Spyin' Kop: Watford (Home) - 23rd December 2006

Posted by gramck24 on December 20, 2006, 04:40:25 PM

Liverpool v Watford
Barclays Premiership
Saturday 23rd December, 2006
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Referee: Phil Dowd

So then. Christmas is almost upon us and we could do with a festive cheer after the fog caused postponement to our Carling Cup tie with Arsenal. We will look to keeping our momentum going throughout the Christmas period in looking to make it four wins on the spin against a struggling Watford side. Let's not make any bones about this fixture, it will certainly be a tough game for us even though we have turned Anfield in to a fortress and scored 11 goals from our last 3 games. Watford have played some good football this season and have not been a pushover for anyone. A bit luck with some referee decisions and a fit Marlon King to score goals, it might have been a different story for Watford this season thus far.

Club Details
Name: Watford Football Club
Nickname: The Hornets
Founded:   1881
Ground: Vicarage Road, Watford
Capacity:   19,920 (expanding to 23,500)
Website: www.watfordfc.com
Chairman: Graham Simpson
Chief Executive: Mark Ashton
Club Secretary: Michelle Ives
Manager: Adrian Boothroyd   
Assistant: Keith Burkinshaw   

Club Sponsor: Loans.co.uk
Shirt Sponsor: Diadorra

Brief History
Watford Football Club was formed in 1881 as Watford Rovers which then changed to West Herts in 1893. The club joined the Southern League in 1896, turned professional in 1897 and finally adopting the name Watford in 1898. Success came quickly to the newly-titled team as they won the Southern League Division Two in 1900 and became the Southern League Championship winners just thirteen years later. In 1920, they joined the Football League before finally finding a permanent home in the shape of Vicarage Road in 1922 where 8,000 people turned up to see the first game: a goalless draw with Millwall. An impressive FA Cup run came in 1932, but from then on a series of managerial exits and entrances hampered the club's progress and evenutally led to the board resigning in 1952. The club adopted the famous gold and black in 1959 and in 1960 gained promotion. But disaster was to follow as leading goalscorer and fans' favourite Cliff Holton was sold, to mass public outcry.

However, after Elton John became Vice-President in 1973, the club enjoyed a prolonged period of prosperity, going from Division 4 in 1978 to Division 1 in 1982, going on to become runners-up in their first season in the top-flight under the guidance of Graham Taylor. Once the influential manager left in 1987, however, trouble arose and the club was relegated in 1988. Once Taylor returned to the club in 1997, they once more enjoyed success and had their first taste of the Premiership in the 1999/2000 season where they pulled off shock victories over Liverpool and Chelsea. After Taylor exited once again in 2001, the club fell into deep trouble, only just surviving the drop from Divison 1 in 2004-05. But when young manager Adrian Boothroyd was made manager in March 2005, the club gained fresh impetus and defied expectation, winning promotion through the play-offs in May 2006.

The Championship Play-Offs
Winners 2005-06

Division 1 Play-Offs   
Winners 1998-99

Division 1   
Runners-Up 1982-83

Division 2   
Champions 1997-98

Division 2   
Runners-Up 1981-82

Divison 3   
Champions 1968-69

Divison 3   
Runners-Up 1978-79

Divison 4   
Champions 1977-78

Divison 4   
Promoted (finished fourth) 1959-60

FA Cup   
Runners-Up 1984

Club Trivia & Facts   
Most league appearances: Luther Blissett, 415, 1976–1992
Highest all-time goal-scorer: Luther Blissett, 158 (League) goals, 1976–1992
Most goals in a season: Cliff Holton, 42, 1959–1960
Most capped player: John Barnes, England, 31 caps
Best win: 10-1 vs Lowestoft Town, 27 November 1926, FA Cup Round 1
Best league win: 8-0 vs Sunderland, 25 September 1982, Division 1
Most wins in one season: 30, 1977–1978
Most draws in one season: 19, 1996–1997
Least defeats in one season: 0, 1903–1904
Worst loss: 0-10 vs Wolverhampton Wanderers, 24 January 1912, FA Cup Round 1 Replay
Highest transfer fee paid: £2,250,000 for Allan Nielsen to Tottenham Hotspur, August 2000
Highest transfer fee received: £2,300,000 for Paul Furlong from Chelsea, May 1994
Highest attendance: 34,099 vs Manchester United, 3 February 1969, FA Cup Round 4
Highest average attendance: 18,375, 1984–1985

