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02/03: Reports:

Nationwide Division One, 25/02/03
Wolverhampton Wanderers
By Pete Fincham

While driving to Wolves on Tuesday night, the discussion perversely centred around there only being two sure things in life; firstly that you will be touched, and secondly that you will, quite inevitably, die. Taking this in isolation, it would appear that the remainder of one's life is full to the brim of unpredictable incident, and events that will never be repeated.

But by the journey back to Leeds, Will and I were discussing how life is full of constants, with a whole variety of things staying the same, lending weight to the idea that for some of us, life can be fairly predictable.

Take Wolves for example; a big ground, a big club, a big time team. Yes, the myth still exists! This is perpetuated not least by our West Midlands cousins who are yet to visit the hallowed ground of the Premier League, while much less grand clubs such as Swindon, QPR and indeed our very own Hornets have graced the top tier of English football's answer to Jerry Maguire shouting "Show me the money"! Hence, the inevitability is that every year you spend in the First Division, you will always play Wolves. Like Royston Vasey, they will never leave it!

Furthermore, you can guarantee that at any midweek away game, the same groups of die hards will be at the match, a predictability that I find strangely reassuring. The chant will go up "We're mentally ill, we're only here 'cause we're mentally ill!" and few of the assembled troops disagree! There will be the obligatory overweight home fan with scrawny goatee beard who yells out about Elton John's preferences, and the handsigns from the home end that suggest we'd be better off getting a taxi from inside the stand than walk back to the car. There is also the obligatory question from one of the chaps about whether he has handled his latest mini-crisis with his latest vapid lady friend correctly.

Life is, in fact, rather predictable; except for this Watford team, that is. A matter of days since they limped to a quite sleep-inducing defeat on the other side of the congested M6, this team battled astonishingly well to record their third clean sheet in four away games, and in the process denied Kenny Miller the a record of scoring in eight consecutive games. Perhaps Alec Chamberlain will reflect on the game with most satisfaction, as his performance was simply outstanding, pulling off two world class saves in the first half, to ensure Miller did not get the record. Perhaps Vernazza could have done better with fifteen minutes to go, but predictably his shot did not find the net, and the assembled 453 away fans predictably went without the ecstasy of an away goal to celebrate for the tenth time this season.

But whether life is predictable or not, this season is not over. 453 Watford fans - several thousand fewer people than will inevitably apply for Brighton tickets - will testify that at least the players know there is still much to play for. Inevitably, I'll be at the Vic on Saturday.

First published in the Free Watford Observer