15th December 2007- Championship, Watford 0 Plymouth Argyle 1

This was the first game played after Watford’s Sierra Leonean midfielder Al Bangura had his application for leave of stay in the UK turned down.  He was initially cleared to stay in early 2007 but the Home Office appealed the decision on a legal technicality and won meaning Bangura would have to return to his homeland which he’d fled when he was just 15.

The club organised a protest against the decision at half time during the game against Plymouth.  Al himself addressed the crowd alongside the then Watford chairman Graham Simpson, and Watford MP Claire Ward.  Four days later the Home Office announced Bangura would be allowed to stay whilst he appealed against the decision and applied for a work permit.

On 14th January 2008 he was awarded the work permit and allowed to remain in the UK.

BBC imageBangura loses deportation hearing

Watford lost their place at the top of the Championship after David Norris’s 89th-minute winner earned Plymouth three vital points at Vicarage Road.

guardian Watford player to be deported, asylum tribunal rules

Norris strikes and Argyle add to Boothroyd’s blues

BHappy image Matt Rowson’s thoughts on the home office decision not to allow Al Bangura leave of stay in the UK.

5 thunks from the Plymouth game.

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12th December 2017- Premier League, Crystal Palace 2 Watford 1

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-23-36-22clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary  Goal: 1

Watford Observer

RELIVE – Crystal Palace vs Watford: James McArthur strikes at the death as Eagles stun Hornets late on

Watford pay price for failure to score second goal as Crystal Palace claim dramatic victory

Watford boss blames failure to score more than once after shock Crystal Palace defeat

Crystal Palace vs Watford ratings: Daryl Janmaat and Richarlison on song as Hornets slump to Premier League loss

Watford boss Marco Silva looking for ruthlessness from players after Cyrstal Palace loss

BBC SportManager Roy Hodgson said Crystal Palace’s problems are far from over despite two late goals in a dramatic win over Watford moving them out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season.

skyCrystal Palace moved off the bottom and out of the Premier League relegation zone with a sensational late rally to see off 10-man Watford 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

guardianNow Crystal Palace have hope. How could they not when after spluttering in arrears for almost the entire match, blunted and diminished by an imposing Watford team, they still plucked an improbable win from the jaws of defeat?

TelegraphIf Saturday’s agonising draw with Bournemouth had left Crystal ­Palace feeling like two points had slipped through their fingers, then here were three that had been ­conjured out of nothing. 

FranThe game started brilliantly for the Hornets as Richarlison crossed for Janmaat to head home to give the visitors the lead in the third minute.  The Dutchman threatened the Palace goal again soon after, but his cross was too close to Speroni.  Watford looked sure to score their second on 10 minutes after Carrillo found Richarlison, but the shot was headed off the line by Tomkins.

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9th December 2017- Premier League, Burnley 1 Watford 0

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Watford Observer

Burnley v Watford live blog: Hornets beaten after Zeegelaar first-half red card at Turf Moor

Marvin Zeegelaar sent off as Watford are beaten at Burnley

Burnley boss Sean Dyche queries offside calls in victory over former club Watford

Watford boss Marco Silva labels Marvin Zeegelaar’s red card at Burnley a ‘harsh decision’

Christian Kabasele says Watford must ‘find a solution’ to break down teams like Burnley

Burnley v Watford ratings: Christian Kabasele on form but few other plus points from Clarets defeat

BBC Sport Watford head coach Marco Silva said Marvin Zeegelaar’s red card was “harsh, harsh, harsh, harsh”, after Scott Arfield’s first-half goal gave Burnley victory over the Hornets.

sky Burnley 1-0 Watford: Scott Arfield scores after Marvin Zeegelaar red

guardianIf revenge is a dish best served cold, a snowy Turf Moor was an ideal location. Sean Dyche began a managerial career of underappreciated overachievement in charge of Watford against Burnley

TelegraphSix minutes of commotion, devilment and enterprise at the end of the first period ultimately proved decisive in this ferociously competitive contest.

