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FA Carling Premiership, 18/12/99
Tall tales
By Pete Fincham

Well, the only game most can talk about is the Cup Final and all it stood for in the history and credibility of Watford.

So I won't bother. Instead I'll go back to August 1982, and a goal by the ever youthful Pat Rice. It was only my second game, the first being a dull, but thrilling for an eight year old footballing virgin, game against Cambridge some months before. However, now we were in the big time and I no longer got the shit kicked out of me at my Devon Junior school for being a Watford fan!

My Dad had recently departed the family scene for a life of hedonism and alternative gratification, and my Mum thought it would be good for me to 'cheer up' and see Watford play. My Grandfather took it up on himself to take me, not quite knowing what was in store. He hadn't been since about 1950, and the thought of a hot summer's day stuck up against a load of worker types, most of whom worked under him at BT and suggested he wasn't their best mate in the world, didn't fill him with glee. However, off we went to watch the game, me in shorts and T-shirt looking like most other eight year olds there, while my Granddad, in boiling heat, wore a suit and tie.

After about an hour, with Watford already 1-0 up through Gerry Armstrong, Neville Southall decided to wander over the goal line with the ball and, from a high and hopeful punt from Pat Rice, Watford were 2-0 up. The crowd around us went wild. 2-0 against Everton, could it get any better? Amongst the crowd stood the solitary figure of my Grandfather, not quite knowing what to do.

"It's okay, Granddad. You can clap now. We've scored!"

"It's okay, Peter. I don't need to!"

Thought: Sometimes the phrase "It's in the blood" doesn't really make sense!