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An uncomfortable feeling
By John Fawell
So Ray Lewington has been sacked and the board want to appoint a new and dynamic manager to take us into the future within two weeks. Maybe this is a good time with managers beginning to look around for new pastures, not that the Vic pitch could be ever termed a pasture. However, a decent bloke who has battled against significant financial odds has been made to pay for an inexplicable failure to stay in mid-table. Lewington is a very decent and likeable man to whom we do owe considerable thanks because he has brought us a few highs, which have been sadly lacking since our relegation from the division above us.

The state of the pitch says a lot about the club at the moment, a bit of a mess. The board (they say), the trust and the fans have been looking for some degree of stability and an opportunity to build a reasonable platform after the Vialli debacle. Will this move, which smacks a bit of panic, help that stability? Alternatively, will it mean that our up and coming coach, Nigel Gibbs, will also get the push when the new man comes in, or will the board suddenly have a rush of wisdom to the brain and insist that he inherits the existing people? We await the outcome with some interest and not a little concern.

So what has gone wrong? We had a great start to the season but following the departure of Terry Burton we have gradually lost our way, when adrenaline wasn't enough to fire a great performance. Players seem incredibly and inexplicably inconsistent and problems have come from the increasing injury list that was inevitable as the season wore on. Loan signings have been made and, in general, have been a success, although the jury is still out on Chris Eagles. One has to question why a defender wasn't signed on loan but who knows which players were available. Increasingly the management team have struggled to get the most out of the players and one can argue that changes in the team selection were overdue when some players were clearly suffering from a catastrophic loss of form. It has already been pointed out by others that the business has apparently increased its salaried officers and I would dearly love to know exactly why our Financial Controller resigned so abruptly. Building an administration to hang a business on can rapidly become an administration to hang a business with if the core of the business - what happens on the pitch - is neglected. Has this been happening?

Ray Lewington wasn't the most exciting or successful manager but he is widely respected in football and can attract high quality players, apparently on very favourable terms. I fear that we have lost something that will not be easy to replace.

So, farewell Ray, and thanks for helping us through a difficult period. I'm sorry that a season with a great start has gone sour but the results are not quite good enough. Watford fans have not got very high expectations or demands but retaining Second Division status is one of them. Whether this is the right way to go about it in the long-term, we need to wait and see. Meanwhile we have to get behind the team if the club is to maintain its 'Championship' status and hope that all will settle down. However, I will be storing up some very good questions for the PLC AGM....