Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Desperation Stakes?

After Watford's terrific win at Huddersfield at the weekend, Watford fan and regular FTRE contributor Kelly Somers had a few things she wanted to say. Well, what better place to talk about Watford than here at From the Rookery End, so do yourself a favour, get comfy and feast your eyes on Kelly's current thoughts. If you've got an opinion, feel free to add it in the comments box below. These are interesting times at Watford and there is some great debate to be had. All feedback, opinion and interaction is appreciated. It's what makes being a football fan fun.

Over to you Kelly...

Watford FC: A United Front?
Being ‘desperate’ for a win is a phrase somewhat overused in football these days, however on Saturday, for me, this was a place Watford were nearing to finding themselves. Not least because we were slipping down the table into unwanted relegation territory, being without a victory in over a month (it is of course ridiculous to be talking about the table at such an early stage but such is the nature of the game today), but also to prove a point. A victory at high flying Huddersfield following the hysteria stemming from Martin Samuel’s article in the Daily Mail earlier in the week, may just prove a point that myself and many other Watford fans have been trying to prove – that, contrary to the outsider’s opinion, we aren’t just an inflated squad of misfits with miss guided goals, but a united team in progression with a point to prove.

No, it wasn’t a 4-0 victory, or by any means a victory in which Watford fans could feel comfortable in throughout. But this is, arguably, what made the taste of victory all the sweeter. Despite feeling at half time, as I’m sure many Hornets fans did, a serious sense of deja-vu, as the full time whistle eventually blew in Yorkshire, I felt that the team had proved their point and proved it in style. For the Hornets showed resilience and determination – and now as I look back at the manner in which they attacked the game, I realize that the various aspects of the performance, of which I will mention below, meant that this team were never going to come home from the John Smiths stadium with anything less than a victory that they really did deserve.

Zola played tribute to front two and without sounding repetitive, I too cannot speak highly enough of their performance. I have received a great deal of criticism for wanting Troy Deeney to return to the club, but even when doing so, never in my wildest dreams did I expect the number nine to come back in the form he has. On Saturday, not only did he offer what we already knew he could – passion, determination and the ability to put his all into everything and play with his heart on his sleeve – but he also showed a side to his game which often goes unappreciated. Troy is much more than just a Trojan and a hard worker – he has a fantastic touch and even when crowded by numerous opposition players, he can retain the ball and is starting to create moments of brilliance.

Whilst on any other day, this performance and his subsequent winning goal, would easily have won man of the match in my eyes, there was of course another magician alongside, or behind him (depending on which way you translated the formation), in the form of Fernando Forestieri. I was mesmerized by the first glimpse we got of the Italian against Brighton, however I admit to worrying that perhaps I was overly optimistic as I felt he was particularly selfish, and less convincing against Bristol City.  How wrong I was though, and the fact that all of the best players are selfish at times – whilst on considerably different levels, take a certain Ronaldo for example – was realized following his performance on Saturday. He took players on and to say he terrorized Huddersfield would not be an exaggeration – yes he often went down easily but the  sheer number of fouls committed on him show that at times he really was unplayable.

I do however feel it is also important to pay tribute to the defence – yes there is still work to do, especially as this new formation with ‘wing backs’, especially in a side that contains a less then convincing wing back of Marco Cassetti, does often leave us open to counter attacks. The three centre backs however were truly dominant. Fitz Hall carried on where he left off from last weekend against Brighton and, whilst never shalt we forget ‘Tiny’ Martin Taylor, ‘One Size’ is definitely easing the pain and his goal was just the icing on the cake, topping a commanding defensive performance. As the away end sang, ‘One Size Fitz ‘All’ and Fitz clearly fits in well in our side. Alongside him, whilst I remain unconvinced by Neuton, his performance was arguably his best yet in the yellow jersey, and backed up by Hall and the impressive Hoban behind him, he may as of yet fit into Zola’s 3-5-2 combination.

However, as I mentioned in my previous blog, what has often heartened me this season when worrying about the new regime, is the manner of the fans and the relationship within the squad, however, if there was ever a game to assure fans that this is not a problem, it was Saturday. Not only was the atmosphere in the away end little short of unreal, I realized there is, on the whole, an acceptance, or at the very least a very convincing attempt to buy into the direction of the club. There were songs for every player, (my favourite was still however ‘We buy who we want, we buy who we wa-ant, from Udinese, we buy who we want) and applause for them all.  So contrary to Adrian Durham’s tweet in response to Martin Samuels, stating that the club was losing it’s identity and thus the fan’s connection to it, I would say that true Watford fans are doing the polar opposite.

And this was of course, helped by the players. I have been encouraged to see Deeney tweeting pictures of the various outfits donned by some of the players, particularly the new ones, not least because some of them are so ridiculous it is hilarious, but also because it shows the players do have that all important changing room banter of which a team is based upon. And this was reflected in the performance too – the players appeared to care and be working for each other. Forestieri’s reaction to his goal – to run and embrace his manager – and the way in which following full time the whole team clapped the fans whilst congratulating each other, provided proof of this no end.

And of course how can I not mention Saturday without mentioning the academy products. As Samuel’s article last week proved, for the moment, Watford are an easy target, as we do have many foreign imports in our squad. However, as many Hornets fans were quick to point out to Town fans on Twitter after the game, we did in fact have five academy products in our squad in comparison to the home side’s two. And for me, another reason to celebrate Saturday’s result was the first sight of yet another promising youngster in Hoban. He wobbled at times but for a young lad, in a similar vein to Murray when he burst on to the scene last season, showed maturity was beyond his years, and this was only epitomized by an impressive second half block.

So to the sceptics, the journalists, the condemners, and pretty much anyone else who has an opinion on Watford, I hope you paid attention to what happened at the John Smith stadium on Saturday. For on Saturday something special happened – we responded. Not just the players on the pitch, but the fans in the stadium as well. We united as one and cheered each other on and celebrated together as a club. And Mr Samuel, if we are everything that is wrong with modern football as you say we are, perhaps there is not as much wrong with it as we thought after all – I am sure the travelling 668 Watford fans will tell you that anyway.

-- Kelly Somers

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