I'll announce my hand. I'm now a vocal moaner. I moaned and I moaned about the mess at the end of our previous season. However, this time we're seven games gone: unbeaten for six, third in the table and with loadsa goals, we have a super start - all surprising, unexpected and very welcome. Perhaps it will continue.
Doubly surprising because just fourteen league games ago, I gave the remnant of my season ticket away and resolved to have a couple of years off from Vicarage Road. Perhaps I would continue to meet my good friends and see some games near my home up north - ensuring our club got no cash off me until, well, I don't actually know what - but I knew we wouldn't succeed on the field treating staff, so many professional loyal staff, so badly off the field. Additionally, I'd long been bothered about supporting a professional sport that pays players so (too) much cash…and anyway, home games take up too much of my Saturdays, all day long. Frankly, it suited me to go missing for a bit as the consequent natural justice occurred and made our board truly contrite for their bad deeds.
The predicted doom took shape. Strange signings, more sackings, huge gaps in playing formation, real difficulties attracting players to our club and unconvincing pre-season results against clubs equal in calibre to, say, Stocksbridge United. Don't ask me why I got a couple of ST's at this time.
However, this morality tale, this certain punishment for wrongdoing, has not happened. Against expectations, our formerly unknown Adrian Boothroyd genuinely does seem to be a leader able to recruit and organise a group of players into a loyal, attacking team. Suddenly, we have a team of goal scorers and winners, especially away from home. Astonishing.
Yesterday I "listened" to the Stoke away game on IRC. The channel header listed our team by their initials - with so many new names I could not work out who was who. Every enterprise has staff changes, but all these? Yes, in time I'll get to know these new people by their position, their movement, their skin colour, their build. Yet I can't explain why I miss so many people I never personally knew. Tell me, do you also see the ghosts of HH, RL, NC and others around the ground?
Yes, of course, I cheer when the oppo net bulges, but now I have a detachment I never had. I'm not so sad when our net fattens, not so keen to study team news…I'm disengaged, less attached. Since 1961, I've always watched Watford, always been proud of our team (and our club ethics) but now I'm less keen, not so involved, not as passionate. Why is this? One possibility is that I've finally grown up…I don't know.
Perhaps I've taken our board's advice and "moved on".