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"Goal-den Years"
Exhibition at Watford Museum
It does us good to look back over past glories once in a while. We become so embroiled in the here and now and forget some of the magical memories that made us Watford supporters in the first place. If it's a re-affirming of faith you're after, get down to the Watford Museum while you still can.

The Goal-den Years exhibition has opened after months of hard work and planning by Sarah Jones and the team at Watford Museum. And what a marvellous job has been done. Having contributed a commemorative coin from the 1984 Cup Final, I was among the throng at the recent launch night. It became one of those nights that makes you proud to be a Watford fan and makes you feel that you belong to something that is very special.

The only person who could possibly perform the honours opened the exhibition. Graham Taylor is looking well with the worries of football management now well behind him. He spoke to the people he described as "familiar faces and friends" with genuine warmth and affection. As ever, he was also on hand with a quip or two. One of the biggest pieces in the exhibition is the Watford Observer clock from the old Rookery roof. GT regaled us with his tale of looking at the clock during Grimsby's 7-1 mauling at the hands of the Golden Boys and realising he had another half an hour to play. He also said that when the Rookery was pulled down, he had no hesitation in hoping the clock would go with it!

The clock itself is just one of the pieces collected together that makes the exhibition worth a visit. On the face of it, a collection of things that people don't want to throw away doesn't sound much, but when you see display cases full of mugs, handbooks, programmes, scarves, pennants and a host of other paraphernalia, it brings the memories flooding back. Personal favourites among the exhibits included photos of Watford in Europe taken by Chris Young, one of which captures the appearance of Watford legend Nigel Gibbs in Prague. Talking of Gibbsy, his own contributions include his Cup Final tracksuit top, a letter written by GT and even his first WFC payslip is on show. Elsewhere, epitomising the way the town pulled together in those days, a Bejam carrier bag produced to celebrate promotion to Division One takes pride of place in one display case, there are Watford 7 Southampton 1 pens in another.

I could go on and on but you will no doubt find your own hidden treasures among the items on display. As you leave the museum, I guarantee you'll be thinking that there's not one item on show that you wouldn't want to own. That's the mark of how successful it is. A few of us speculated as to the value of the exhibits, but you can't place a value on people's memories and every piece on display evokes one memory or another.

Leaving the last word to Graham Taylor as he was presented with a bottle of champagne to celebrate his recent OBE...he said the years 1977-87 were the best ten years of his life. If you even nearly share his sentiment, make sure you take in the Goal-den Years.

Dave Messenger

The exhibition runs until February 23rd at Watford Museum, Lower High Street, Watford. The Museum is free to enter. For more details on opening times, call 01923-232297. You can also visit the website at

To win a "Goal-den Years" poster signed by Graham Taylor, enter BSaD's exclusive competition here!