View from afar
By Mark Child
The view from afar. (No one else to share this with here, so I'm sharing it with you.)
Nail-biting stuff. The prospect of a return to the top flight (where we all secretly know we belong).
Just ninety minutes away from next season (forgetting about extra time and penalties...but Aidy had us practising penalties, didn't he? So even that should be okay). What's it to be? Another more than respectable season in the Championship...or...?
Just one hurdle. The once mighty LUFC. Dirty, yes, but we finished above them didn't we, so...we should be okay.
Shouldn't we? (Please.)
Living in Bangkok's fine, but it's hot (far too hot) and the only Championship action readily available is ESPN's "Goals!" programme on cable TV, that only shows Premiership and Championship...er...goals.
None of the channels available here on cable were showing the game (ESPN, Star Sports, etc.) and it looked like I might have to watch it on Thai Channel 3, delayed by an hour for some reason. That would have been rough. Not so much the Thai commentary, but the temptation to listen to the game live on the BBC via the Internet would have been too great (and I really wanted to see it, having only been able to listen to the game on the radio last time we were in this position).
Some of the Thai web forums (which for some reason seem to be populated entirely by Peacocks supporters) suggested a few bars in Bangkok with satellite would be showing the game live on a South African station. So, an hour before kick-off, it was a trek around various bars (well, only two actually, but the heat made it seem more) before finding a Leeds supporter and his Blades mate who knew where it was being shown. Thirty minutes and two Beer Changs later, my "Watford for the night, it's an six easy points next season" ManU-supporting mate turned up (he's from Salisbury and has been living in Bangkok for ten years, so he's perfectly qualified to be a ManU supporter!).
Quick taxi down Sukhumvit to the Robin Hood and we were set. Did I mention it was hot? Of course, my AC Milan-stylee short-sleeved away shirt from many seasons ago (complete with an obligatory No. 8 on the back, and appropriately placed "WE" and "LUTON") just wouldn't cut it. It had to be gold! So it was out with the long-sleeved home shirt, which just made it even hotter.
I'll leave match reports to others (better qualified than me, who might actually have seen the team play in the flesh once or twice over the last couple of seasons - it's a bit of a trek for me!), but it was magic. Exciting, nail-biting, fantastic, buttock-clenching, but great.
The whistle blew at 9:00pm (local time) and Leeds really never looked like they were trying (the Leeds supporter sitting next to me agreed). I expected it to be harder. And the state of the pitch!
A couple of decent attempts and then the first goal. Fantastic! The second goal was a bit bizarre, but two-nil! Come on Watford. Keep it together. Don't blow it now. Not now. Please. (Had a few bad memories for a minute there.)
And then the penalty. Three-nil. Four minutes of added time (it was four, wasn't it? It seemed like forever ... I was still worried we might blow it. Crazy at that stage, I know). And then it was over. Wasn't it? Was it the beer? Was it a dream? No ... we won!
Hard to believe. We're in the Premiership. Again.
I hope I can get back maybe just once to see us play next season. In the Premiership! (Sorry to repeat myself, but it sounds so good!)
I was going to add, "It makes up for all the disappointments" (whoops, I just did), but there aren't any disappointments. At all. Ever. We did it. We're a Premiership team (again!)
I may not be the most consistent supporter (on and off since the early seventies, on the way down as much - probably more - than on the way up), but it goes with the territory. You get born in Derby Road, you don't get much choice. You're Watford till you die.
Here's hoping Aidy's dream of Europe comes true!