Friday, 28 January 2011

Podcast 8 - Behind Enemy Lines

The eighth 'From the Rookery End' podcast is out now, and what a cracker it is!

Recorded 'on location' as we ventured to Wales for Watford's recent clash with Cardiff, this episode includes an interview with our defensive rock Martin Taylor, a catch up with new loan star Andros Townsend as well as an opposition view from Cardiff and England striker Jay Bothroyd.

There is another song, this time dedicated to the latest youngster to come off the Harefield/Vicarage Road production line - Piero Mingoia. There is also a chance to hear new feature 'I'm a stupid Manager: Get me out of here!'

As well as all this, there is the usual chat from Jason, Jon and Mike and in a podcast exclusive, we manage to get a few words (literally!) with boxing legend Joe Calzaghe!

We hope you enjoy it. Come on You Horns!

How to listen...

You can download and listen to the podcast via iTUNES. It's also the place to subscribe so you get all future From The Rookery End podcast straight to your computer. If you use a different podcast catcher to iTunes then you can use the RSS Code -

It's also possible to listen on-line right here on by simply click play on our player at the top of this page.

AND you can also download the podcast direct to your computer by clicking your right mouse button HERE and clicking 'Save As'.


Remember you can get these blog posts straight into your inbox by entering your email address in the "Subscribe by Email" box in the top right of this page. Or if you're really technical you can use this RSS code

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Leaked Emails #2 - Cardiff Away

As you will be aware, Watford went over the border into Wales to take on Cardiff last weekend.

During our research for the eighth podcast which we recorded during the trip, we unearthed* a number of emails, sent by Watford FC players ahead of the top of the table clash.

Having been turned down when trying to sell them to wikileaks, we thought we'd share them with you, our fellow Watford fans.

I think you'll agree it's a rare and valuable insight into what goes on behind the scenes at Vicarage Road.



From: Lloyd Doyley
To: John Eustace

Subject: Saturday

Skip, don’t tell anyone I asked, but do I need my passport for this weekend? Someone has just told me that Cardiff is in a completely different country? I’m confused and a bit scared.


From: John Eustace
To: All Staff

Subject: Hahaha

Afternoon men, I hope you are all fully rested ahead of tomorrow’s game. In case you were after a bit of light relief, Lloyd has asked me if a passport is needed to get into Wales. Please feel free to get in touch with him directly with your answers.

As you know, I’m not playing tomorrow, but I WILL BE WATCHING. If I see a single sign of discolouring or plaque on any of your teeth, there will be an immediate fine and a table tennis ban. That includes you Danny.


From: Danny Graham
To: John Eustace

Subject: Re: Hahaha

I have access to the table tennis table written into my contract skipper. I have to have two hours ping pong a day or it triggers a release clause. With all due respect, you can stick your dental tips up your ar*e.


From: John Eustace
To: Danny Graham:

Subject: Re: Re: Hahaha

You’ll keep Graham. You’ll keep.


From: Martin Taylor
To: Lloyd Doyley
Cc: Stephen McGinn Don Cowie
Bcc: Malky Mackay

Subject: Wales

Lloyd you plank. You don’t need a passport to get into Wales. You do however need a couple of quid to get across the bridge and over the border, so no ‘forgetting your wallets’ or claiming to be broke. Sometimes you actually need to part with some cash - I’m talking to you Messrs McGinn and Cowie.


From: Lloyd Doyley
To: Martin Taylor

Subject: Re: Wales

Thanks big man, but money to cross the border? What will we be doing? Bribing immigration guards or something? This sounds bad, are you sure we’re going to be alright?


From: Martin Taylor
To: Lloyd Doyley

Subject: Re: re: Wales

Lloyd, Lloyd, Lloyd. Your imagination is staggering. No wonder you always look so confused. Don’t worry about it. It’s just another game. Stick with me and you’ll be fine. I’ll look after you – and the rest of the team for that matter.


From: Stephen McGinn
To: Don Cowie Malky Mackay

Subject: Bloody English

Did you guys see that email from that English oaf Taylor? Malky, are you going to let him talk to us like that? Doesn’t he know that without us Scots, Watford would be nothing? These Englishmen make me sick.

By the way, are you going to take any cash?


From: Don Cowie
To: Stephen McGinn

Subject: re: Bloody English

Not a chance.


From: Malky Mackay
To: All Staff

Subject: Saturday

Afternoon boys. As you’re clearly aware, it’s Cardiff away tomorrow, in Welsh Wales. There appears to be a bit of a concern about payment for crossing the Severn Bridge. Well, I’m pleased to be able to tell you that as a bonus for performing so well, the club will be picking up the tab. No need to smash your piggy banks just yet. Just relax and enjoy the trip.

