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FA Carling Premiership, 16/10/99
Manchester United
There'll be tears before bedtime
By Farzana Chaudry

The tears began early on Saturday. Pa Ingles had made a wooden platform shoe for little Olga so she could run around in the playground like Laura and all her friends. Meanwhile over at Waltons Mountain, a little boy's churlish behaviour was diagnosed when we saw his scarred back. His response: "But I love him, he's my pa".

The absence of any pre-match action, either on the screen or pitch, meant one's focus was drawn to the crowd.

Tears again; a man with his young lad in tow, wheeled his elderly ailing father along. This is what football is all about; three generations all sharing the same passion and belief despite any physical impediments.

I had envisaged the screen to be a bit bigger, it was all a bit surreal really.

Every sight of our white-heavenly clad angelic boys, GT, LB, and travelling fans was greeted with exhauberent cheers and claps. The big bad evil* red army was jeered and booed. Panto had come early to Watford this year.

Full credit and honoury praise to all the travelling hornets; as we heard them loud and clear, we were all at one. Time, space and distance just didn't matter, we were united in our battle against the evil* red scum.

We didn't really expect the press, tv, radio to actually tell the real story, heaven forbid? The fact that we gave them all far more than a run for their money and matched them neck to neck. We all know the score at 3.39pm should have been Watford 3 Evil* Scum 0.

I now genuinely understand the fervent hatered, hostility and abuse dished out to Fergie's overhyped mob. Every team in the Premiership must have had a game against them, like we had. A game where the final score in no way did any justice to the game, to what actually occurred, to what was actually witnessed by us. Carefully editing and economical truth continue to conspire the hype that is Manchester* United. So take your pick - was it four goals in eleven minutes, or three goals in six minutes. I mean that's all that mattered at the end of the day.

As they scored their second goal, a little lad in front of me burst into tears, he was inconsolable, so was I. Every now and again, the screen would black-out. Then suddenly when service resumed Watford had a corner. How all of us in the Rous stand prayed for the screen to suddenly return with the scores level.

We have nothing to be ashamed of. We played and shouted our hearts out. The sight of Fergie's face for most of the first half was a sight I shall always treasure. There were gaps in United defense in the second half, we just needed to take more advantage of them. Great goals are part skill and part luck; we need to just shoot more often, even if we think it's not going to go in.....lady luck might just be with us.

There's unfinished business, roll on April 29th. What are the odds on Watford 4 Red Scum 1?? Got to be worth a fiver surely?

Willams was sent off - well, we're not a bunch of Southern fairies! His sending off was naturally the red cherry on the cake, already tarnished with runny pinky red icing and full of mouldy red cherries. Such blatant biased refereeing and reporting can only serve to make us even more resilient, hard, determined and hungry.

It doesn't matter what the final score was, what matters is what we saw with our own eyes and how well we know we played. No one else has to know, it's our little secret!

As I left the ground I experienced football rage; I wish to apologize to the old dear in the pale blue Honda and the girl at the frozen foods section in Sainsbury's.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in Watford Town. I have a dream that one day very soon we will be playing at home against Newcastle, we will rise, we will rise and live out the true meaning of our creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all teams are not created equal. We will beat Newcastle and we will chant "You're going down, you're going down!"

As I drifted off to sleep, I couldn't help but think what our Year 2020 testimonial to GT would be like. Would Elton sing? Would George join him? Which former players would be invited? Would the Vicarage end be re-named The Graham Taylor end? Hell, it should be that now! Would we invite big ears under false pretenses and make him eat his own cr...crisps?

Goodnight GT, I love you.
Goodnight Golden Boys, I love you all.
Goodnight Hornets, I love you all too.

* may be replaced at any stage by jammy, overpaid, overhyped , nasty, diving, pathetic, winging, wining, fake, crass.