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FA Carling Premiership, 14/8/99
A weekend in Scouseland
By Will Holman

Unbelievable. From start to finish, unbelievable.

We departed Chesham at around 9am, reaching Liverpool shortly after 1pm (naturally allowing a stop for McDonald's breakfast). My friend James is at Liverpool John Moores University, and has a flat overlooking Lime Street, just round the corner from the Florin and Firkin pub. The flat was to be our base, and immediately we draped two Watford scarves out of the windows, displaying the fact that the boys were in town.

After a couple in the Florin, we got a cab to the ground. We took a walk around the Stadium, going through the Shankley Gates and paying our respects at the Hillsborough Memorial. The whole stadium and the sheer number of fans made it an incredibly imposing place, and it still didn't seem quite real that we were actually about to play Liverpool on an even keel.

And so to the game. To be honest, I thought we'd get trashed. I'll sing for Watford until my throat's in palpitations, but there's no hiding reality. Watford can't beat Liverpool at Anfield - it's just not done. Trust Watford not to read the script. We were brilliant - Richard Johnson completely dominated the midfield while Jamie Redknapp ran around trying to catch up. Robbie Fowler shot on sight at every opportunity but bargained without Paul Robinson being one thought ahead. Chris Day was a match for every on-target Liverpool effort, deflected or not. And Graham Taylor and Kenny Jackett completely outwitted the legendary Anfield boot room.

Tommy Mooney scored after Watford's pressure proved too much, and should have put two more away when Liverpool's desperation left them exposed at the back. Richard Johnson should have scored in the first ten minutes when presented with a golden opportunity inside the penalty area. Liverpool broke away and numerous chances flashed across goal or were thwarted by the brilliant Hornet defence. And so, after what seemed like an age of injury time (wait a minute, fourth official - Jeff Winter, haven't I heard of him before?), the final whistle sounded. All around, Watford fans disbelieving, Liverpool fans applauding.

We left the ground, and after changing into civvies at the flat, headed out for a curry at the Flowers Chinese and Karaoke restaurant. The food was great, but we were deeply disappointed at being informed that we would not be allowed to sing an Elton John song, as the karaoke only opened at 11pm.

A couple of bars later, I spotted a woman with a Liverpool cap on. I attempted to banter the girl about her outclassed football team and her reliance on social security, but clearly wires became crossed, as soon we were involved in a sordid clinch [phrase (c) News of the World]. Before long I was invited back to her flat for the evening. However, within seconds she was to make a fatal mistake - she revealed she was from Birkenhead. Seeing as my top five "least favourite places to spend a night" are...

5. L*t*n
4. The Garvaghy Road during a particularly contentious march
3. In the company of Anne Widdecombe's less attractive and more bigoted sister
2. Toxteth
1. Birkenhead

... I decided to pass up on the offer. She also had a face like a slapped arse, which made my decision easier. Making our excuses and leaving, we went off for some pool at 147s, and then I was dumped off at the flat (needing to be sober very early to drive home).

8am, and we left Liverpool with scarves flying out of the windows, absolutely proud of the achievements of this Watford team. Luther Blissett and John Barnes were never in a winning Watford team at Anfield. Nobody would argue that the present Watford (or Liverpool) teams are of the standard of yesteryear, but what Watford do possess is a greater team spirit and a better team manager than any team in the whole Premiership. We all know that's a fact. Now let's prove it to anyone that doesn't.