Saturday, 31 July 2010

Open day delight…

Supporting Watford isn’t a perfect experience. Our beloved Vicarage Road has been a three sided building site for longer than I care to remember. We’ve spent and wasted a lot of money. We once signed Kerry Dixon and Micky Quinn. We hired Dave Bassett…

With continued uncertainty around who will own the football club and the ongoing financial constraints, it’s fair to say that all is not 100% rosy in the WD18 garden. If you look hard enough though, as in all aspects of life, you can find some positives.

I have written before about the reassurance provided by the presence of Graham Taylor and Malky Mackay at our club. Both good, loyal men. Watford people. I have also spoken of my pride in the Academy and the clubs ability to bring through home grown players – a story that recently received national recognition in The Guardian (read it here – It’s not just the big, well publicised projects that count though. It can be the little things that make the biggest difference.

On Saturday I was surrounded by little things, well, little people, as I took my daughter and nephew to the Watford FC open day in Bushey. I’ve never been to such an event before and had limited expectations. I guessed the worst that could happen was they’d get a picture with Harry the Hornet and would probably drop their overpriced ice cream on the floor. As it happened, my daughter was petrified of Harry and the ice creams were a bargain. Cheap Solero’s were far from the highlight though.

For the duration of the event, amongst the children, parents, burger vans and exhibits, were clusters of young, athletic men in smart tracksuits. Stopping whenever approached, signing autographs and smiling for photographs. For the entirety of this sunny Sunday afternoon the full Watford squad were face to face with their adoring young fans. For some it got better – modelling the new away kit for the first time alongside Aidy Mariappa and John Eustace, or participating in a game of football with Danny Graham, Scott Loach and Liam Henderson. Instead of watching their idols, youngsters were passing to them.

Now perhaps I’ve gone soft in my old age, or see the world through different eyes now that I’m a Dad, but I can’t be alone in thinking what a fantastic event this was. By giving supporters unlimited and unrestricted access to the players, those that visited were able to take away with them memories and souvenirs that they will treasure for a lifetime. Some will have scored a goal past Scott Loach. Some will have hugged John Eustace. Some will have pictures with Lloyd Doyley and footballs signed by Malky. Tangible, happy memories.

In an era when heroes, whether it be film stars, musicians or sports people seem to be further and further removed from the real world in which we inhabit, it was a joy to see our heroes bringing so much enjoyment to so many.

I don’t profess to know what goes on at other clubs, but I doubt many of those thousands of kids running around in Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal shirts have ever had a kick about with Wayne Rooney, Nikola Anelka or Cesc Fabregas. Well done to Watford for recognising and rewarding us – the fans, with a day to remember.

We’re Watford. We don’t have much, but we make the most of what we’ve got.

Keep the faith, stay positive and Come on You Horns!

-- Mike

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


With pre-season well underway and the big kick-off looming ever larger on the horizon, we at From the Rookery End are working hard on the eagerly awaited second instalment of the podcast.

We want you, our fellow Watford fans, to be a big part of the podcast and following a fantastic response to the "One Word Season Reviews" in the last episode, we are asking for you to get involved again.

This time we want to hear what you hope to see happen this year at Vicarage Road, but we don’t just want a straight prediction – that would be boring! So, in a slight twist, we would like to know what newspaper headlines you hope to be reading about the Club in the coming season.

There have been some classic footballing headlines down the years. Who could forget “Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious” after John Barnes’ team were humbled by Inverness? What about the fantastic Queen in brawl at Palace” which was used by The Guardian after Crystal Palace striker Gerry Queen was dismissed in a game at Selhurst Park. Memorable headlines from history, but how and why will the Golden Boys be featuring in the news this year?

Will we be reading about the “Lloyd Mayors Show” after Lloyd Doyley doubles his scoring record? Will the Watford Observer be printing “Another goal for McGinn in Watford’s 20th straight win”? Or will it be news we didn’t want to hear, as we read “Spurs poach Loach”?
Your headlines can be as funny or as serious as you want, they can rhyme or even have a pun in it. The best headlines will feature in the podcast and who knows, if your predictions come true, you may even see your headline in the Watford Observer or on Sky Sports News!

You can send us your headlines by leaving a comment here on the blog, by emailing or by leaving a message on our Facebook page -

The first podcast proved to be hugely popular, with Watford fans downloading it across the globe. This is your chance to share your views with fellow Hornets everywhere, so whatever you have to say, please do get in touch! We are really looking forward to hearing from you.

It's going to be another memorable season, but what will we be remembering it for?

Come on you Horns!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

PHOTOS: A Sunny Saturday in St Albans

Mike took his camera with him to St Albans 0-2 Watford. Here are a few of the things he saw through it!

A Sunny Saturday in St Albans

It was the first football of the new season for me and Mike as we made the trip to St Albans for a good 2-0 win for the Hornets. Have a listen to our thoughts after the game on some of the stand out performances from our young players.

After recording the micro-podcast Mike bumped into Danny Graham, and as you can see from the photo he has a larger then normal nose.

