The boys return for Season 6 of From The Rookery End, and they take a trip to Wimbledon to have a look at Premier League Watford and discuss everything that's gone on over the closed season - and there's plenty to discuss.

They also catch up with Watford fan Miles Jacobson and star goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes

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Monday, 13 July 2015

PODCAST: We're Back!

We’re still a month away from the big kick off, but with the squad taking shape and pre-season friendlies well underway, we thought it was about time we gave the all new From the Rookery End Premier League microphone a run out and got out there amongst it. When the news broke that the friendly with AFC Wimbledon coincided with their annual beer festival, the decision to attend was effectively taken out of our hands. We would be there…

The day turned out to be all we’d hoped with glorious weather and familiar Hornets’ faces at every turn. As you’ll hear on the podcast, there was plenty to discuss – the new manager, the ongoing changes to the stadium and facilities, player arrivals and departures – as per usual we weren't left wanting for discussion points.
Hear from Heurelho
We were also blessed with two fantastic guests. Football Manager supremo and lifelong Watford supporter Miles Jacobson took time out to tell us about his affinity for Wimbledon and his hopes for Watford this season, whilst promotion hero Heurelho Gomes gave us a fascinating insight as to what is was like to play in such a hard fought season, as well as telling us exactly what it’s like to play in goal for Brazil.

As ever, the podcast is free to download from iTunes or you can listen via the player at the top of the page.

Enjoy and Come on you Horns!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Pre-season in Florida. It was cold. 
Rejoice, for football is back! Sort of.

This week sees the start of Watford's pre-season fixtures, with games against St Albans and AFC Wimbledon providing some welcome actual, real-life football to think about. The visit to Wimbledon is particularly noteworthy as not only does it coincide with a beer festival, not only does it provide an opportunity to win the first silverware of the season but it will also see us recording our first podcast of the new season. Plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

Which is rare for this stage of the season. You see, I've fallen out of love with pre-season friendlies. To be honest, I can't remember a good one. I remember going to Amersham Town to watch us in action shortly after a previous promotion to the Premier League. I was young, excitable and hoping to see the new kit. Watford wore their old one. For some reason my brother and I drove to Northampton for a pre-season game. We were on the M1 before we realised our brains were broken. I even went to see some pre-season baseball, but had to leave early because it was so cold. In Florida. It's never cold in Florida!

In fact, the only fond pre-season memory I can muster is a home game with Charlton some years ago. The game was instantly forgettable, but a meeting with John Motson and the taking of a rather stylish photograph of Vicarage Road rescued the visit from the usual disaster and disdain.

Am I alone though? There must be some of you out there with happy memories of some of these games? Here at FTRE we want to know, so here's our question to you:

What's your favourite ever pre-season friendly and why?

Leave your answers by posting a comment below and maybe, just maybe, you'll persuade me that these games aren't so bad after all...

Come on you Horns!

Monday, 6 July 2015


Bond. It's a (Dr) No from Gino...

We are Premier League. 

Still sounds good doesn’t it? Since that memorable day at Brighton it’s slowly been sinking in, but over the past couple of weeks the realities of being a top flight club have become increasingly evident.

Vicarage Road is undergoing a pre-season overhaul and expansion, we’ve signed players from Steaua Bucharest, Tottenham, Roma and Werder Bremen, have successfully tied down key performers to lengthy new deals and in Quique Flores now boast the most handsome head coach in the Premier League. As we had always suspected, Gino Pozzo means business.

The Pozzo driven transformation at WD18 has of course meant casualties. Dániel Tőzsér has used social media to flag up his apparent departure, but it’s the sale of Jonathan Bond to Reading that has stimulated the biggest debate of the close-season so far. 

Bond started just 22 games whilst at Watford, but his continued selection at International Under 21 level suggested that he was a talent. Allied to this, he was a local lad. One of our own, a product of the academy system of which we are rightly so proud. From Bond’s point of view it’s hard to argue that the move makes sense. He was clearly third choice at Watford, with Heurelho Gomes and new arrival Giedrius Arlauskis set to slug it out for a first team place, but despite this his sale left some feeling understandably flat.

Of course there’s no guarantee that Bond would have gone on to be anything other than an average goalkeeper; Scott Loach is a recent illustration that early promise and international recognition do not a top goalkeeper make, but it strikes me that this is missing the point. Bond is a homegrown academy graduate that is moving on due to lack of opportunity. Is this a dangerous precedent for a club like Watford to set?

There are very few supporters that won’t be welcoming the slew of signings that seem imminent. Staying up this season could be absolutely critical for the club, and shipping in quality, experience and talent seems to be a sensible way of giving us a fighting chance. But at what cost? Are the last remnants of the Watford we knew being swept away in a bid for success?

Investment in the Academy and a subsequent upgrade to Category 2 status would seem to indicate that youth development remains high on the agenda and most will have taken heart and pride in the announcement this week. But amongst the excitement, questions have been asked. so what do you think? Are Watford doing it right, or is Jonathan Bond’s departure a potential cause for concern?

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Come on you Horns!