Andros and Andreas, you are the new boys and you know what that means – this is your induction weekend and we’ll be needing a song from you. I’d get busy if I were you. Will Buckley should be able to help you – we got him for a song. Hahaha, I crack myself up. Anyway, enjoy your afternoon and see you in the morning.

PS Has anyone seen Tom Aldred?


*We didn't 'unearth' them. We made them up. Sorry. Oh and none of the emails work either

Remember you can get these blog posts straight into your inbox by entering your email address in the "Subscribe by Email" box in the top right of this page. Or if you're really technical you can use this RSS code

Friday, 7 January 2011

Reasons to be cheerful (2 and 3)

In my experience, there are two kinds of football fan. The first type is epitomised by my partner in podcast crime, Jon. He is the football fan who can find the positives in a game that saw your team beaten 0-4 at home, your star striker breaking his leg and your captain wrongly sent off. He is unrelentingly, unswervingly and admirably optimistic.

I on the other hand represent the other side of the coin, the second type. I’m the supporter who at 3-0 up with 2 minutes to go, will still be thinking ‘we really need a fourth here…’ I don’t mind admitting it, when it comes to football, I’m a dark, tortured and pessimistic soul.

Despite my eternally iserable disposition, at present even I, the Rookery’s personal raincloud, have to admit that things are looking pretty good at Vicarage Road. We’ve won five games in a row including the clinical dismantling of the divisions top two sides, we are the top scorers in the Country, Danny Graham is the leading scorer in the Championship and we’ve got an awesome away shirt again. It would take an effort of Victor Meldrew-esque proportions not to be at least reasonably content with where Watford are right now.

One of the common themes we have discussed on the podcast has been the youth set up at Vicarage Road and due to the financial climate, the club’s current reliance on it. Despite being heavily tipped for relegation by those supposedly in the know, those of us with Watford in our hearts always had a sneaking suspicion that actually, the kids may be alright.

Listening back to those early season podcasts there was a definite sense of hope and confidence…even from me.
Apart from the obvious fun to be had watching Watford at the moment, it is also rewarding to note that the wider footballing community is having to sit up and take Watford seriously. Those who wrote the Hornets off as broke and hopeless are having to quickly reassess and review their opinion. With media coverage of Watford historically woeful, nothing gives me greater pleasure than lazy pundits having to backtrack and give us credit where it is undoubtedly due.

Of course the season hasn’t been without it’s hitches and with Jordon Mutch and Andrew Taylor back at their parent clubs and the treatment room looking alarmingly busy, there may be tricky times ahead. Staying in the division remains the only realistic target, but for now it’s nice to know that the confidence we had in our club wasn’t misplaced. It’s nice to know that our faith and support is being repaid. It’s nice to know that the system at Watford works and it’s nice to know that money isn’t everything.

Being a football fan has far more downs than ups, so whilst Watford’s stock is high I’m taking a leaf out of Jon’s book and am just going to sit back and enjoy it. That is of course until Malky Mackay leaves for Burnley and we lose at home to Hartlepool!

Come on you Horns!

-- Mike

PS – That third reason to be cheerful? England have won the Ashes and in some style. One of the main contributors to that success was Watford FC supporting fast bowler Steve Finn, so even if you don’t like cricket you should be proud of a fellow Hornet! Well done England and well done Finny!


Remember you can get these blog posts straight into your inbox by entering your email address in the "Subscribe by Email" box in the top right of this page. Or if you're really technical you can use this RSS code

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Reasons to be cheerful (1)

For a little while now, Watford fans have felt that their club was slowly returning to the community centric, caring, family focussed roots that served it so well during the rise to prominence in the 1980’s. Now it’s not just Hornets fans that know Watford is a special club again. Thanks to a unique and special gesture, the footballing world know it too.

On Saturday 8 January, Watford entertain Hartlepool in the FA Cup at Vicarage Road and in a fabulous show of generosity, the club have agreed to donate their profits from ticket sales on the day to Marie Curie – the chosen charity of the Football League for 2011.

With ticket prices reduced to £10 for the fixture, seats are reported to be selling fast, with the club optimistic that they will be able to make a sizable donation to the cancer charity. As a fan, this makes me immeasurably proud. Once again, my club is seeking to make a difference and in doing so is itself being different – this is the first time the proceeds from a competitive fixture in England have been donated to charity.

