Way back in the 70s when George Lucas released his first Star Wars
movie, most were baffled by the secondary title "Episode IV - A New
Hope". What do you mean, Episode IV? What's happened to I, II and III?
Did we miss them? Good Ole George knew what the score was; one day he
would come back and make them to complete the story. He'd tell us how
the Empire came about, he'd tell us how Annekin was discovered and will
eventually tell us how him turned to the Dark Side and how Skywalker and
Leia came to be.
This year, "The Phantom Menace" was released, starting the long trail to
bridge the three film gap to Star Wars IV, rekindling the Dark Side versus
Good Side feeling throughout the land. At the moment, apart from George
Lucas, no-one has a clue what will happen in the next two films, even
though we can make a pretty good guess.
In the 70s, a young manager was recruited by Watford to lead them to
great things. His name was not Luke, but Graham, but this Jedi Manager
certainly had an immense presence about him - "the Force is strong with
one" to quote Master Yoda, Elton John. He went about his business with
precision and minimal fuss, occasionally hurdling the odd obstacle
thrown in his way. He learnt the ways of the football Force; he would
not succumb to the Dark Side of football - he believed in his principles
and stuck to them, no matter what. Within a few years, he took Watford to
the summit of football - Div One. A New Hope was complete.
People tried to slay him with their pen sabres, but they could not lay a
finger on this fine young Master - accusations of destroying the
beautiful game that is football bounced squarely off his broad
shoulders. You could almost sense that he was using his Force to convey
to the world that he must be judged by results and not how he achieved
them. The Dark Side responded that you'll be struck down in world of
Division One. Twelve months later, GT had been given an education by the
Dark Side - Watford had ONLY finished second to the those God-like
figures from Anfield. Still the Dark Side attempted to shoot our brave
Jedi down....except that the Empire could not Strike Back as the Jedi
were too strong. The team went from strength to strength, appearing in
European ties, appearing in FA Cup Finals.....all this from a team that
was Div 4 material less than a few years before? Our Jedi took it in his
stride and was appearing to hit the summit when the Empire played a
Taylor left for Aston Villa, believing that he'd taken Watford as far
as he could. He worked a bit of magic there taking Villa back to the
summit of England's football league. His effort of succeeded in the top
flight wrangled the Empire so they offered him the poisoned chalice, the
spiked apple, the Kryptonite of British football - the England manager's
job. The Empire had had its revenge.
Despite have a record that was easily as good as most England managers,
past and present, he was fatally remembered for three matches: England v
Sweden, taking off Gary "Flucking" Lineker with 20 mins to go (even
though GL was to retire very soon after with a dodgy toe); England v
Norway, where his trust in the Force was not shared by his players
resulting in a loss; and the loss in a friendly to the USA (who have
beaten most nations now...eh, Germany?!?). Our Master Jedi was in turmoil.
His home was assaulted by the Press Stormtroopers, his light sabre was
replaced by a turnip, his power was diminished. Our Master resigned.
GT turned up later at Wolves were he rediscovered some touch. In his
first season at Wolves he took them to a play-off, but three or so months
into the new campaign, an arm of the Empire decided that this was not
good enough, so Master Taylor jumped into the escape pod and resigned.
.....Meanwhile in a division far, far away from the Premiership, Watford
were battling with Ewok managers such as Perryman, Lee, Roeder, Bassett.
The locals weren't happy. The Ewoks came and went and then a familiar
face returned to the manager chair - Jackett. The locals raised an
eyebrow. Could this be the start of something again? Maybe a jump into
hyperspace all the way up to the Premier League? No, not really. Even
when Master Taylor returned as General Manager, swearing never to don a
tracksuit again (hah!), the results were still not happening.
Yoda then announced his presence back on the board. Taylor swiftly
announced his return to management with Hans Blissett and Luke Jackett
by his side. The Empire bolted upright and took notice. The Press
Stormtroopers announced the Golden Ticket was back. The Return of the
Jedi was in motion.
A fine title win in Div 2 got the tongues wagging, but all swiftly
predicted a return to the division from whence we came because "You
'aven't spent any money". They forgot that this Watford Millennium Falcon
was right slap bang in the middle of Hyperspace and no amount of laser
pen fire was gonna de-rail it. Just as the Empire thought we'd run out of
petrol, a spy for the Dark Side (the Tranmere ref) decided that he would
befriend our Master and give him the shot in the arm that we all wanted.
We fought like Jedi Knights, slashing our way through B'Ham, Crewe, Port
Vale, Grimsby, et al all the way to the Death Star, Wembley. At the home
of the Empire we were ridiculed by most penTroopers saying it would be a
travesty if Watford to rise to the Premiership....but on the other
cheek, they'd say we'd only go straight back down because, wait for
it......"You 'aven't spent any money". A couple of deft hits into the
port hole of the Death Star from Wright and Smart consigned the Empire's
fate for that season.
Master Taylor is now back in his right place at the top of England's
football. He's back to ruffling the feathers of the elite. Witness
Saturday's destruction of Liverpool.
The Phantom Menace, that is our GT, is now showing at grounds around the
country this season. Can't wait to see what completes the story
See Part II.