FranAs I walked towards the ground, I was amazed to see someone setting up a stall selling Burnley/Watford half-and-half scarves.  Who on earth did he think would buy one?

The Hornets NestMy record in the North West began back in 2005, as Watford travelled to Anfield for the Carling Cup semi-final 1st leg. I remember my dad coming to pick me up from school and using the excuse of ‘dentist appointment’ as my reason for leaving early.  That was 12 years ago. And since then (before yesterday’s Burnley match) I had seen us play in that region a total of 21 times, won 0, drawn 3 and lost 18.

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2nd December 2017- Premier League, Watford 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-23-36-22 clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:

Watford Observer

Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur live: Hornets held to draw as Davinson Sanchez sees red for Spurs

Watford unable to make most of extra man against Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur yet to decide whether to appeal Davinson Sanchez sending off at Watford

Marco Silva has no doubts about big incidents from Watford’s draw with Tottenham Hotspur

Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur ratings: Abdoulaye Doucoure and Tom Cleverley on form in Premier League draw

BBC SportTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says his side will learn from “suffering things against us” after Spurs drew against Watford.

sky Tottenham were forced to settle for a point at Watford after coming from behind and then having Davinson Sanchez sent off in a feisty 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road. 

guardian What conclusions should be drawn from this bracing encounter between two teams determined to give no quarter? Was it two points dropped for Spurs as their run without a Premier League win extended to four matches? Or was it a point earned, after being forced to play most of the second half with 10 men? For Watford, should they have taken greater advantage of the dismissal of Davinson Sánchez in the 52nd minute? Or had they proven they can go toe to toe with the big teams and compete?

TelegraphIt is rare that a referee gets booed off the pitch by both sets of fans, but Martin Atkinson managed to upset the supporters of Watford and Tottenham at the end of a hard-fought draw in which the visitors had to play almost 40 minutes with ten men.

BHappy image Football isn’t supposed to be played in the summer,   that’s the maxim.  It’s a winter sport.  The mental image of condensation on your breath, scarves and hats, cups of bovril, stamping your feet to keep warm is a romantic one, the clichéd “can they hack it on a December midweek in Stoke” a derisive put-down to your fancy dan foreign types.  They can’t, is the implication.  Not being British obviously makes them inferior because they don’t make them tough wherever it is that they’re from whereas we’ve done it.  We’ve been to Stoke midweek, braved the elements and the parking and the food, and we’re tougher for it.  It’s still bollocks though.  Cold isn’t fun, cold and wet less so.  This is, admittedly, an intro that could have been more aptly stored up until Stoke away midweek in January… but the elements were an overriding consideration today as the clammy damp chill clung to your cheeks and any attempt to make a noise was muffled by suffocating condensation.  It was Spurs at home, a vitriolic bad-tempered affair typical of this fixture, and yet the atmosphere had none of Tuesday’s bravado.  Damp, cold.  Slightly sullen.

FranWhile we really should have had a last minute penalty, a draw was a fair result and I would certainly have taken a point before the game.  To be disappointed with a draw against Tottenham shows how far we have come and it was a very entertaining game.  We have played all of the top six now and have only been outplayed by Manchester City.  It will be a tough trip to Burnley next week, but the Premier League is finally a fun place for Watford fans and that is something to relish.

The Hornets Nest A cross from Richarlison from the left smacked the outstretched arm of Dier in the penalty area. 18,000 Watford fans cried “HANDBALL!” in unison along with the 11 players on the pitch. It was blatant and clear for all to see, unfortunately the only people who didn’t spot the offence were the officials.