In addition to the gate receipts, Watford's players have agreed that if they slip up against Hartlepool, to waive their fee. In an age where players are willing to engineer scenarios and stories solely designed to boost their already astronomic earnings, this show of support from the Hornets team is a welcome and refreshing addition to the story.

It is perhaps cause for regret that with all the money washing around the English game, no club has made a similar effort (Aston Villa’s reverse sponsorship deal with Acorns perhaps the exception) and the fact that Watford’s finances remain precarious makes the scheme all the more admirable.

If you can’t support the fundraising effort by attending the game, you can donate online by visiting

Well done all at Watford, for once again recognising that it isn’t just what a club does on the pitch that is important.


Remember you can get these blog posts straight into your inbox by entering your email address in the "Subscribe by Email" box in the top right of this page. Or if you're really technical you can use this RSS code

Saturday, 1 January 2011


This post was originally published on Saturday 1st January 2011 in the Watford vs Portsmouth Matchday programme

Mike Parkin of the ‘From the Rookery End’ podcast is having a crisis. Is he too old to support Watford?

Well, that’s that for another year then. After the seemingly eternal build up, the big day has been and gone and we’re all left wondering what all the fuss was about. Having said that, with a two year old daughter in tow it is a bit easier to get excited about Christmas. Admittedly she wasn’t really sure about what she was opening (apart from her prized cuddly Harry Hornet of course – ‘oooooohhh Harry! Harry! Harry!’ but the look on her face as she tore open her presents will live with me for a long time.

There was of course a time when I too saw Christmas as something other than an excuse for too much to eat and drink. As a youngster I loved the whole spectacle. The lights, the decorations, the Christmas TV, the time off school, the sight of my Dad getting rip roaring drunk and of course there was the presents. I had my fair share of great gifts. A Commodore 64 (Kids, ask your Dad, or even your Grandad!), a mini snooker table, a book about Greek mythology, which inexplicably, I loved. My best present of all time though? Easy…

It was 1987 and I was ten. I can’t remember anything else about that particular Christmas apart from this one present. It’s something that I still own and treasure to this day. It’s something that evokes such memories, such happiness, such excitement. What was this wonder-present? It was a Watford Football Club calendar. Nothing too special about that - I’m guessing a few of you got one this year. This one was special though. As I removed it from it’s wrapping I noticed a mish mash of squiggles and writing on the front page. Surely Mum hadn’t got me a used calendar? Closer inspection revealed the truth. It had been signed. By the entire Watford first team.

It was almost too much for my youthful mind to comprehend. I had in my hand an object that had previously been held by my heroes. Some of the autographs were even personalised. I couldn’t believe it. I looked to my beaming Mum for an explanation. It turned out she had been at the Hornets Shop and the team were training at Vicarage Road that day, allowing her to get Messrs Coton, McClelland, Jackett, Blissett et al to scribble their names on my present.

Forward-wind to the present day and in reflecting on the first six ‘From the Rookery end’ podcasts I got to thinking about the interview we conducted with goalkeeper Scott Loach. It was my first visit to London Colney and the first time I’d be meeting any of the current crop of players. I confided in co-presenters Jason and Jon that I was ‘a bit nervous’. With hindsight, it wasn’t nerves, it was excitement. Scott Loach wasn’t even born when I ripped open that Christmas present back in 1987, yet here I was, just as excited about meeting him as I was when seeing the words ‘To Mike, best wishes, Brian Talbot’ on the front of my calendar.

Initially I was pleased that my love for football had remained intact to such an extent. There aren’t many hobbies that appeal just as much when you are 33 as they did when you were 10. There was however another issue to deal with. Here was I, a grown man, full of nervous energy about meeting a bloke who is over ten years younger than me. I thought about this for a while. Of course, it isn’t just Loach that is over a decade younger than me. The majority of team and probably the coaching team aren’t old enough to remember Grange Hill or the days when a Snickers was called a Marathon. Did I feel strange about this? Is it a bit odd that I hold this younger generation of whippersnappers in such high regard?

For me, the answer is no. Just as my autographed Christmas present excited me, football excites me. Watching Watford excites me and if people have the ability to continually instil such passionate and enjoyment, then whatever their age - they must be talented. It’s a dark day when you can’t appreciate talent, so my conscience is clear. If you see a bloke who looks like he is old enough to know better celebrating a goal like a ten year old, well, that’s probably me.

Come on you Horns!

Remember you can get these blog posts straight into your inbox by entering your email address in the "Subscribe by Email" box in the top right of this page. Or if you're really technical you can use this RSS code