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Difficult decisions
By Ian Grant
A rational response simply won't cover it, I'm afraid. Not today. Not this morning. Not this.

It's not my job to make sense of it, to look for reasons, to find excuses. That's your job, Graham. Because, as you've ceaselessly reminded us, the chairman of a football club has to take full responsibility for tough, hard decisions. Difficult decisions. Unpopular decisions. Really f***ing stupid decisions. So this is all yours, even if it was made by your manager, even if you don't actually agree with it.

He's your man, after all. The outstanding candidate, apparently, from the how-many-was-it-again? that you interviewed for the post. That we're barely three months on from that point and we find ourselves in the painfully familiar position of getting rid of someone whose dismissal was previously beyond imagination is a direct consequence of your appointment. Of your lack of foresight, presumably...because you were one of those who criticised the board that imprudently allowed Luca Vialli to dispose of key club servants upon his arrival. It's happened again, though, hasn't it? On your watch.

So, are you going to send me yet another e-mail, urging me to look forward towards a future that you seem incapable of explaining? What is this new dawn that we're supposed to be positive about, Graham? Do you not understand how it looks from where we're standing, for pity's sake? Off the pitch, we hear repeated hints of grand, exciting plans from your countless departments, with no substance whatsoever to back up that grand excitement; it should be obvious, but just in case: our faith is limited and we're not f***ing psychic. On the pitch, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that you've allowed cost-cutting to become an obsession, while inexplicably believing that mere survival is no longer an acceptable minimum.

And now, this. It is, naturally, tempting to come over all histrionic and attach more importance to one departure from the coaching staff than to everything else. I'll try to maintain some perspective. Try. Because while there have been more significant developments with regard to strategies, plans, rationale, few can have struck quite so savagely at what Watford fans hold precious. He's Nigel Gibbs, for crying out loud. You're a fan, you presumably understand that...and as someone intimately involved with the football club, you surely know that he's part of our future as well as our past, more than a relic that no-one's been prepared to chuck out until now. Part of you - part of you, surely? - must be aware that if you stick around for long enough, you'll be making a grovelling, snivelling phone call to the Gibbs household to ask him to come back.

Until then, it won't be the same. Is that too melodramatic, perhaps? No, I don't think so. It won't be the same. Not because any of us want to turn Watford Football Club into a museum; simply because that bloke was - no, is - a more than insignificant part of what we turn up to support on a Saturday afternoon. Part of what makes us us, more than me and you. Part of the faith that you insist on demanding of us. Sorry, Graham, but you really can't have it both ways: you can't insist on belief at the same time as committing acts of sacrilege.

So, if you can bear to look at the past for a moment, how the f***ing hell did we get here from where we were six months ago? How on earth did that happen? That's not a rhetorical question: I simply do not know. I could explain where we were going once, you know...and did so, on countless occasions, sometimes on your behalf. At some point, we took a strange turning and now...well, it just escapes me. I'm just left with the sinking feeling, with the sheer powerlessness that's been your gift to Watford supporters. With the same powerlessness that might be starting to overwhelm you too, perhaps. Today, with one less reason to believe.

Of course, it might all turn out beautifully yet. Adrian Boothroyd may still prove to be a brilliant, inspired appointment. Everything might come together perfectly - the grand, exciting plans off the pitch matched by bright, positive football on it - and you'll be able to bask in all of that reflected glory. It might happen, in which case I hope that I'm humble enough to offer my congratulations upon your appointed judgement day.

But I'm afraid that time isn't required for every judgement. Some things don't change. Sometimes, there is right and wrong, immovable and permanent. This is one of those occasions, Graham. Today's news can be judged today, and that judgement isn't going to be altered even by the most spectacular, extraordinary success in the future.

Today, right now and always, whether significant or insignificant in the fullness of time, this is wrong. No, sorry...this is f***ing inexcusable.