This is a cautionary tale - the lesson painfully learnt by myself can be passed on harmlessly to you all. As Watford set new standards, break long held records, and basically sweep all before them aside, we must keep our feet on solid earth, heads far from those lovely fluffy clouds, and minds focused on reality.
But let's go back to the beginning, way back to last Tuesday. Watford have just sent Bolton packing back to their homes in the harsh industrial North, as indeed we always do. We are top of the league. Actually top of the league, none of that games in hand nonsense, no waiting twenty-four hours to be returned back to whence we came, but there by right.
So far so good. That night I sleep a sound sleep, a satisfied sleep, the sleep of a man who is happy with life.
The next morning, the morning that shall be referred to as Black Wednesday from here on, I awake still happy, still joyful. Being in the business of letter delivering, I awake early, too early, but today I do not mind, for we are top of the league. My first hours at work are spent gloating, for there is nothing like a good gloat first thing in the morning. With a spring in my step and jaunty stride I climb aboard the iron stallion that is my push bike, and head out into the hills loaded with other peoples bills and final reminders. As I cycle, the cheery postman in me whistles many tunes, all ending in two shrill toots to replace the words Watford. Already I am slipping into daydream mode, the mind is going into auto-pilot.
As I start despatching the unwanted junk and brown envelopes through people's doors, I drift off into the future. I'm at some non-specific ground, around about March...the teams have yet to come out, a vast army of Watford fans are singing "Yellow" by Coldplay, which in my daydream is our adopted anthem. We need to win here to sew up the First Division title in record time. It's a party atmosphere - I'm there, of course...after all, it is my daydream - and we're now all singing "One Graham Taylor", GT comes across to us to salute us, then the teams come out....
At this point someone says hello to me and I come out of my dream with a start to realise I'm walking up number 24's path with a letter for house number 22. Whoops, where did I go wrong? Still not to worry, where was I? We're now in the middle of the game, Wooter dancing through a crowded defence, all skill and silver boots, BANG! It's there, we're champions! Oh, how we celebrate, how we dance and cheer, the final whistle goes, the players come over to us, and Robert Page is presented with a huge ornate trophy. Watford smash all records....
I finish the road I'm delivering, climb back onto the bike and start peddling. Being in a good mood - after all, we've just won the Championship - I'm giving it some power, arse off saddle, hell for leather power, I'm motoring. The mind once again slips into auto-pilot.... If we continue with the same wins/draws to games ratio, how many points would we have come the end of the season? Let me think. Played 13 with 34 points, that's exactly quarter of the season gone, so if we times 34 by 4, then we've got.... SMACK!
The speeding bike I'm on ploughs into a kerb, I'm startled out of my cosy dream to be confronted with harsh cold reality, the bike has stopped dead, and I haven't. As I fly over the handle bars, I know it's going to hurt, it's just how much. As my face crashes against part of my bike followed by the road, I find out. A lot! The taste of grit and blood replaces the warm glow of fantasised glories. I sit on the floor, I want to cry, instead I wobble my teeth one at a time to check they're still there, and hopefully can remain there. Ouch, it hurts! I want to go home, I want to be comforted by kindly kinfolk, I still want to cry. Instead a dog comes up to me and licks my face. I no longer think of Championships and football, glory and triumph, instead I realise my testicles are aching.
Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, you'll be pleased to know nothing was broken. I currently have nasty grazes and scabs all around my mouth (which has earned me the unfortunate moniker "Muff Chops"), a fat lip, a big black bruise on my chin, and a very bizarre bruise inside my mouth, which is a part of the body I was unaware was capable of bruising. Oh, and my testicles were fine.
So why am I telling you this? Why should you care if I fall off my push-bike? Well, I tell this tale to you not to illicit pity nor sympathy, but to share the valued but simple lesson I learnt.
It just doesn't pay to dream of glory, it bloody hurts!