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Back for our future
By Matt Semple
The Live8 concert demonstrated that for all the energy, enthusiasm, freshness, verve and new ideas of youth, there is no substitute for the experience, commitment, and the legacy that the 'mature' provide. Annie Lennox and Madonna, for example. The 'restructuring' and widespread culling (through sale, release, or demotion) of so much talent and experience at Watford ignores this lesson.

I have been perturbed for some time by Adrian Boothroyd's embarrassment leading his players round 'celebrating avoiding failure'. It is still less than six months since these 'failures' were undeservedly beaten at Anfield by the best team the Champions of Europe could field. The applause was for the fans' support, and reciprocated for the efforts, and quality of the football in that pulsating run (which also included the humiliation of Southampton and Portsmouth). The 2004/05 season trod a fine line between 'success' and 'failure', and if Ardley had not been 'turned' (or was it 'spurned'?), and Dyche, Mahon, and Gunnarsson been fully fit for the second half of the season, we could have been celebrating success. It is understandable that a new broom will want to sweep clean, but new is not necessarily better, and Stalinist-style purges can come to be regretted.

More than this, it is the manner in which the deed is done that demeans the club. It was obvious when David Hockaday was promoted to Number Three and Nigel Gibbs given a non-specific role as Number Four that his days on the coaching staff were numbered. But the timing of his eventual demise is exquisite. Following the euphoria of the concert (and a dedication from Elton John on Nigel's wedding anniversary); coinciding with the first sighting of new signings; after the Watford Observer's deadline; but just before the report back for training. Also, just after the first payment was taken on my season ticket, and my new shirt arrived!

We start pre-season training still waiting for a partner for Jay Demerit in central defence, and, after almost a surfeit of good strikers of different styles, Hameur Bouazza and Joel Grant still do not know who will help shoulder the burden of goal-scoring duties.

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have my pessimism proved unfounded, but with remarks in Aidy's newsletter such as 'to the people here - there is no such thing as the risk of losing', I really do wonder if Boothroyd, Ashton, Simpson and the Russos will still be around in 2006 to pick up the pieces. Less than six months ago, I wrote a humorous (!) piece for BSaD with Elton coming to Watford's rescue. Little did I think that twelve months on from that, 'Back for our Future' could take on a new meaning.