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28th November 2017- Premier League, Watford 2 Manchester United 4

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-23-36-22clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:  1    2

Watford Observer

Watford battle back but victorious Manchester United punish mistakes to triumph

Marco Silva says ‘nervous’ Watford gifted Manchester United three-goal lead but praises Hornets’ chracter

Watford v Manchester United: Mourinho says ‘pressure-free’ Hornets could afford to go for broke

Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo should have been sent off, says Watford boss Marco Silva

Watford v Manchester United: Marco Silva says Jose Mourinho’s comments ‘harsh’ after defeat

Manchester United loss the product of poor first half, says Watford’s Marvin Zeegelaar

Watford vs Manchester United ratings: Troy Deeney and Andre Carrillo impress from the bench but defence struggles

BBC Sport Manchester United “should have been smoking cigars” in their Premier League victory over Watford, manager Jose Mourinho said.

sky Ashley Young scored two superb goals before Manchester United held off a second-half Watford fightback to win 4-2 at Vicarage Road in the Premier League.

guardian United had looked like running away from Watford as Ashley Young enjoyed an early festive return to Vicarage Road, scoring two lovely goals. The home team never gave up though, dragging it back to 3-2 before Jesse Lingard took the game away with a sublime late fourth goal, weaving his way from his own half to finish in front of a delirious away end.

TelegraphIt was already a strange night’s football by the time that Mourinho came in post-match to analyse a game in which his team had taken a three-goal lead within 31 minutes only almost to throw it all away in the second half when Watford claimed two of their own. This briefly looked like the worst nightmare for a manager whose speciality was once that his teams knew how to shut the door as well as any other, and it took Jesse Lingard to score a brilliant fourth to seal it.

FranIt all started so well.  The Hornets had an early chance as Femenía hit a cross that Richarlison was just unable to reach.  The Brazilian was the next to try a cross, but it was caught by De Gea.  A corner from Cleverley was met by the head of Zeegelaar, but the effort was blocked.  Somewhat against the run of play, the visitors took the lead in the 19th minute with a gorgeous shot from Young that curled in at the near post.  He celebrated in front of the Watford fans, which incurred the wrath of many in the Rookery meaning that his every touch was booed from that moment on. 

The Hornets Nest X-Factor finalists Rak-Su performed at half time and after asking “Watford how we feeling?!”, which one can only assume was rhetorical (no one is that dumb, right?), the question got the response (or rather lack of) that it deserved.

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25th November 2017- Premier League, Newcastle United 0 Watford 3

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-23-36-22clips of Jon Marks BBC 3CR commentary   Goals:  1   2   3

Watford Observer

Newcastle United v Watford live blog: Hornets cap long trip to Newcastle with a second-straight win

Will Hughes and Andre Gray on target as Hornets seal comfortable Premier League win

In Pictures: Watford record fourth away win of season at Newcastle United

‘We could have had more’ says Marco Silva after superb win

Marvin Zeegelaar on song in Premier League win

Watford’s Andre Gray accepts his finishing was below-par in Premier League win over Newcastle United

BBC Sport Watford condemned Newcastle to a fourth straight defeat with a comfortable away win at St James’ Park.

sky Watford swept aside an out-of-form Newcastle with a 3-0 victory at St James’ Park in the Premier League on Saturday.

guardian Marco Silva is turning into such a hot managerial property he should probably be handled with oven gloves.

TelegraphIf there is anyone who has failed to grasp why Marco Silva’s reputation as a manager soars, take a look at Watford clinically dismantling Newcastle and pause for a moment to consider how easy they made it look.

BHappy imageHow times have changed.  Not just in that we come up to St.James’ Park and win, not just that such a win isn’t a smash and grab or a massive shock in itself, though both of those are remarkable.  The truly monumental thing is that we can come here and not play that well, actually, and win 3-0.

FranThe walk to St James’s Park is all uphill, but that is just the appetiser before the trek up to Level 7.  As we climbed, there were posters warning about the dangers and penalties for pyrotechnics.  One dire warning suggested that you could end up in A&E.  I was concerned that the walk to the gods was more likely to send me there.

The Hornets Nest As I was travelling home it was revealed that we would be featured first on Match of the Day, an incredibly rare occurrence after a Watford victory.  Unfortunately for me, Newcastle was so far away from my flat that I wouldn’t make it back in time for the start of the show.

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