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01/02: A Luddite writes...:
Will the real Watford please stand up...
By Dave Messenger

Walsall Away, December 29th
A thoroughly professional team performance with some super individual displays. We scored three very good and well worked goals and generally bossed our lower table opponents about like a playground bully collecting sweets. It was great stuff. Good Watford.

Millwall Home, January 1st
A rotten old performance from start to finish. When the highlight of the game is the opposition's fourth goal, no matter how deserving the scorer is, it kind of sums up the day. Shite Watford.

Rotherham United Away, January 12th
In the morning, WIFC's rearguard was tested time and again but stood firm and earned a draw. In the afternoon, we watched our professional counterparts, each of whom earns a fair amount of money, bumble and crawl to a similar result by the skin of their teeth. Ragged Watford.

Millwall Away, January 15th
A fully committed Watford team battle against the odds to within a whisker of a deserved draw with only ten and later nine men. Each player can be rightly pleased with the effort shown. Battling Watford.

And there are our last four league matches and also our season in no more than ten sentences. Like many people, I'm starting to wonder if Watford have any idea which of their different guises will arrive for each match. We've certainly seen plenty of each so far. This isn't meant as a criticism of the management or players so far, the point is that the only consistent thing about Watford so far this season is their inconsistency. Just when Good Watford appear to have shaken off the cobwebs of the Worthington Cup disaster, along come Shite Watford to blow things up again.

When you look at some of the players themselves you see the same baffling pattern. I'm a big fan of Battling Ramon Vega, but Ragged Ramon played at Rotherham. We have generally seen Shite Patrick Blondeau on show but at Millwall, Good Patrick showed up. It all makes summing up where we're at and how Vialli is getting on a very difficult task indeed. Even though Good Robbo and Good Coxy have been the stars of the season so far, we've still seen the Shite versions of both once or twice.

On the whole, though, things are still progressing in the right direction slowly but surely. Let's take stock. As I write we're eleventh and eight points away from the playoffs. Not great but not bad either and were the season to finish now, not a great return on the investments made in the summer. However, the style of football we're playing is good. There is a little too much fanny football being played in our own half at times but when we're going forward and Good Watford are in town, our passing is second to none in our division. With sixteen games left to play, there's still plenty of time to get up a good head of steam, shake Ragged and Shite Watford out of our system and gain at the very least, a top ten finish. Most of us would agree that Vialli's Watford is not ready for Premiership football yet, another year in Division One won't kill us.

Will that be good enough for the Watford faithful, though? For the most part, I would hope the answer will be yes. An element of our support still seems to think the very presence of Gianluca Vialli is enough to ensure our elevation to a higher league status. What more will it take to convince them that a lot of hard work still needs to be done for us to be genuine contenders? The Millwall and Rotherham games saw the Italian involved with the opposition crowd, stewards and referees, not to mention his own players, and his desire to steer Watford to glory seems to be burning as strongly as ever. There was still plenty of chanting of his name at Millwall and while there have been plenty of times when Vialli has taken some stick, there is still much goodwill and belief that he will succeed in the end. If for no other reason than his efforts so far, he deserves to be given time.

In the meantime, here's to Good Watford showing up for the rest of the season....