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Players: Tributes:
Cliff Holton
By Chris Salter and Nicholas Ralph

Those who didn't experience the "Holton Era" at Watford might well look at the raw statistics and ask just what was so special about those times that justifies the misty eyes and racing pulses that so many of us feel when we relive our memories of 35 years ago? How could promotion from Division 4 as the fourth of four teams, followed by a respectable shot at getting out of Division 3 at the first attempt, possibly compare with the fairy tale events of twenty years later? And the Big Fella himself, what made him so different from the stereotype of the fading centre forward serving out the twilight years of his career in the lower divisions?

To communicate the raw excitement of the "Holton Era" is perhaps impossible; it had to be lived through to feel the thrills that we felt, and know the triumphs that we knew. If one has to justify emotions with statistics, then let it be said that Watford had never yet achieved promotion in 40 years of league football. Let it be said that Big Cliff scored 48 goals in a season, a record no Watford player has achieved before or since. Let it be said that not only was the Cliffster our leading goal scorer in both of his two full seasons with Watford, but also in a season when at the age of 36 he played in only 24 matches. Let it be said that while he checks in only at number 66 in the list of total Watford appearances, he is 4th on our list of all-time goal scorers. Let all this be said, and more, but it is still impossible to communicate the pride this one man gave to both supporters and team alike. We on the terraces idolised him, while on the pitch it was "Holton's team", no matter what the worthy Ron Burgess might have thought!