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05/06: Reports:

Division One, 22/08/06, 7.45pm
West Ham United
By Richard Walker

I can't deny it. I'm a bit of a Chas n Dave nut. I went to the gig at The Horns recently. Brilliant it was. Everyone loved it. Apart from for the teenage bar staff who were not only wondering who Charlie Hodges and David Peacock were, but also had to endure an evening of a 33-year-old Rockney wannabe singing at full volume very, very close to them.

They didn't do Breathless - it's one of my favourite numbers but it's not really a sing-a-long type of tune. It's great live, though. Ooh yeah, really gets you going.

I didn't have to sing tonight to lose my breath, either. Breathless was a sub-conscious state for this ninety maniacal minutes during which, of course, I could have sung at full volume as Ocean down the front - or the nineteen 19-year-olds at the back - entreated me to do.

Couldn't get to Goodison so I was extolling the virtues of the red dot (Sky's Football First fare where, just at the time you start to nod off, you can watch a re-run in full of your chosen Premiership showdown) to anyone who'd listen. I thought this was brilliant - just like being there, I said to my missus, don't worry it'll be great.

No. Tuesday was great. Football. Right in front of you. So close it suffocated you. So close it got hold of you by the neck and shook you until you took notice. So close I could smell Shittu's deep heat-laden legs. So close I could sense the tension in Ben Foster's every mis-kick. So close I could see the menace in the eyes of Aidy Boothroyd. Hell-bent on non-failure (that's success to you) this team, hell-bent on being something more than nothing. Hell-bent on casting aside memories of '99, 2000. Just hell-bent. Whatever they want to do, they really want to do it. And more often than not they go out there and do it as they wanted to do it before they went out and did it.

That's planning. That's preparation. That's knowing West Ham might change their system. That's knowing what to do when West Ham did play three at the back. Tuck Young inside, stop Mullins getting it. Play down the sides of the centre-halves. Ping the ball deep with back-spin, force throw-ins and free-kicks. I love this, I absolutely love it.

You didn't want to be a West Ham player at Vicarage Road tonight. You just didn't. Pardew knew it, he knew it all right. What was going to happen. No time to move - so much as breathe and there was a yellow shirt checking which lung had accepted most air that time. That's the attention to detail. Know your've got to know them before you can destroy them.

I counted eighteen long balls over the top of our defence from West Ham in the first half. And half the time I wasn't watching, busy berating Pardew for standing there like some smug, smug bloke, I was. Come on Pardew, come on, I'll have you, I will.

Eighteen long balls. Nearly twenty times West Ham didn't know how to play out, around us. Damn right they didn't. This breathless, insanely-paced display of energy - perhaps flooding out all at once - was Watford's motif. In fact is Watford's motif. In fact, I suspect, will be Watford's motif for the season.

He ain't gonna say it, Aidy, but he knows our quality doesn't match up man-for-man, so I don't think you ought to be surprised if we keep this unbelievable tempo to games going all year. You can probably just about do it in Division One, such is the break between games. Division Two, no chance - Division One more than half a chance.

That's not to say we didn't play well, we did. But what's play well? If it's football in its purest form, then only briefly in truth. If it's doing what you do well, doing what you do so well that it stops the other team doing what they do well, well, then that's it, that's what we did. That's why we got our first point of the season. That's why - and we clapped our men off like they'd beaten this enemy, like they'd stuck it up Pardew and his stupid sliver hair brushed into the centre like it's trendy.

Marlon King's goal was brilliant - but it came far too soon. I said to Nichole next to me that I wanted an 89th-minute winner. Jesus, the explosion of pent-up emotion in me and around me was amazing on minute 63...but that's just why I wanted my head to blow off a minute from time. With no way back for silver hair into the middle and his men. And look across to see Aidy crack his touchline Sudoku with a flourish of a fountain pen...or make a note about the game...or something.

No time to breathe and no time to enjoy our winner, really. King goal 63, Zamora goal 64. Before and after, the game just carried on as if the goals hadn't gone in. Exactly the same, terrifying pace and insane commitment to the cause.

Bloke behind me said we deserved to win. No, we didn't. Don't kid yourself, old lad. You deserve to win when you win, because you took more chances than the opposition. I can buy that we deserved to draw at Everton because the ref played his part in that. But deserved to win? No way. Play well? Oh yeah. Chances? Yes: King off the post on 28 after a brilliant Bouazza run, Henderson header over from Young cross on 78. And, and...sorry, I'm not very good at taking notes during a game. You can get all that nonsense elsewhere anyway (23: Defensive throw-in Watford, delivered by Doyley L with right-hand, slightly taut posture, rain sweeping in from east, Greenwich Light Vessel Automatic, Fair, know where to find it).

Young overhead kick, ooh, sorry forgot that one.

Harewood should have scored as well, when Powell fell over. That was in the first half though.

Breathless, it was. Breathless. Same again please boys. But deserve to win.

NB There is no reference in this report to BSaD shutting its virtual doors. A timeline which reads M Rowson asking R Walker to do report, BSaD announcing closure, R Walker doing report, would only mean abuse from R Walker to M Rowson about timing - and this ain't the time for that. Thanks ig and Matt, where will I click at work now?