December for many reasons was messy. It was also very inconsistent. This was due partly to Rosenthal trying to come back from injury when we really had a strong inkling that he wasn't right and also to the fact that sides were beginning to work out how to play us. They would bore us to death.
The Bristol game was the last time we saw Rosenthal. And at the time he looked a shadow of the player we'd seen in the first four months of the season. But his loss was to be a significant reason why we didn't win the championship before I threw the first of my Taz impressions at the WIFC v Swindon game.
The month started promisingly. A hard away game at Wrexham, which will be remembered more for Rob Hart and Pete Fincham mooning the Watford coaches along the motorway. Having said that the game itself was enjoyable enough but conceding a goal four minutes into injury time took the shine slightly off an otherwise good day out.
I missed the draw with Torquay away in the F.A. Cup but by all accounts it was a game we should have won but didn't. Now where have I heard that before!!
Next was probably the most insignificant game of the season. Fulham away in the Auto Windscreen Pointless Cup. How ironic that later in the season Fulham away would provide the most significant game of the season.
I think Ig nicely summed up this game with his headline for the match report. Simply "Result!".
It was a result, a good result. A pointless game which would normally not live in the memory except that for some reason myself and others managed to turn it into a fun evening.
A few drinks beforehand and a couple of chants which were to live with us for months to come. First up was Rupe's idea of changing the "We beat the Scum 4-0" to "We beat the gents 4-0" to make it more palatable to GT. Only problem was that he thought we were singing "We beat the jinx 4-0". A quick phone call the following week from Pete Fincham to GT put the record straight for our esteemed manager.
Best of all though was the new chant for Paul Robinson. To the tune of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs Robinson":
"So here's to you Paul Robinson
Watford loves you more than you will know
Ho ho ho
And here's to you Paul Robinson
You're the only Hornet we all know
Ho ho ho"
"Why?", you ask. Well, apart from Jason Lee and Steve Palmer, he was the only first team regular on show. Yeah, it was that kind of night.
The F.A. Cup replay was crap. Very crap. In fact on a scale of 1 to crap, it was crap plus 10. It was also irritating. Very irritating. On a scale of 1 to irritating it was.... well, you get the idea.
The first ninety minutes were.... well... crap. Apart from probably the last ten where we looked like we may not have to suffer the cold for another thirty and pull off a result. It wasn't to be so we had to sit (well, stand actually) through another thirty minutes. So what does Gifton Noel-Williams do straight from the start of extra time? He scores. Bastard. Why couldn't he have done that a few moments earlier?
We tried to throw it away. We let them back into the game before a stunning strike for Gifton earned us a third round place. By the time I trudged out of the Vic I was unsure whether I still had a body left below my knees. It was that cold.
Come the weekend, come a trip down to the south coast to Bournemouth. This game reminded me a lot of the Northampton game away. We played sensibly, professionally, Kennedy scored, the result was the same and you came away with the impression that, despite the fact that it wasn't as exciting as games earlier in the season, we had the makings of a promotion side. When you are going through a bit of indifferent form but can still grind out the results, you know that glory might just be round the corner.
Wycombe away was another example of this. Both teams had chances and Wycombe may lay claim to having done enough to win but we got a good point against a side that is quite capable of beating anyone in the division. This could easily have been another 1-0 like Bournemouth or Northampton.
And so the month ended with Plymouth at home. Considering the game earlier in the month this should have been a home banker. But there is no such thing as a home banker with Watford.
It had 1-0 written all over it for ages, except the score was 0-0 at the time. But then it was 1-0..... to Plymouth. Loads of people left at that point. I don't know why, they must be stupid is the only conclusion I can come to. And I was proved right because with seconds ticking away the Moonster decided to take it upon himself to change the game and popped up the box to get an equaliser. Watford games are a wonderful mix of emotions at the best of times, during December I think we went through the whole dictionary.
Best moments: Despite the cold and the first ninety minutes, Gifton's two goals against Torquay. Also the away day at Wrexham and the laugh we had at Fulham will live with me for some time to come.
Worst moments: In the best tradition of the Smash Hit polls, best and worst moment goes to Torquay. Very cold and utterly uninspiring until Gifton did his bit. Also Plymouth was disappointing.
Funniest moment: The mooning session on the way back from Wrexham and the new chants we started at Fulham.