Billy No Mates finds one
By Paul Perkins
After having parked my car outside the Watford Observer's building in
Caxton Way near Greenhill Crescent, handy for boarding yesterday's coach, the
thought did cross my mind that I could become a journalist for the day.
Therefore I left Watford yesterday with three hopes: 1) the chance that I would
actually be sitting next to someone I knew when I got to the ground; 2) the
wish that I was going to watch a great Watford performance; and 3) maybe,
just maybe I might get a report printed on the BSaD site. After meeting fellow
City 'Orn Pete Bradshaw at the ground when I found my seat, two out of my three
hopes were realised.
To get my fellow coach travellers in the right mood, I distributed twenty-five
printed copies of ig's report of the only away victory of the Premiership
season, with the hope that I won't be sued for copyright breaches by BSaD's
lawyers Sue, Grabbit and Run of The Parade, Watford.
It's a sharp learning curve writing your first match report and after
getting home at 5.00am this morning I was still so charged with adrenaline
that I typed up a report at home and burned four rashers of bacon into the
bargain. Proof positive that I (like most men) cannot do two things at once,
and using the PC and the grill at the same time proved beyond me.
After reading my report I threw it away as it was an attempt to give a
full, kick by kick report of the game which I will leave to the experts -
in my experience, BSaD readers prefer more "outside the box" summaries so I
started again (at work!).
Rather than lick the windows for five long hours, I brought a quiz with me
which the coach seemed to like and the hundred questions I tested them with
(including what does Spion Kop actually mean and what was the highest
aggregate scoreline of last weekend's FA cup matches) did fend off the
boredom and, I hope, entertained Coach 10 on the journey up.
Unfortunately due to one of my group busting the toilet door, meaning more
than the usual courtesy stops en route, we didn't make it to Anfield until
nearly 7.00pm, which was a bummer because I had wanted to meet Messrs
Bradshaw, Goddard and Raggett who were elbow-bending at Dr Duncans in the
city centre but the delay meant that I didn't have time to get dropped off
in the centre.
Still, more time to savour the atmosphere and after deciding the queue to
get into Arkles was just too long, I became the only person dressed in
yellow to be seen in the souvenir shop where I picked up some items for my
Once I'd seen a friendly face in the ground, I watched with Pete and it was
fantastic to see the thousands of yellow balloons on the pitch which became
the spur to a rousing performance from our fans who essentially became a
twelfth Watford player and encouraged our glory boys to a fine performance.
This was not the side that played at the Withdean but a spirited, organised
and resolute army who were determined not to leave humiliated. The grey haired
man in the camel hair overcoat in front of the Watford dugout at the start of
the match must have had a lump in his throat as well as his wallet.
As I have said, I will leave the ball by ball analysis to the expert editors
of the WO and BSaD but I remember saying to Pete at least ten times
throughout the match that "It's that man again" as the mighty Cox headed or
hoofed another clearance from the back line. He and Gavin were immense and
hugging the touchline, Darlington surely had his best game ever, turning the
opposition inside out.
Being particularly partisan, I would also like to report that Chambers got
the better of Luis Garcia throughout the ninety minutes and the overriding
thoughts after the game were of the near misses and the "if onlys". If Helguson's
header had gone in and that skewed shot by Bouazza, it would
have been a different story but the boys were immense.
Oh, and after watching the highlights this morning Gerrard's shot was going
in and Cox was not to blame, which puts a lie to The Sun's atrocious
headline "He Cox It Up Again" but at least Sarah nearly got a mention with
their "A Load Of Ballooney" headline which ridiculously stated that Watford
found it trickier negotiating the hundreds of balloons on the pitch. No, Mr
Thomas, our boys matched Liverpool for skill in nearly every department.
Having said this, PB did have a thought that with the watching millions and a
few scouts amongst the crowd and H in the shop window, a scrappy toe poke
from Devlin or Mahon in the box was the sort of goal that was required
rather than a spectacular Helguson effort. From that point of view,
H didn't disappoint!
We go into the Fulham and Liverpool matches full of confidence and, more
importantly, Crewe...and if my inaugural report doesn't get published, I will
try again another day.
...Spion Kop means "Vantage Point" by the way, and there were five goals in
the Charlton v Rochdale game.
Official match attendance: 42,239 of which 6,500 were Watford supporters
and a further 6,500 were yellow balloons...