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Championship review:
By Ian Lay
August of last year seems such a long way away now. Maybe I should have done this at the end of each month. Would have made sense, would it not? But then for those who know me, I am quite capable of making no sense whatsoever.

Memories. And what good ones they are. It all started on a sunny August Saturday ("A rare thing!", I hear you cry) against a side that we had been quite comprensively trounced by at the end of the previous season. This was the opening game against Burnley. At this time, they were one of the favourites for promotion along with us, Luton, Oldham and others.

The game was competitive and tight but had many good moments and was won by a single goal by Jason Lee. "Oh," I thought, "this man is going to score lots of goals in this division". Just in the same way I felt Devon White would. As we all know, it didn't quite turn out that way but Jason still proved to be a valuable member of the team, even when he wasn't hitting the back of the net. Well, so some thought, anyway.

After the game, some Burnley thugs managed to beat up someone near Shrodells without a policemen in sight and also made a mess of the outside of the Red Lion. This led to the "Old Bill run from Burnley" chant, which echoed around stadiums across the land for most of the rest of the season.

Next onto Swindon in the Coca-Cola Cup. This was the first time I met Rupe. He offered a lift to anyone who wanted one down to the game. I took him up on it and from this a good friendship was forged. Only a few months earlier I had got involved in a massive slanging match on the mailing list with him, for no reason other than everyone was doing it. I can genuinely say that he is one of the most interesting people I have met. Weird at times (aren't we all?) but great fun to be with. There is never a dull moment when Rupe is around.

The Swindon game also saw the first game for Rocket Ronny. Watford had had a good first half. 1-0 up courtesy of a Gifton Noel-Williams header after a Peter Kennedy free kick had hit the bar. This was also the game where Jason Lee was sent off just before half time. Everyone thought we would defend deeply in the second half, but, amazingly, GT brought Ronny on and we set about trying to take the game to Swindon. Yes, we had to defend in numbers at points but we never looked stretched and added to our lead courtesy of Rupe's idol to give us a comfortable first leg lead.

The second leg was a bit of an anti-climax. We went 3-0 up on aggregate early on and, although Swindon pulled one back before the break, we were never in any danger.

Carlisle. And what a day. I'm sometimes glad I don't drive. This was such an occasion. Thankfully, my brother took myself and Rupe up there and it was worth the effort. Not the best game in the world but it will remain forever in the memory for Richard Johnson's 35 yard screamer. A goal that would have undoubtedly been the goal of the season if it had been scored at home.

The day will also be remember by myself for one other reason. It was the day I started my first chant. I'd had a couple of beers in the pub and was feeling quite relaxed. Got into the ground and made my way to the back of the impressive stand they have at Carlisle. It was quite quiet and some guy (about sixteen or seventeen probably) said, not that loudly, "Give me a W". No-one responded. I don't think anyone had noticed actually. So I thought, "Here's my chance". At the top of my voice I shouted "GIVE ME A W" and was quite shocked to hear everyone respond. I was no longer a chant virgin and it felt good. After that success, I thought it was a good idea to finish it off so "A", "T" etc followed and I was content.

The trip home didn't seem half as long as the trip up. I wonder why?

Next was Brentford at home. A cracking performance with another goal from Johno, along with ones from Millen and Melvang. For many, this was the game of the season (bar Luton away). And the "feel good" factor was definitely setting in amongst all the fans. Not only were we winning, but we were also playing excellent football. Could it continue?


Preston for many reasons was a day that most people would want to forget. We lost 2-0. Didn't really look like we were ever going to get anything out of the game and, on top of that, the day cost me a lot of money. The "people mover" that Jonathan Richards, Adrian Spender, Simon Devon, Rupe and I went up in got broken into when we were at the game. With the excess on the insurance, petrol money, food, drink and entrance into the ground I must have blown nearly 90 pounds.

This all paled in comparison to the death of Princess Diana, so much so that my match report for BSaD for the game comprised of a couple of paragraphs.

All in all, however, August was a good month. We'd lost only one league game and got through the first round of the fizzy cup. The pessimists were silent and the optimistics were wild, loud and partying.

Roll on September!

Best moments: Rocket Ron's first goal for Watford, Johno's screamer at Carlisle, meeting Rupe and starting my first chant! Yes!

Worst moments: The Preston Experience. No!

Funniest moment: Chris Waddle (Twaddle to his friends), saying "A season is not one game. We'll see who is higher in the table come the end of the season" or words to that affect. Hmmmm.