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The cursed
By Dan Evans

Next time you're pondering the fluctuations in football fortune with which the die-hard supporter becomes all too familiar, and you begin to search for some tangible reasons by way of explanation, remember this. Although Watford supporters' task of rationalising the fact that one week your team plays a blinder and the next week like a pile of shite is considerably easier than that of most fans(when GT's manager we play a blinder and when he isn't we play like shite), there is in fact a yet more logical and likely expanation. Namely, The Curse.

You all know who I'm talking about here. The irritating Arsenal fan who watches the worst home display of each season, every season and gloats about it for the rest of the year. Your mate's Dad who's been going occasionally to the Vic for twenty-seven years and has only ever seen us draw. The Cursed. They're the real reason why football can be so bewildering, and, if they're unfortunate enough to be fans themselves, then they're usually sensible enough to keep bloody quiet about it.

But I have a confession to make. For the sake of both the afflicted, and the innocent thousands for whom football is consequently made such a misery, The Cursed need to be rooted out. And sadly, I include myself in that group.

I'm the supporter who started going regularly to the Vic at the beginning of that wonderful 89-90 season where we lost the first seventeen consecutive games (sorry if my history's not quite up to scratch but you know the season I mean). Needless to say, the first time I decided that Watford were "my" team was just before the 1984 Cup Final.

I'm the supporter who watched all of those painful relegation scraps in the early nineties only to give up hope and stop going just before we began the requisite run of eight consecutive victories, scoring forty-two goals, conceding none and with all the results in Western Europe going our way in order to survive. Needless to say, the one season where it all went sadly wrong, where we played like a pile of shite for absolutely no tangible reason, was 95-96. I WENT TO THE LEICESTER GAME! As the touching salute of "We'll be back as Champions!" rang around the Vic, I and my like were quietly thinking to ourselves, "Not if I'm here to see it, we won't."

And so, the following summer, after due consideration, I made the necessary pledge of self-sacrifice, and left to live in barren soliditude in Eastern Europe. Naturally enough, not only promotion but the Championship followed. Thus, quietly cheered by my success, I took the further step of removing myself to the other side of the world to live in complete isolation in the Japanese countryside (Tottori). We've never looked back since, and yet, without the care and support-systems which are so necessary for the curse victims, things won't really change. It's no coincidence that teams newly promoted to the Premiership so often fall straight back down. The Cursed always come back, you see. But please, I implore you to remember that a witch-hunt will only lead increasing numbers of the inflicted to remain silent, thus impeding any progress and having a derogatory effect ( it happened at Luton).

The real reason for the success of super-clubs such as Man Utd is not the money. It's simply that they have the most advanced curse victim indentification, selection and vetting programmes around ( in Man Utd's case the "Man Utd Programme for Losing the Cursed", or "Man Utd PLC"). Moreover, filling the ground with 50,000 plus of the away team's worst curse victims is inevitably too much of an advantage.

I will be making a trip home this season to catch a Watford game and, yes, it will no doubt be the one blip in an otherwise glorious run towards promotion. The intangible 1-0 home defeat to Bristol Shitty that nobody can quite explain. But, I implore you, don't try to hunt me down. Without support for the likes of me from the innocent majority, our current run cannot possibly last!