre Murray’ will catch on? We’ll see.

Taekwondo appeared to be primarily about blocking your opponents scoring efforts, so I’m hopeful that Manuel Almunia will prove himself worthy in that category. After losing previous ping pong champs Danny Graham and Aidy Mariappa, I’ll avoid talking about table tennis, and move onto shooting. With an admirable record of 26 goals in 60 goals for Granada, it sounds like Alex Geijo has a reasonable eye for the target.

Finally, the arguable stars of London 2012, were the Team GB cyclists, a group of athletes whose attention to detail, dedication and skill has propelled them to the top of their field. Let’s hope that Gianfranco Zola can emulate cycling supremo and guide Watford FC to similarly lofty heights.

Come on You Horns!

-- Mike


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Monday, 6 August 2012

PODCAST: Cautiously Optimistic

We are back for the third season of From The Rookery End podcast.  Yes, it really has been that long!

And as Watford start a new season, with a new manager, new owners and a new pitch, Jason, Mike and I chat about the flip-flopping exit of the previous owner Laurence Bassini. We hope this is the last time we mention him on a podcast.
Heath Chesters - he lives in the
sunshine!


And as he went out the back door the Pozzo family were coming in the front. So to try and figure out what life might be like under our new Italian owners we got out all our fancy pieces of equipment and conduct our first ever international interview. We talk to Spanish based, British journalist Heath Chesters who has covered the Pozzo Family's 2nd Club CF Granada since they took the club over in 2009 and knows how they have changed the fortunes of that club.



Plus on his big day we talk to Lloyd Doyley to get his reaction to what was a great day for his Testimonial match against Spurs.
Lloyd thanking the fans after his Testimonial

LISTEN OUT FOR OUR COMPETITION... The new FTRE Competition gives you a chance to win a unique piece of Gianfranco Zola's Watford memorabilia. Yes it's his name sign from his first ever press conference where he told the world he was now in-charge at Watford FC - a money can't buy prize.

This Month's Prize
RULES: Entires will only be taken via email. Entries must be sent to - podcast@fromtherookeryend.com. There is only one entry per person and entries close on 23rd August 2012 with the winner announced in the next From The Rookery End Podcast.

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Thursday, 2 August 2012

WFC in 100 Objects - #29: The Ivanhoe Knight


Every year I go canoeing with a bunch of mates. We paddle down the River Wye for the weekend and meander about 20 miles in 2 days. It's pretty hard going, but we eat a lot of Wagon Wheels, drink plenty of beer and have lots of fun messing about on the river. At lunchtime on Saturday we stop off for food, and more beer, at the Hope and Anchor in Ross-on-Wye. In 2011 I decided to wear my Watford shirt and as walked through the pub to use the gents I heard a cry, "Oi Watford!". The shout came from a slightly older fella who was enjoying lunch with his Watford supporting family.

As you do when you meet another Hornet you discuss the hot topic - Danny Graham's transfer to Swansea at that point - I mentioned this list and he told me about how a Knight on horse back invaded the Vicarage Road back in 1952. The Knight was promoting the new Elizabeth Taylor film 'Ivanhoe'. He told me that back then it cost exactly the same to go to the local cinema as it did to watch Watford play (how times have changed) and it had been a close decision that day as to which centre of entertainment he would go to. He chose Watford and enjoyed a very memorable piece of half time entertainment. He couldn't remember who Watford were playing or what the result .

I've never seen the film, not even late night on a Sky Movies channel. IMDB handily gives us this synopsis:

Returning from the Crusades in the Holy Land, Ivanhoe learns that King Richard the Lionheart is imprisoned in Austria. Once in England, his pleas to pay the ransom fall on deaf ears as Prince John and cronies enjoy their current situation far too much. Joining forces with Robin of Locksley, Ivanhoe takes steps to raise the money all the while trying to re-establish his relationship with his father who disowned him years previously. 

I think we can all agree it would be dramatic and action packed movie that deserves tracking down on DVD!

If you've got any memories of unusual people of things that made an appearance on the hallowed turf of Vicarage Road then drop us an email - podcast@fromtherookeryend.com. Now please forget this post as technically I have broken the first rule of Canoe Club - don't talk about Canoe Club!

- Jon

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