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The 3 Game Rule

Friday 19th August 2011

As a Watford fan you learn to take many things in your stride. Expectation, staff turnover, the fact that the East stand will never really be rebuilt, the fact that no matter how much we badger him Scott Loach will never come and claim a cross; all weapons in the average Watford fans arsenal. Yet these points among others have been pushed to boiling point since the take-over of one Laurence Bassini.

Yes, I am one of those ‘I'll pin it on the new chairman' fans. And rightly so...

Admittedly Watford were on the slide towards the end of last season. Malky had provided us with a sense of optimism until January that had not been expected given a summer of budgeting and change. However as fans we were all resigned that further cuts would have to be made, and that the sale of our hot properties were impending. This was further enforced with Laurence Bassini and his army of secret backers taking over and maintaining that they would do all they needed to secure the clubs long term future.

Que Danny Graham to Swansea (well deserved crack at the big time, even if it is with Br*ndan R*dgers).  £3.5million would go a long way to seeing us being secure, and it was a transfer that the fans were begrudgingly happy with. Win/Win you would assume.

Oh no, not at the Watford merry-go round.

With rumours rife in the Hertfordshire area about behind the scenes unsettlement, Malky Mackay became the bookies favourite for every job on the football circuit. I'm certain that had Malky stuck it out long enough his name would have slowly crept into the ring for the (at the time) vacant Chelsea job ... Ok, perhaps not, but you get the idea. Long story short, Cardiff and their newly found sizeable chequebook came along and offered Malky an open canvas with which to build a side capable of going places. Promotion chasing Bluebirds ... Wilting Watford ... Tough choice? Farewell Malky, take my best wishes with you.

Unsurprisingly, this move and uncertainty then spawned a near catastrophic exodus of our remaining creative talent. Cowie (Cardiff) and Buckley (Brighton) the two of note. Neither sold for what I deem their maximum value, but with Bassini harping on to anybody with a microphone that we were in financial hardship what could we expect.

Anyway, cut forward to the start of the season. Assistant Manager Sean Dyche had been appointed coach and had spent a combined transfer fee of £20 and a Mars bar on bringing in Scottish winger Craig Forsyth, No Frills left back Carl Dickenson, ‘Hardman' David Mirfin, Tricky Mark Yeates and Beampole (1miss wonder) Chris Iwelumo.

Now for all of his media drivel (and there has been a lot), as a qualified and renown surgeon even Bassini must realise that if you cut a person open and replace all his internal organs with cheap, inadequate options, the body will fail pretty sharpish? Alas, what does he care, despite claiming not to have taken a wage thus far, we as a club yet to see any return on any of the sales or the Ashley Young sell on money we received (15% of that fee alone would have gone a long way toward 3 very solid championship standard players). Which leads me to wonder, just where is this bottomless pit that Watford traditionally throw all their revenue into? I once believed it was called the East Stand, but season after season there is no progress which leads me to believe it must be whoever owns the club at the time. The only reason I can see for leaving is that their pockets may have become too full.

*Note to self – Take over Watford next to clear my student loan + earn enough to buy the ice cream truck I've always wanted*

I will now stop on the Bassini hate trail; it was merely some hot air that needed venting on all of our behalf.

This season is now 3 games old and I'm afraid it has been exactly as expected. Being 2-0 up at Burnley gave me great hope, and even after a traditional Watford crumble to a 2-2 draw I felt more optimistic than I had pre-season. Sidenote: anybody who has been lucky enough to see the Inbetweeners film will now know that we all hate Burnley and so I wish we had seen the game out!!

Derby at the Vic was an interesting one. We huffed, and we puffed, yet it was them who blew our house down. Metaphorical yes, but if their fans had blown hard enough we wouldn't have an East Stand left to care about. Encouraging football all around however and a quite well balanced team. We looked rigid, good tempo and surprisingly solid. Albeit a great goal won Derby the game and left us deflated, but I was still moderately encouraged.

Next up came West Ham . Promotion favourites, yet a side we have always seemed to have had the rub of the green over. This game only sought to show the exact difference between the top and the bottom of the table though. Clinical professionalism is how I would describe the West Ham performance. For the second game in a row we huffed and puffed, and even played good football in patches. Yet Marvin Sordell aside, we never looked like we had any creative elegance or any player who could provide Marv with a penetrative through ball to latch onto.

So 4 goals and a Kevin Nolan howler later and I am left to wonder the exact position we find ourselves in. Already sat in the relegation zone and with a squad that is full of desire but lacks quality. If championship football was given on the ability to try hard then we would be up there with the best. Unfortunately we are a plucky, yet unimaginative outfit, and whilst I try not to I fear the worst, it will take some substantial contributions from Sordell, Yeates, Forsyth, Eustace and the dynamic duo at centre half.


Start of Season Positives : Attacking intent, Yeates creativity, Sordell looks very hungry and could be the key to our survival.

Start of Season Negative s: Iwelumo (it would have been cheaper and more productive to buy a tree and plant it on the edge of the 18 yard box), Bassini, Our ability to be in complete control of a game yet not get anything.
Scott Stevenson

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