Report by Steve Freedman
A strange sensation, emotion.
I've always considered myself to be quite a level-headed, laid back kind of guy. As far as I can remember I'd only cried three times in my adult life; twice out of pure joy when my children were born, once out of personal sadness. I'll also admit to having a lump in my throat when I saw my wife in all her finery on our wedding day. I like nothing more than laughing hysterically, uncontrollably, making my stomach hurt but as I get older these occasions are becoming infrequent.
Well, at 4.50pm on Monday 31st May 1999 every conceivable outpouring of emotion occurred. Tears streamed down my cheeks, my stomach ached like never before, my head a whirl of ecstasy. Watford Football Club had given me my ultimate high.
Last March was the 30th anniversary of my first Watford match, during which time I've obviously had some memorable - and some not so memorable - experiences but Wembley was quite frankly THE BEST, although having now re-entered Earth's orbit maybe it was because it was the most current, as GT (sorry, God) said.
Everything about the day was perfect.
At 7.30am I gave my wife a lift to work into a deserted Central London only to return home and find my six year old son already in his Watford kit, draped in his 1998 promotion flag, my nine year old daughter painting her nails yellow and red, having already tied similarly coloured ribbons in her hair and even my mother in her Wembley T-shirt!
Living only two tube stops from Wembley Park we made the short journey to meet friends and more family in The Green Man pub, have a couple of quick drinks before joining the red and yellow tidal wave flowing up Wembley Way. A sight to behold.
The wonderful pre match atmosphere in the stadium, the colour, the noise - my god, the noise - that greeted the teams and of course, the match are equally embedded in my brain.
Having aged ten years during the penalties at Birmingham, I was determined to try and relax. Whilst occasionally nerve wracking, Watford's performance was so truly awesome, I knew, I just knew the Premiership beckoned.
The roar that greeted Allan Smart's goal is indelibly etched in my memory and continues to make me tingle when I think of it. I've never hugged my children so tightly.
And then came THAT MOMENT, at 4.50pm, which I just cannot cohesively explain.
Afterwards, the celebrations. Drinking and singing in the pubs and streets of Stanmore, then Watford, my joy was immense, my voice completely gone, my emotions - if not my senses after my umpteenth beer - now back in check. Thinking that my children have only been going to Watford for two seasons and now expect to see success every year, how can I tell them that one day it might not be like this?
What a day, what a feeling. I will never, ever forget it. Thank you Watford.