Main Menu
What's New
Reviews: Videos:
Walking In A Watford Wonderland
(Highlights 1997-98 Part 1)
Fact: video doesn't do football justice. My two favourite Watford goals - Dennis Bailey at Peterborough, Richard Johnson against Wolves - are both perfectly preserved in my mind's eye as ecstatic, heart-bursting instants. I've never seen a replay of Johnson's unstoppable bomb and have no desire to - it could only be diminished.

The same applies to some, if not all, of this season's finest moments - Johnson himself notes that his belter at Gillingham loses much from an unflattering camera angle. It's no coincidence that the most visually pleasing clips are those from games I didn't attend and therefore have no personal memories of - Peter Kennedy's free kicks at Swindon and Plymouth, for example. Even the highlights of that game are more evocative than anything else - hearing the roar from the Watford end that greets Kennedy's second just sends shivers down my spine.

Given the limitations, however, 'Walking In A Watford Wonderland' is actually rather good. Its format of highlights (from Burnley to Fulham, with commentary from Mike Vince) and interviews is vastly preferable to the mad goalrush of the end-of-season compilations, mainly because it puts each result in context and allows for slow-motion replays of key incidents. It's to be hoped that the rest of the campaign both deserves and receives similar coverage. The interviews themselves are as full of thrills as interviews with footballers usually are, although Johnson's reaction to the thought of netting in front of the Vic Road end does betray some emotion.

The usual quibbles about content surface - it's slightly mystifying, for instance, that we're shown just the barest details of the Wycombe game, missing all of the twenty-seven occasions when we hit the woodwork. All the more frustrating since we're shown Rosenthal's goal against Fulham with a build-up so tediously long that it pretty much includes footage of his birth and schooldays. Generally, though, they've got it right.

Things to look out for: Keith Millen burbling on about an unbeaten pre-season ten seconds after footage of us being beaten in pre-season. Peter Kennedy trying and completely failing to conceal his vast delight at his change of fortune since last May. The comedy defending that gave Millwall a goal (not so funny at the time, admittedly).

And Johnson's shot from beyond the horizon at Carlisle, one of those things that will remain jaw-dropping with any number of replays. Worth fourteen quid of anyone's money, that.

Ian Grant