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02/03: Review:
"Worthy of the position"
By Martin Patching
First published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 16/10/02

Watford's new chairman Graham Simpson launches the club's "Target 10,000" which forms part of the Save our Club campaign. The object is to increase the number of season ticket holders from almost 8,000 to in excess of 10,000. This will provide a further 430,000 per annum and help offset losses incurred. Graham has gone on record, wishing to say a "big thank-you" to the supporters for their initial response to the "Save our Club" campaign, he stressed the importance of keeping the early momentum going, in line with the momentum the team are currently producing on the field of play.

The last two home games have been watched by over 15,000 and 13,000 respectively, so the signs are encouraging. For their part, the team have gained two wins against struggling teams, not an easy task in division one. The displays have been full of spirit, determination and a fair amount of quality. Remember, it was with these vital ingrediants that West Bromich Albion gained promotion last season. Obviously, the season will hold many twists and turns, but The Hornets travel to Gillingham this weekend sitting in fourth place in the table and worthy of the position. The Gills are in mid-table and finding it difficult to score goals at home, only five in six games so far. As always they will be well organised and hard working, with former Watford favourite Andy Hessenthaler and young David Perpetuini in the starting line up recently. Hessenthaler has worked very effectivley on a shoestring budget which goes to show that results can be achieved if managers or coaches are left to work with a similar group of players for long periods.

The coaching expertise of Terry Burton cannot be overlooked in Watford's upturn, with a welcome lack of mid-week fixtures, the training ground efforts are providing the players with a solid foundation to take into games.

Against Grimsby, Tommy Smith came off the bench late in the game and sprinted clear to score Watford's second goal, Dominic Foley having put The Hornets ahead in the first-half. Manager Ray Lewington is left with a tricky choice up front on Saturday. Tommy will join the in-form Heidar Helguson, Dominic Foley and Danny Webber in Ray's team plans. A more than welcome situation, having all four available strikers in form and looking capable of scoring.

I took in the reserve fixture at home to Wimbledon on Tuesday evening, The Hornets' second string winning comfortably. Anthony McNamee was impressive, but it was two local prospects who earned the points. Elliott Godfrey headed home a fine "Macca" cross to put Nigel Gibbs' team ahead and young Jack Smith made up the ground from his left-back position to neatly slot the ball home in the style of, dare I say it?, his elder brother!

The spirit displayed by the first team was also evident in the reserve team players, it was also encouraging to see club captain Neil Cox in attendance. Cox is an excellent example to the younger players and his leadership qualities are invaluable.


In the charts:

Football League Division One
Sherwood, Rice, Bolton, Terry, Rostron, Callaghan, Taylor, Jackett, Barnes, Jenkins, Blissett.
Scorer, Blissett

Reproduced courtesy of Gazette Newspapers