Monthly Archives: April 2000

29th April 2000- Premier League, Watford 2 Manchester United 3

Just the reserves, of course. No Cole, Scholes, Beckham, Keane or Stam, and Yorke sunning himself on the bench until half-time. Nothing to play for, the Championship and relegation issues resolved last week. A stroll in the April sunshine. Except that this is Manchester United, and you’re playing a brandname as much as a football team. A victory means something, regardless of who happens to be representing the multinational plc this week. They’ve made it that way, not us…but it’s still brilliant, still a reminder of what English football will lose when the Champions League makes games like this a thing of the past.

This – for those of you not there, you poor wanderers – was a heart-stopping game, not as visceral and energising as last week’s pulsating kickaround, but liberating in a different way. It was helped no end by the remarkable even-handedness of the referee, something which shouldn’t elicit comment but these days does, and which riled champions who arrogantly, complacently expect special treatment by right. So at least we were in with a shout, playing eleven against eleven. Just like at Anfield all those months ago, we could only beat the guys they put in front of us. Or so we thought for half a blissful hour.

23rd April 2000- Premier League, Watford 2 Arsenal 3

Brief highlights from the Premier League website

Really, this made no sense whatsoever. A spewed, skewed mess of a football match, mercilessly thrilling throughout. Goals, misses, controversy, aggression, mistakes, mayhem. The thunderstorm that clattered around during the second half, blackening the skies except for occasional sharp flashes of lightning, could hardly have been more appropriate – this was furious, elemental stuff.

Oh what the hell, the season’s run-in is upon us – this is the batch of games we looked at from afar and thought, oh God, please don’t let us need the points from these games to stay up, please let us be sorted by then. And you know something? We don’t. And we are. So let’s party like last year was 1999, and next year we’ll be back in this division, this league, this wretched pandemic loadsamoney pissing contest…and we can send GT out on a high.

15th April 2000- Premier League, Southampton 2 Watford 0
Sunday Telegraph, 16 Apr 2000
Observer, 16 Apr 2000

BSAD: We actually played rather well here. For four minutes. The problem being that our defence is once again so fragile that we give ourselves the smallest chance. The seconds tick by before the inevitable self-destruction and consequent confidence crash, the only hope being that we can score in the meantime. So you can blame Micah Hyde for his first minute miss, slashing wide after a fine move down the left involving Tommy Smith and David Perpetuini. Or you can blame the later errors which made that miss so crucial.

8th April 2000- Premier League, Watford 0 Derby County 0

BSAD image One league, twenty teams, enough hot air to keep Richard Branson in world record attempts for the rest of his life.

So what have we discovered on our year-long fact-finding mission? What will we tell our Nationwide chums upon our return? That it’s quite impossible for clubs of our size to survive in the top flight? That there’s a gap so great that it can never be bridged without the help of either massive resources or Kevin Phillips? That there’s no point in even trying?

Not really. As long as the Premiership remains at its current size, it will contain enough guff ‘n’ nonsense for a club of our stature – and, more importantly, our strength – to scrap towards the forty point mark.

English Premier LeagueTable ยป
Bradford City1-2Southampton
Leicester City1-1Everton
Watford0-0Derby County
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1st April 2000- Premier League, Everton 4 Watford 2

Sunday Telegraph, 2 Apr 2000
Independent, 3 Apr 2000

BSAD: Relegation is imminent, even more so with Derby winning as I write this. Bottom of the league, without an away win to reward our journeys since August. Losing weakly in a game that, once more, we needed to win. To the outside world, we’ve nothing whatsoever to sing about…but we’re on our feet, heads held high, chanting “THERE’S ONLY ONE GRAHAM TAYLOR” while our hosts look on in silent bewilderment.

BSAD: Entering the quaint, wooden warren of an away area, add “Z Cars” and it was almost like being back in the East stand. But this was not to be an old-skool, vintage Watford performance – our good form evaporated and, as so often this season, we contrived to be just about worse than lacklustre opposition.