We have Martin Pollard, Dan Ford, Dave Tolchard and Ross Poulter from GloryHorns who have kindly volunteered their spare time to answer our questions. Thanks guys.
RAWK: How do you feel your return to the Premiership has gone so far?
MP: I have been impressed with our work rate, but scoring goals is our problem which was compounded by Marlon Kings season long injury. We have one first team recognised striker, and this has cost us at least 12 points.

DF: Frankly I’ve found it utterly frustration. As a rule we’ve played really well but have either conceded in the last few minutes, have given away a penalty, or just been unable to score. Losing Marlon was a big blow to us, and I really have to say some of the refereeing decisions have been ridiculous – would be laughable if it wasn’t my team!

Finally, I’m getting really bored of the commentators constantly saying that we’re “minnows,” have s “massive mountain to climb,” or are on “mission impossible”. I find it quite patronising.

DT: We should have more points than we do - We have been on the wrong end of some poor refereeing decisions.

RP: Bottom, with 11 points? Err...!
In all seriousness, I have been pleased with how difficult we are to beat, and with a touch of clinical (or any type of) finishing, we could well be in a lot healthier position.

RAWK: What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?
MP: Scrape out of the bottom three in the last game. I believed Aidy's hopes that we would make Europe... well he is Mr Positive

DF: At the start of the season I thought we could achieve anything with Aidy in charge, but I’m not feeling quite so positive or hopeful at the moment…. in all honesty I think we’ll be playing Championship football next season.

DT: Survival in the Premiership - No!

RP: As would be expected, our chances of staying up seem to be fading. That said, if we stay within touching distance of safety come January, and if we are able to attract the right players, I still think there is a chance of survival.

RAWK: Aidy Boothroyd is seen as one of the brightest young managers around, how far do you think he can take Watford?
MP: He can take us as far as the board allow him. He is someone special.

DF: He’s turned into a bit of a hero of mine – I find him extremely positive and motivational. At the moment, however, he’s just not getting the results in. So I feel really lucky to have him as our manager, but I’m sure we’ll get relegated this season. However, I think he could get us back up again within a couple of years.

DT: The sky is the limit with Aidy - Great manager.

RP: I have every faith that IF we get relegated this season, Aidy will make us into a real force in the Championship and we may spring back up. If we stay up, I see no reason why he can't turn us into an established top flight team. The man is our biggest asset

RAWK: Who do you think is your most important player(s)?
MP: Marlon King, Ashley Young, Jay DeMerit, Dan Shittu, Gavin Mahon.

DF: Gavin Mahon – solid player and great captain, always talking to the team, and very dependable. Danny Shittu’s come in and put in some really solid displays. Jay DeMerit is a quality centreback, although I haven’t been all that impressed in the past few games. Ashley Young is a very handy player to have, but he needs to start working on his delivery.

Oh, and I have to say Richard Lee has reminded us what a brilliant keeper he is, and I think a few of us forgot when Ben Foster came on loan from Man U. His kicking has improved ten fold as well – think he’s a big asset to the team.

DT: Gavin Mahon / Ashley Young

RP: Marlon King obviously, although being injured won't be much use this season! Ashley Young, Danny Shittu, and Ben Foster are also class acts.

RAWK: Your worst player(s)?
MP: This season I have been most disappointed with Damian Francis and Matthew Spring

DF: Not sure to be honest.

