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FA Carling Premiership, 18/9/99
Surrounded by the enemy
By Farzana Chaudry

The longest hours ever are those on the mornings of home matches. Too little time to start anything constructive and too much time to doss around in front of Saturday morning kiddy television.

I was woken up especially early this morning. Mum's on the phone and is concerned that her 'little girl' is going to the match all alone (well, she should have given my Dad a few more brownie points then!)...she urges me to wear something warm and waterproof; bitterly regretted not listening to that bit.

Get to the ground around 2.00ish. I'm sitting in the Vicarage end, tickets for the Rookery end sold out days ago. I'm sitting a close but comfortable distance from the away section. Chelsea fans trickle in at a constant pace. A couple of Chelsea fans have their pictures taken with Harry and Harriet. Ahh, how sportsmanlike.

Teams run out to warm up... suddenly I am aware of a massive roar in our section. Blimey, we've got loads of Chelsea fans in our section. Suddenly I feel very conspicuous in my golden colours. A few minutes later I notice a dozen or so Chelsea fans in our end openly talking and shouting with their colleagues in the away end. For the next twenty minutes I feel a variety of emotions: paranoia ( I bet they're planning some trouble), fear (God, my Mum was right to be concerned), rage (this is our bloody section), anger ( those corporate pigs, they're only interested in selling tickets), prejudice (let's see their bloody birth certificates, not one of 'em born anywhere near Watford I bet!). My fears are heightened when I realise I have Chelsea fans sitting to the left of me, in the rows directly in front and behind me. I await the arrival of the fans sitting to the right of me...please God I'll do anything, just let them be Hornets!!! They arrive ten minutes before kick-off, my worst fears are confirmed, when I spot one of them wearing a Chelsea cap. The lad sitting to the right of me says hello, moans about the one-way system, how cold it is, and then settles down with his mates. Wow, he's a Chelsea fan, a polite friendly Chelsea fan, or maybe he could sense the fear in my face.

Gradually my feelings turn philosophical. 1. How nice they were so desperate to watch Watford play that they're in our section. 2. I'm going to cheer, clap and shout so loudly, just in case they forget which section they're in and which ground they're in. 3. Watford General Hospital is only a doorstep away and 4. My epitaph would read 'SHE WAS TRULY "WATFORD 'TIL I DIE"'.

I won't even begin to write a comprehensive match report...suffice to say we were fantastic, smart(!), hungry, passionate, played and defended effortlessly.

Yeh, it was a bit lonely when we scored, ideally you need a couple of hornets around you! But if you saw a sole golden figure in the Vicarage end, jumping up and down like a demented nutter surrounded by some glum miserable faces... well, that was me.

Interesting tactical use of the tannoy, several minutes before the final whistle: notice to all Chelsea fans, your coaches will be ready and waiting outside the ground immediately after the final whistle. Well, they started leaving in their masses there and then.

As my 'polite' Chelsea fan was leaving he patted me on the back and said well played!!

What a result!!

Bring on the Arsenal....