By Richard Holmes
We won it before kick-off. I was watching on TV with my (Manchester United supporting, but I'm hoping to convert...) American boss here in Virginia. I was fortunate that my next-door neighbour has a satellite dish so I could pay her to subscribe to Setanta Sports for a month - and get all three games live.
They showed the players faces in the tunnel before going out. I was looking closely at their faces to see any signs of nerves. Before the first leg at Palace, I thought we won the game with the rugby style 'psych out', when the players lined up and watched the Palace players do their huddle. It sent a very clear message of intent. I felt (and hoped) that some of the Leeds players looked a little uneasy. There was no doubt, the Watford players were most definitely up for it.
As the players emerged, the roar of the fans, the music and the fireworks was just amazing. The cameras concentrated on the Leeds players walking onto the pitch. Bang, a firework went off, and two Leeds players jumped. That was it. We had the edge. The Leeds players were just too on edge. With that, I was very confident we had won before we had even kicked off.
The game itself is described elsewhere. But getting to half-time ahead was important. And getting the penalty. This must be the first penalty we have had in years that I have felt a hundred percent confident. Watching Darius step up, knowing this kick would put us in the Premier League. Wonderful.
This is my second three-year spell in the US. In some ways I don't think I have missed too much Watford 'stuff'. I was fortunate to see the last Premier season in 2000 just prior to leaving. I had one year back in Watford - that glorious 2003/04 season. This was sandwiched between the two cup semi-finals, the only real occasions I feel I have missed. Until this. Watching the fans celebrate at the end made me very homesick. Knowing my parents and sister and some of my best friends were among them. I love my life here, but just occasionally I long to be home for occasions like that. Just to remind myself of my life here, when the TV feed finished I took some cold beers and went onto the nearby beach to celebrate - by myself.
Later on in the day I went onto Teamtalk's website to get the latest news and comments. I presumed we'd still be listed in the Championship section. But no, they we were under the Premiership. I couldn't help a laugh. It's really happened (again).