Had a chat with a radio station today.
Reminded them that Watford are very close to a play-off place and that they
should not ignore us, when discussing probable outcomes. The hosts both
accepted that we had quite a good chance of going up, but jointly
expressed the view that we are the weakest of the likely lads and that
immediate relegation was a certainty. I told them that the difference
between us and the others is not the players, or money, but Graham Taylor.
We've got him, the others have not.
Maybe now is a good time to consider whether the prevailing view is based
merely around what has been seen before (Palace, Charlton, Bolton, Swindon) or
whether it is based upon some kind of solid evidence of frailty at Vicarage Road.
The lessons of time are worth learning, indeed it is one of my prime
philosophies. After all, if Hitler had remembered Napoleon's failure on the
Russian front, we might be considering promotion to the Bundeslegia. However,
death is not necessarily the inevitable consequence
of following a usually dangerous path. Especially if you have made
preparations in advance of the journey. Consider what GT has put in place so far.
A Philosophy and Discipline that ensures no-one can ever again take the
view... "I'm too good for this place". One tried it and has paid quite a price for it
(guess who ?).
Two promotions in two years (maybe), without spending more than 200k on any
A Youth Academy that has, in its first season, shown most of the 'big'
clubs how to do it right, by pulling off some very surprising results in Academy league
Complete belief in GT's managerial ability from the players. How many
Watford players want to leave this club, after the way things have gone in the last two years?
In Smith, Easton, Robinson, Noel-Williams, Ward, Pluck, Perpetuini, a
squad of U21 players that are going to be the foundation of a future
Premiership squad, and who
would comfortably make it into any First Division squad right now.
A playing strategy that is understood by everyone. Not surprisingly, it is
simple to play
and it causes real problems for the opposition. No, not "long ball", but win
the ball, get it wide,
run at defenders, cross the ball. If so-called "star-players" don't want to
play that way, then we don't need them.
The ability to turn poor attitude, into a realisation that the team is
everything. Witness Jason Lee's
change of attitude last year and this season Michel Ngonge's miraculous change
from can't-be-bothered to run-til-you-drop.
These are just some of the reasons why I don't believe that promotion would
mean certain relegation.
GT will, in my view, do the same things that we have seen Jim Smith and
Martin O'Neill do, on a not very
big budget. Bosman frees, has-beens given a new lease of life, young guys
well coached and bargain Euro buys from the less fashionable countries.
Of course one thing is certain. The Press will return to their old stories
about 'long-ball Watford', but when
faced with GT himself will say "of course, I have always admired you". I
for one (to paraphrase someone else)
would love it, just love it, to be able to see GT stuff Jeff Powell's tired
old clichés right back whence they came.