I know this won't go down well with some Watford fans, but I wouldn't have begrudged Malky Mackay victory in the Carling Cup Final this afternoon. I was quite apathetic towards the game. I didn't really know who I wanted to win. I don't like Cardiff that much. Not so much over last summer. More to do with when they took Terry Burton & Neal Ardley from us, yet apparently didn't have any money and were supposedly close to going into administration. However, the way that Liverpool have conducted themselves during the much discussed Suarez affair doesn't sit well with me. They were the greatest team in Europe when I was growing up and their recent behaviour doesn't seem becoming of them. I hadn't planned my day so that I could get to watch the final, but it panned out like that anyway.
Don't get me wrong, it would have hurt to see “our manager” winning a trophy with another team, just as it did when Brendan Rodgers won the play off final with Swansea City last season. But Malky's a good manager and having been lucky enough to talk to him through our podcasts, he is a thoroughly nice chap to boot. So had he been celebrating whilst I write this piece, somewhere inside, I'd have felt happy for him. Now at this point, many of you are listing the reasons why I shouldn't even give him the time of day, let alone feel sorry for him.
“He's a Judas \ traitor.” Why? There's no loyalty in football these days. Lee Clarke's recent sacking is testament to that. Had Malky not done as well as he did during his time at Watford, fans would have called for his head. In fact, towards the end of last season, there were some fans that didn't think he was good enough. We didn't finish the season too well and was oft criticised on forums for his resistance to making substitutions when things didn't seem to be going to plan. I attended one of the At Your Place sessions where a few fans expressed their disappointment at his tactic of keeping all outfield players back when defending corners. Yet when he left, we were all disappointed.
“But we gave him his chance.” We did, eventually. But who's we? There's only one consistent at football clubs. And that's us, the fans. By the time Malky left, the man responsible for running the club at the time of his appointment, Julian Winter, had seen most of his control removed and Laurence Bassini was slowly putting into place his plans for domination at Vicarage Road. What did Malky owe Big Baz? Not much at all.
“So, what about us fans?” The lack of a goodbye & thanks for your support when he moved west, did wrangle a bit. We've since been told he wasn't allowed to comment about his time at the club in the aftermath, but I'm not sure how that prevented him from showing his gratitude. As football fans we often feel it's us versus the world. But sometimes we need to take a step back and remember whilst Watford FC may be near the centre of our worlds, we're not the only team in the footballing arena. We have to appreciate that if one of our players, manager or staff get the opportunity to better themselves and earn more money in doing so, then they are likely to take it. Let's not kid ourselves, Cardiff City is currently a better stage for Malky to display his talents on than Watford FC.
“And then to top it all off, he came back and took Don Cowie, backroom staff & transfer targets.” And that was very hard to swallow. Hurting more and more as each headline was revealed. Who knows, it may not have stopped. Marvin could have ended up there and I was thankful he didn't. What happens in the summer will be anyone's guess. The Bluebirds may have their eyes on other Watford based targets. But why shouldn't he have done that? He had staff he enjoyed working with. Players who he knew he could get the most out of. Why should he worry about Watford's prospects for the season over and above whether he could make a fist of it in South Wales? How would he have explained to his employees that he passed up on his first choice players because he felt sorry for the people that used to pay his wages? I didn't particularly feel sorry for Pompey or Ipswich when Sean took members of their staff to fill his backroom either.
Like I said, I don't like Cardiff. And now I don't mind admitting I'm jealous of them too. They have a good manager. If things were different, that may have been us at Wembley today. But we couldn't give Malky want he wanted to move forward in his managerial career and someone else could. I don't dislike him for it and I wish him luck. And now I've got that off my chest, I can concentrate on the team I support again. Come on you 'Orns.
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