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02/03: Review:
By Martin Patching
First published in the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 07/11/02

The Hornets swarm into the top three following last Saturday's 1-1 draw against The Wolves. Watford were unfortunate only taking the one point from the game. Neil Cox scored, for the second successive game, from a Neal Ardley set piece. The same combination produced the second goal in last week's away win at Stoke City. The opener against Wolves was The Hornets third goal on the trot to result from a set piece. Ardley's deliveries from dead balls are a danger to the opposition and proving a most welcome addition to Watford's attacking options. Wolves manager David Jones admitted his side were lucky to have snatched a point with their 90th minute deflected equaliser. On the other hand, Watford boss Ray Lewington had nothing but praise for his team who have "surprised a few people in this division". Ray was rewarded with the Nationwide manager of the month, twelve points from five games, firing Watford into play-off contention and confirming Ray's appointment as sound.

Post match, the players were very disappointed to have conceded the late goal. A fact not lost on Ray, who informed the squad it was a measure of the vast improvement that a point at home against a most experienced and possibly the most expensive Division One club was not sufficient in the players' minds. Cox left the field having gone over on his ankle, his influence has been immeasurable and it is hoped the injury will not be too serious. Having climbed the league table, steering clear of the treatment table is now vital.

Saturday was a moving experience for me personally, I stood in the players tunnel, witnessing the two clubs I had played for take to the field, spine-tingling indeed. Words? Not adequate enough vehicles for these situations, a taste of living again.

Moving onto the Watford chairman Graham Simpson, who gave a rousing speach prior to the game. Graham thanked the supporters and also asked for more of the same in terms of supporting the forthcoming share issue. Too close to Santa's sleigh arriving? However, the next six weeks are the most important period in the club's history, in some respects the impressive form on the field has taken the attention away from the club's financial plight. If Watford were presently third from the bottom of Division One and staring at relegation, more of a crisis situation would exist. That fortunately is not the case, but the "wood" is still thick, Graham informed me that the "next six weeks are vital". Personally, I encourage fans to join the Watford Trust fund, or buy shares at the time of the issue, the date will be announced shortly. The Watford trust fund now have over a thousand members and by way of proxy, approaching 20 million in share capital. Any questions potential members feel they need answering, may be satisfied by e-mailing "".

Talk of Santa leads onto Watford's new book, "Team Shirts to Ticket Stubs", well worth the asking price of 14.99 for any stocking filler and available from the club shops. Attending the launch was a pleasure and amongst others, Steve Terry, Ian Bolton and Les Taylor will be joining other ex-Watford Stars of the 80s and 90s in the new year for a selection of "old boys" games. The aim? Raising money! We will be joined by Luther, John Barnes, Nigel Gibbs, Malcolm Allen, Ian Richardson and more. More information nearer the time.

Onto Saturday, Rotherham, my humble home town. Having forecast the last two correct results for The Hornets, is a third possible?

I hope so, I'm happy enough to go with a share of the spoils. United manager Ronnie Moore is linked with almost every vacant manager's post going, he does however galvanise the Millers into producing their maximum. Rotherham overcame Wimbledon in Tuesday evening's fixture at Selhurst Park where the crowd changes once again seemed to outnumber the team changes!


In the charts:
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club (for the third week)

Football League Division One Watford 0 Coventry City 0
Sherwood, Rice, Bolton, Jackett, Rostron, Callaghan, Taylor, Lohman, Barnes, Armstrong, Blissett. Sub; Jenkins.

Another few words for BSaD....

The "20 years ago" feature appearing got me going somewhat (steady). You must see, I considered my recollections to be as near, or as close to, the actual events as were possible. As close as may be expected for a former Watford "injured/forgotten/waiting in the wings for the good bits to come" sort of player. One who was so encapsulated by a Benskins promotion, which entitled Watford fans to a free pint on demand (i.e Watford winning), he took one, or two, of the said Brewers pubs as a means to earning a living. (Much fun it was at the time.) However, onto "the bit" and the reason, as if I need one, for writing late into the night....

I thank David Harrison for his recollections in the last, most excellent, edition of "Look at the Stars" (sorry, sold out, print more?). David, thank you for crediting me with the winning goal in what was certainly one of the best days of my life for sure. Having scored the first goal that day, in a simular manner to the second evidently, one can now see now why Bruce was questioned so many times and in fact faced prosecution for impersonating a goalkeeper. For the second goal celebration (watford lead 2.0 ) courtesy of Luther (my through ball, I remember, and a bit of a scramble after that), check out on page 46/47 of "Team Shirts To Ticket Stubs" for that dripping climax effect on the wall, or was Les Simmons' paint brush that bad? Or good? I don't know! The truth of the photograph in L.A.T.S? Elton is saying to G.T, "Well, I think he should take one of those nice pubs down by the Thames, we can all get on it then, Graham."

Back to the "20 years ago". Last week, Villa 3 Horns O. Rice injured. Me...injured, but trying to be fit. Me, right-back...Villa left-winger? Have you ever flown?

If not, welcome to Tony Morley airlines! First 45 mins taxiing, 2nd half...airborn. Well, that afternoon he was.

So, a brief story. A friend(???) calls last summer. (Chat chat chat.) "You ever play The Villa, Patch?" he throws at me. "Yeah yeah, most times we beat them at Wolves."

"What about when you played for Watford?". I admit to going chilly at this moment...not chilly,***ing cold.

"Someone here to speak to you, Patch" my now ex-friend informs me.

"Hi, Patch...Tony Morley speaking...20 years, not seen okay? Are you still trying to get back into Villa Park after my body swerve before the third goal?"

The line went dead.....what?

Reproduced courtesy of Gazette Newspapers