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Unhappy New Year
By Bruce Edhouse
So, here we are in 1997, and I thought I'd send in a match report or two on the games I managed to get to see over the Christmas holidays - Gillingham and Notts County. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing happened in either game, so I can't really, can I? So, instead, here is an account of the Christmas period as a whole, including various reasons why I think that CHRISTMAS IS SHITE.

If you've read the "It's a long way to..." articles, you may remember that I wrote one about life in Aberystwyth, Wales, complaining about the lack of football round here. As such, I was looking forward to coming home, going to as many matches as I possibly could, and being a proper Watford supporter again for a few brief weeks. Then I got glandular fever, which in the end reduced the amount of games I could go and see by quite a few. (Doh!) It meant that I would have to come back early, as I'd missed the last three weeks of lectures before the exams and had to catch up somewhat, so that meant the last game I could really see was the FA Cup game against Oxford. (Acually, "I had glandular fever!" is a bloody good excuse for if I fail my exams - I could have stayed longer after all!)

I suppose you can guess the rest. I went to the Gillingham game with a few friends, against the advice of my parents, who still felt (quite sensibly) that I should be in bed, and it was completely devoid of... anything. But it was good being back at the Vic, and I didn't feel too downhearted, as there were virtually three points guaranteed against Notts County on Boxing Day.

I hate boxing day matches! Ever since the first one I went to, away to Southend a few years ago, they have become a bit of a tradition for me and my Dad, but in recent years I have to wonder why. It's always cold, the football's always shit if it's on at all - last year we had to go to Barnet, to see one of the worst games I've ever seen (it was at that match I first heard the phrase "that old Endsleigh feeling" - you know the feeling). And people who wear Santa hats. I shall say no more.

I went to the Notts County game with my Dad, and also my Mum, which was her first match for three years. There was a very strange atmosphere at that match, almost as if everyone had come with their Mum who hadn't been to a match for three years too. And the players played like they hadn't been in a match for three years. And that was about it. That was the last match I had a chance to see.

I hate the weather! It's either too hot or too cold, and it always knocks out half the Christmas schedule for us! That's where we really started to lose it last year, when we didn't play a match for a couple of weeks, became adrift at the bottom, and never got it back until it was too late. Will the same happen this year?

So, not really chestnuts roasting on an open fire - this was more like sprouts. They're always there at Christmas, and no-one questions whether you actually need them or not. Just like scheduling four games in a week - never, NEVER, have all the sprouts been eaten. (That was a nice little comparison, wasn't it? If a bit, er, crap...) (You should invite me round sometime, I bloody love sprouts - Ed)

Anyway, enough of my whinging. I hope you all have a happy New Year, and continue to support the Horns as much as you can. And when you next go along to Vicarage Road, cheer the lads on for me, and tell the referee he's a wanker.