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
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!