As months go, November must be regarded as our best. Seven games (which yielded six wins and a draw) put us firmly in the driving seat in the league and into the second round of the F.A. Cup.
It all started with possibly two of the best games of the season. First, Blackpool at home and a team that didn't come for the draw. They have to be commended for trying to play open and attractive football. Unfortunately for them, this was their downfall. Watford play so much better when the other side is playing a similar game, rather than negative defensive play. This combination produced ninety minutes of pulsating action in which we saw five goals, four for the Hornets. Pick of the bunch was Rocket Ronny's solo effort from the half way line which earned him the 'Goal of the Season' award.
Now at this point, I had a dilemma. I wanted to go to the next two matches, but Heidi (my girlfriend) didn't want me to go to either. So I decided to be good and not go to Southend and see if I could persuade her to let me go to Walsall. I wish I hadn't.
Southend by all accounts was a good game with Kennedy running riot. And I'd missed it.... bugger.
Walsall was awful. Well, okay, it wasn't that bad, but it was boring. And made me consider my sanity for a few moments. Why hadn't I gone to Southend? Why was I such an idiot to think that games at Walsall were any good? Why was I such an insufferable pratt at times? No answers on a postcard please. And to make things worse there was no sign of Gladys Protheroe's celebratory half-time announcement. Totally ruined my day.
Next stop for the GT and EJ rollercoaster ride was Barnet in the first round of the F.A. Cup. This day will always hold a special place in my heart for many reasons. Firstly, WIFC took on a team of Barnet supporters in the morning. The idea was that the first game against the two sides at senior level should be a kind of "Fans United" day. WIFC won comfortably 8-1 and we all went back to the pub with the Barnet lads and had a drink and some food they had laid on for us. They did us proud.
But better was to come. At half time myself and other members of the WIFC team went on the pitch to take part in a penalty shootout against some Barnet supporters. It was a wonderful feeling to be out there in front of so many people and a little nerve racking, though I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be.
Unfortunately we lost the shoot-out. They had a youth team goalkeeper which gave them the edge. I took the first penalty and, even though the keeper went the right way, he had no chance as the ball swerved in the right hand corner of the goal. It's a pity that Eddie Brimson's penalty taking isn't as good as his books. (Cough! Splutter! - Ed)
And then there was the second half of the Cup match. I nearly forgot.
After being 1-0 down at half time we came out a better side and scored two goals in a six minute period (both by Rosenthal) to send us through to the next round.
Oldham at home was a significant turning point in our season, though we were not to realise this immediately. This was the moment when running away with the league turned into making sure we kept third place a long way away from us.
We won the game however. In fact, it should have been won at half time. We had that many chances. Then in the second half we should have been buried, only for Tommy Mooney to record one of his late goals to snatch three points. But the turning point was Rocket Ron. He had a quiet game and was then substituted early in the second half. From that moment we seemed to lose all our ideas.
This was the effectively the last part that Rosenthal played in our season. Injury was to rule him out of the majority of the remaining games. And, in his absence, we were going to find that our nails would be completely disappearing before long. Personally I was still waiting for my little fingers to grow back.
Well, at least we saw some growth at Northampton. Kennedy played in the hole behind the front two and did an excellent job playing Ronny's role. This was a very good performance by Watford. Northampton had made a good start to the season and were proving very difficult to get anything out of, especially at home. We controlled the game for long periods. Creating chances, and absorbing pressure effectively. And when the moment was right we struck with a well worked goal which involved a cross from, of all people, Gibbs. Kennedy was there to power the ball home with his head, and despite a few last minute hairy moments (no, not a moon from Rupe), we held on.
The Wigan home game showed signs that we were missing people. It was a funny game in which we could have taken our numerous chances and won easily, or Wigan could have scored a hatful with their nice approach play. In the end the game petered out into a 2-1 win for us. But you kept thinking that they should really have been playing extra time at the end of ninety minutes.
So we finished the month sixteen points clear of third place. Some of us felt like celebrating already. Other more pessimistic folks were a little more guarded. What was to happen over the next few months seemed to back up their feelings.
Best moments: Blackpool and Rocket Ron's solo effort. The whole Barnet day but especially the half time penalty shoot-out
Worst moments: Not easy this month, but I suppose going to Walsall instead of Southend. A bad mistake.
Funniest moment: Has to be the Watford fans at Barnet chanting "Fincham is a wanker, Fincham is a wanker, la la la la, la la la la" when we went on the pitch for the shoot-out.