It is broken and Mike said that Danny wanted to continue but staff and ref wouldn't allow him. They were quick to substitute him. Not worth the risk at this point of pre-season. He was still in high spirits after the game and will know more about the injury in 5 days when the swelling has down. Will probably make him a doubt for the Barnet and Northampton pre-season games.

As I drove home down St Albans high street I saw Liam Henderson on his mobile out side Nandos. He must of been having a celebratory Peri-Peri Chicken - the meal of kings!!

Oh and the lovely lady in the middle is Mike and Danny is Mike's 18 month old daughter Florence. The game was at her very first football match. She loved it and is very much looking forward to meeting Harry Hornet on her first visit to Vicarage Road!

- Jon

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

LEAKED EMAIL: Preparation for Norwich Away

Now we're not going to be the kind of podcast with all the insider knowledge. We'll leave that to others who actually have decent contacts - we are fans, not journalists. However, here at From The Rookery End we have been leaked an email between Malky and the Squad*. It's interesting read and you get some good insight into how Malky and the boys plan for away games and that they have the same pressures as we do in Sunday league teams.


From: Malky Mackay (drink&
To: WFC Players
Subject: First game of the season


Our first game of the season is Norwich City away at Carrow Road -
Friday 6th August, 7.45pm KO. It’s going to be on Sky so please make
sure you’ve had a good haircut and you’re wearing fresh undies. You
never know we might get to meet Delia for some decent grub after the

I've put in a link to the ground below. If you get there early enough
you can park in Morrisons next door. Let me know if you can play. First come,
first served.



From: Lloyd Doyley (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: First game of the season

I'm in. I was wondering if I could push forward a bit more this season
boss? Would love to double my goal stats.

From: Adrian Mariappa (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: First game of the season

Me! And I don’t mind where I play at the back.

From: Martin Taylor (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

Can I let you know tomorrow, I think the missus wants to take the dog
to the vets?

From: Dale Bennett (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

I can play, but I need a lift as me Mum plays bingo on Friday nights.

From: Danny Graham (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

I can play, and Dale I can give ya a lift. Anyone got a postcode for my sat nav?

From: John Eustace (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

I’m definitely in - goes without saying this season I guess. I
suppose it’s my job to lead the convoy of cars as well. Let’s all
meet at the ground for about 1pm. We’ll want to be ahead of the Friday traffic.

Oh and Danny – postcode for your Chav Nav is - NR1 1JE

From: Malky Mackay (drink&
To: WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season


A quick one. Apparently these boys play in yellow, so can you all make sure you
bring a black shirt. I've got a few spare if you need to borrow one.

From: Don Cowie (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

I'm in. I've got a couple of mates that want play. Scott Severin &
Steven McGinn. Is that ok?

PS. They're Scottish, boss!

From: Malky Mackay (drink&
To: WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

Aye, that's fine Don

From: Scott Loach (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

I'm in

From: Malky Mackay (drink&
To: WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of the season

Great, can you play in goal for us Scott?

From: Scott Loach (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First game of
the season

Oh ffs! Why do I always have to go in goal?

From: Ross Jenkins (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First
game of the season

Scott - 'Cos we've see you play on the pitch? 

I'm up for it. Oh, and Marvin S says he can play. 
He would reply but his e-mail is down and he's waiting for IT to fix it.

From: Will Buckley (
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First
game of the season

That'll be ready in time for the play offs then! I'm in. Has anyone
got any spare shinnies?

From: Matt Sadler
To: Malky Mackay; WFC Players
Subject: [OUT OF OFFICE] Re: First game of the season

Thanks for your email. I will be out of the office at Shrewsbury until
at least January 2011. If you query is urgent then please call the
Watford Football Club main office - 0844 856 1881. Otherwise I will
get back to you upon my return.

From: Malky Mackay (drink&
To: WFC Players
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:
Re: First game of the season

Got a new lad Tom A that fancies a game so that's 14 and we can only
use 3 subs. Looks like Matt has missed out again!


* = if you believe this is real then our attempts at comedy have well an truly failed!

Monday, 12 July 2010

WORLD CUP: Next Goal Wins... THE FINAL

We bring to an end of the Next Goal Wins World Cup. Our attempts to see how the World Cup might turn out if we'd gone with the old play ground rule of last one to score wins. - pointless maybe, but it made for an interesting analysis.

The Semi-Finals gave us an all South American final. A long range Maximiliano Pereira effort gave Uruguay the victory over close rivals Paraguay; and a Pablo Contreras header secured a surprise win for Chile over the Germans, to end the European challenge. So it's Paraguay vs Germany on Saturday for Third Place. And the big one, the Final was Uruguay vs Chile.

And who was our eventual winner??


Yes, Chile are the "Next Goal Wins World Cup Champions!" Carlos Carmona's winner against Uruguay means his countrymen complete the tournament with a 100% record. Sami Khedira's goal sees Germany snatch third place from Paraguay.

