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01/02: Reports:

Nationwide Division One, 06/04/02
Sheffield United
Here comes the summer
By Pete Fincham

This was yet another joke of a performance. It was truly horrible. But still people applauded the team off!

What has got to happen before the applause stops after such rubbish?

The last time Watford lost 3-0 at home (15/3/94 - yes, 1994) the Directors Box was stormed. I am not sure if there was anyone left in the Directors Box at the end of this horribly shocking game; but if there was, it was not a representation of the rest of the ground. For the last fifteen minutes, the exodus from much of the Lower and Upper Rous, and indeed many areas of the Rookery, distracted from the desperate final salvos on the pitch. It was certainly more eventful.

The true feeling of fans will not necessarily be found in this article, or on WML, or on the messageboards. It will not be found in the fact that I found myself having a very vocal argument with one of my friends with about ten minutes to go. It will be seen in the fact that several thousand people with tickets for the game did not turn up; that even more people had left with a sixth of the game still to go. Ultimately, it will be seen in the fact that we will be lucky to get two thirds of this term's season ticket holders renewing next year.

The applause for Robert Page, returning to his spiritual home, was a worthy tribute to a great club servant. It was noticeable that he did not gloat at the ease with which United scored all three of their goals, but I bet he was pissing himself as he walked down the tunnel and into the away dressing room. I also bet he was wondering quite why he was forced out of the club.

Of all the signings made over the close season purge, only one of them started. Quite why McNamee was once again on the bench at the expense of (delete as appropriate, depending on which side of bed Vialli emerges from) Glass/Cook is something I cannot quite fathom. Quite why Webber is at Watford for a few weeks when he has just been offered a three year contract by Man United, and assured of fourth choice status when Yorke leaves over the summer, I cannot quite fathom. Quite why we have two players out on loan in Division Two who are promising centre backs, and yet once again we featured two full backs in varying centre-back positions, I cannot quite fathom. Quite why players are brought in and out of favour without, it seems, any rhyme or reason, I cannot fathom. Noble against Stockport, Fisken today. Against Portsmouth I expect to see Baardsen given a run up front with Hand tried out in defence.

The players are given no sense of team stability, and are lacking in direction from the manager when it comes to their individual role within the side. Chamberlain and Okon are the only two who know what their roles are. For the rest of the team, there is clearly a lack of direction, and lack of any clear understanding about where they should be, and what they should do with the ball. That is down to the manager.

This is not really a match report but a rant about the rubbish that we have witnessed for so much of this season - because simply there was not much of a match to report on. The Stockport match was a very, very low point to the season, but to lose by three goals at home today, for the second time this season, when it had not previously happened in the league for eight years, against a side with three missing through suspension after the "Battle of Brammal Lane" against WBA, was simply inexcusable.

The summer cannot come quickly enough.