DT: Damien Francis

RP: I feel our current problems lie in left / right defence (Lloyd Doyley, Jordan Stewart), and we possibly need a better attacking central midfielder - Damien Francis has failed to impress.

RAWK: Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs? Say something that happened to you that day or a decision you disagreed with?:
MP: I can still remember Ian Rush diving like Ronaldo in the box in the final five minutes for you to nick a 2-1 win in the cup back in the 80's. Dirty Cheat.  ;)

DF:  Yes… that fantastic partnership of Gerrard and Mike Riley that knocked us out of the Carling Cup a few years back.  :)

DT: I remember you winning 2-1 at the Vic in the FA cup when Ian Rush scored a dubious penalty at the death to win it.

RP: I wasn't there, but last time we were in this league, we beat you at your place! It was a cherished win! The Carling Cup Semi Finals, despite losing, were also good. I thought Stevie G was the only difference between the teams.

RAWK: Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?:
MP: You should know about Ashley Young already, but keep an eye our for Hameur Bouazza with his speed. Good prospects who probably wont be involved are Adrian Marriappa (def), Al Bangura (Mid), Alex Campana (Mid).

DF: You’ve probably heard of Ashley Young…Mariappa looks like he’s turning into a quality player, and I think Anthony McNamee is showing great potential.

DT: Al Bangura (midfielder), Adrian Marriappa (Centre Back).

RP: Ashley Young is probably making a name for himself now, so I'll go for Al Bangura - a central midfielder who ran from rebels in Sierra Leone, before being a rent-boy in France. Now he plays in the prem! He will be class one day.

RAWK: What sort of line-up will be put out against us?
MP: Lee, Chambers, Shittu, DeMerit, Powell, Smith, Mahon, Francis, Bouazza, Young, Henderson.

DF: 4-4-2, over the top, “direct” football.  :)

DT: 4-4-2 - We will come to attack.

RP: Our strongest!

RAWK: Do you have any favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?
MP: Our chants tend to be rather obvious, more invention is needed. "Marlon says you're a c**t" still amuses me, after he got sent off for shouting at a lino last year

DF: Favourite is “Marlon says you’re a c**t” after he get red-carded at Southampton last season for calling the linesman a c**t.

DT: Marlon says you're a C**t - Last season the King got sent off for allegedly swearing at the ref at Wolves. Everytime someone does something bad to us they usually get a rendition of this song.

RP: Ashley Young is probably making a name for himself now, so I'll go for Al Bangura - a central midfielder who ran from rebels in Sierra Leone, before being a rent-boy in France. Now he plays in the prem! He will be class one day.

RAWK: Where do you expect Watford and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?
MP: Liverpool to finish above us. We needed another striker in the summer, and the transfer window has screwed us since MK got inured. With the right buys in January, we can start collecting some points. Till then our football will remain to our only strength left, a long ball to Hendersons head.

DF: I must admit I thought (and hoped) you lot would do better than you are, although you seem to be back on top of things. Predict fourth place behind Arsenal.

DT: Us - 4th bottom, You - 4th top.

RP: Not very close together! I think Watford will finish 16th, Liverpool 6th.

RAWK: Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?
MP: Only Gerrard, he always seems to score against us.

DF: Gerrard.

DT: Stevie Gerrard - Quality player who always scores against us!

RP: Stevie G. And Peter Crouch - what is that guy about!?!

RAWK: Care to predict the score? Go on.... you know you want to!
MP: A champion street fighter versus a professional boxer, it'll be hard and not pretty, but still a 2-0 to Liverpool. We should have some strikers next time we play you!

DF: Oh god….erm…I’ll go 2-0 you lot. Although I seem to remember beating you last time we met you in the League at your place.  :)

DT: 1-1

RP: Liverpool 1 - 0 Watford

And so once again, a huge thank you to the lads over at GloryHorns. We’ll wish them a Happy Christmas and good fortune for the new year… that is once we have hopefully taken 6 points from them!

© gramck24

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