The Golden Boot is shared by Alexis Sanchez, Luis Suarez, Didier Drogba & Asamoah Gyan. Further proof that the Southern Hemisphere is streets ahead in this form of the game!!!

If you want to see the full run down of The Next Goal Wins World Cup then have a look at our Wallchart.

For a large image click here

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

WORLD CUP: Involuntary Reactions

Right you lot. I’m going to be honest with you here. Bare my soul. You ready?

OK. So we all now know Luis Suarez. He is the Uruguay striker who by handling the ball on the line in the last minute of their Quarter Final clash with Ghana has become the embodiment evil. The man whose dastardly act dashed not just the hopes of a Nation, but those of an entire Continent. His hand didn’t prevent just a goal, but the continued development of African football.


Now, in common with most football fans I deplore cheating. Diving, faking injury, trying to get opposition players booked, crafty fouls and unseen shirt pulls. I hate it. I hate it all and am not shy in saying so. I’d be all in favour of six month bans for players caught diving. No half measures from me when it comes to the “dark arts”. It may therefore surprise you to learn that instead of joining in the increasingly embarrassing condemnation from anyone outside Montevideo, I’m here to stick up for Mr Suarez and his impromptu goalkeeping display.

You see, what poor old Luis did wasn’t calculated. It wasn’t a cold, measured decision, considered and undertaken having weighed up the pros and cons of his actions. It was a reaction. An instantaneous reaction. And you know what? I’d have undoubtedly done the same.

We’ve all been there. Your girlfriend is driving the car and is approaching a queue of traffic at a roundabout. The last car in the line is getting closer whilst she is clearly more focussed on Cheryl Cole’s forgetfulness when it comes to malaria tablets. You can’t help it – as you hurtle towards disaster, your foot leaps to an imaginary brake in the passenger footwell. An involuntary reaction.

Alan Green begins commentating on the radio. You turn the radio off. An involuntary reaction. Your boss is away for the afternoon. You surf the Internet and plan a long lunch. An involuntary reaction. You learn Stuart Atwell is set to officiate your football match. Your head sinks into your hands. An involuntary reaction. Some of our actions occur too quickly and too naturally for us to do anything about. As Star Trek fans would no doubt delight in telling us – resistance is futile.

I have struggled to imagine the situation that would involve me taking part in a World Cup Quarter Final, but despite this I’m pretty sure that if I found myself in that position, I’d have reacted the same. My reason for being on the goal line would already be established and clear in my mind. To stop the opposition scoring. Mission received and understood. The next thing I know, the ball is heading towards the back of the net. I realise I can’t stop it with my head and this is where the involuntary reaction kicks in. Before I know it, I’ve swatted the ball to safety, I’ve been red carded and Ghana have a kick to progress.   

If I were to criticise Luis Suarez, it would be for his abysmal haircut (or lack of it) and his ill advised celebrations in the tunnel area after Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent penalty. I’m sure he regrets it too, especially as his fist pumping reaction was replayed ad nauseum across the Worlds TV networks. Still, at least it should make it clear to him how daft his hair looks.

Tonight Suarez is banned and will be joining us in watching the first Semi Final of the 2010 World Cup. Should Holland progress, many will deem it justice served and will dismiss Uruguay as South American cheats who eventually got what they deserved. Should they progress, whoever they play in the Final, the spotlight will be firmly back on Luis Suarez – in my opinion for all the wrong reasons.

Unlike the enemy of African football Luis Suarez, I will never have the chance to represent my Country at the World Cup. We do have one thing in common though. We both have involuntary reactions.

Having discussed these thoughts with friends over the weekend, it was suggested that in instances such as this, when a certain goal is denied by an illegal act, a penalty goal could be awarded. I’m inclined to agree. Whilst a penalty kick affords a fabulous opportunity to score, as we saw last week, it isn’t a goal until it hits the back of the net…What, dear reader, do you think?

WORLD CUP: Next Goal Wins... Quarter Finals

We now know who the Semi Finalists are in the Next Goal Wins World Cup and it's a South American dominated line up, without either of the big boys! Chile pulled off the shock of the round. Alexis Sanchez joining those at the top of the goal charts by netting the winner against Italy. Paraguay beat the Ivory Coast & Uruguay disposed of Serbia in games that could have gone either way. And if you remember me saying that I fancied the Mexicans in the last blog? Well, how wrong am I! The Germans dominated all the way through and kept the momentum to grab that all important goal, courtesy of Miroslav Klose.
So the Semi Finals look like this.
Uruguay vs Paraguay
Germany vs Chile
What price on an all South American Final? Don't bet against those Germans!!!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Rene Gilmartin - Insider Knowledge

Watford have made the first two signings of the summer. Defender Tom Aldred from Carslie and goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin from Walsall. Now, whenever new players come to a club fans always want to know a bit about them. Especially if they come from a different League or a team that we've not seen play much on TV.

So I've recorded a chat with Steve Hermon who is the commentator for Walsall football club. Click below is hear the chat, which I hope it gives you some information about our new goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin.


- Rookery Jon