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Haifa, Israel
By Sam Rudnick

When living away from home for a prolonged period of time, the people you miss most and the leisure activites you once participated in soon become something of the past. Parents, relatives, friends are just a phone call away, but you soon come to accept their absence, and although you miss them it becomes rather pleasent and nostalgic at times to be independent and apart. The abandonment of a life revolving around football becomes increasingly tough and frustrating; however, the existence of the television dilutes any temptation to reach into insanity or depression. What all televisions lack, particularly overseas ones, are those showing Watford highlights, let alone games, and the love of your club is maintained without any direct relationship. It's tough at times but a sacrifice one must make.

Throughout my voyage in Israel, I have been in touch with football on many levels. I went to see the 'mighty' Maccabi Haifa (the top team in Israel) at their less than impressive Kiryat Eliezer Stadium. I was half expecting to see some bright young talent and had delusions that one day a player I saw here would end up in a Watford shirt (boy, would it make me proud to see a fellow Jew in a Watford shirt); however, the standard of football was surprisingly poor, despite Maccabi being a Champions League team in 2003. Watford would have most likely looked superior to them on the basis of one of our bi-monthly good performances. Many fellow Americans on gap year here cannot understand why I support a non-Premiership side and the Israelis have most likely never heard of Watford, despite us having two Israeli internationals in the past. I can prod one or two Israelis with information about Elton John and memories of Alon Hazan; however, Championship football is hard to come by here.

I think taking a year out away from Watford is especially hard due to the blistering start we've made this season. I cannot hide my excitement at a possible promotion or playoff challenge; I get back in June 2006 and a Premiership season ticket waiting on my bed would be more than I ever bargained for. We all know how football can be one big rollercoaster, but things are looking positive and Aidy seems like he could just be the right man.

I pray that the clash with Luton will be shown on SkySports so that I can find a British pub here to watch the game. I think Watford's good form is keeping me in high spirit at times when personal morale could well be low. Last week, I did identify the whereabouts of ex-Watford director Brian Anderson, who moved here a couple years ago. If there are any other 'Orns out here, I would love to hear from them.

So far, the closest I've come to the Hornets are actual hornets, which are often buzzing around. At the moment, it sounds like the Hornets back home are buzzing and long may it continue.