Division 1 Playoff Final, 31/5/99
Team: Chamberlain, Bazeley, Kennedy, Page, Palmer, Robinson, Ngonge, Hyde, Mooney, Johnson, Wright
Subs: Hazan (for Wright), Day, Smart (for Ngonge)
Scorers: Wright (38), Smart (89)
Bolton Wanderers 0(0)
The best day of my life
Report by Richard Wilson
I'd already marked the 31st May 1999 in my diary to be the best day of
my life. I'm on my way to see the mighty Hornets play at Wembley and
I'm taking my eight year old son Paul, who has, over the last few years
voiced his allegiance to all the major Premiership clubs. In the last
couple of months, building up to the end of season, he's finally decided
he's a Hornet. But eight year olds change their minds a lot, believe me I
know. I figured that if Watford win at Wembley, then Paul should be
hooked and a Hornet for life. I can't tell you how it cheered me to see
him singing "Watford till I die" at Wembley. He's a Hornet now for
Paul, my friend Mark and I all headed off for Wembley at around eleven-ish.
After departing the train and with Wembley Stadium in sight we stumbled
across some face painters. Paul had his face painted and one of those
silly wigs were purchased and placed on his head (see photo). What a proper little
Hornet! We then headed for Wembley Way to get a look at the Twin Towers and were soon
queueing at the turnstiles.
We were in the Stadium very early and there was not much noise yet.
Gradually the stadium filled and gradually the volume rose. The pre
match entertainment came and went and included an under-eleven game in which
Watford lost 1-0. Some years previously I was at the Everton v Man Utd FA
Cup Final and they had a veterans game as pre-match entertainment. In
this game Everton were the victors by a goal to nil as were Everton in
the FA Cup Final. I was hoping this was not a bad omen for the Golden
And then kickoff. There I was in a sea of Yellow and Red watching
Watford with the company of a good friend and my son. What could be
better. I'll tell you what! Watford winning 2-0 and gaining promotion
to the Premiership.
Early on I felt Bolton perhaps should have scored but it wasn't to be.
Bolton started the brighter but Watford gradually imposed themselves on
the game and deservedly went a goal ahead in the 38th minute. A Kennedy
corner was half cleared and the ball fell to Nicky Wright with his back
to goal. Nicky did a bicycle kick, "that's going over", I thought, but
instead it cleared the goalkeeper and a defender on the line, to tuck in
just below the bar and inside the post. Cue utter madness and a sea of
Yellow jumping up and down and screaming with delight! I was so pleased
for Nicky, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I've been very
impressed with his commitment, skill and work rate this season. So
utterly deserved. Usually I lift my scarf above my head while
celebrating, this time it was my son Paul who was lifted and he had my
scarf above his head. I couldn't believe it! What a fabulous goal!
Watford's first ever goal at Wembley, scored in magnificent style. This
was one of the best goals scored at Wembley and it was scored by the
Then the second half in which Bolton had more of the possession but we
kept hitting them on the break, a bit of a reversal of the first half.
This was forty-five minutes of nail biting drama. On 89 minutes Kennedy broke
on the left with Smart making a run on the right with only one Bolton
defender between them. Kennedy curled the ball around the defender into
the path of the advancing Alan Smart who smacked it first time, low and
hard into the corner of the net. 2-0 to the Golden Boys, more jubilant
scenes. Paul let out a such a scream of delight, a real lung full of
volume from such a young lad and then seeing 35,000-plus fans going
completely bonkers, I was in heaven.
Knowing that very recently Man Utd and Man City scored two goals in
injury time, the last few minutes passed very nervously, and I was willing the final whistle. Lightning may
very occasionally strike twice, but three times? NO! The final whistle,
Watford in the Premiership, 35,000-plus jubilant raving nutcases dressed
in Yellow jumping up and down. Half of Wembley disappeared while the
Yellow half stayed to watch the Mighty Hornets lift the trophy and
perform a lap of honour. The best day of my life? I think so!
On our way home we passed some Bolton fans who were standing and
applauding Watford fans as they walked by, a nice gesture, I thought.
As for my Son, he's now a Hornet till he dies.