Month: April 2001

28th April 2001- New Division One, Watford 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

GT’s last home game in charge.

BBC Sport Allan Nielsen, Graham Taylor’s most expensive signing at £2.3m, spared the former England manager’s blushes at his Vicarage Road farewell.  The Danish international popped up in the last minute to head an equaliser but the point salvaged is not enough to keep Watford’s play-off hopes alive.

BSAD image Long ago, the script was written for Graham Taylor’s last match at Vicarage Road. One final wave of galloping attacks to see off already-relegated opponents. One last thumping victory, in the thrilling style of so many before it. Hat-tricks for Tommys Mooney and Smith to celebrate their end-of-season awards for best player and young player respectively. And, in the final minute of injury time, the seventh goal to crown it all, an astonishing, crashing-off-the-crossbar blast from thirty yards by the returning Richard Johnson.

BSAD image He was more what we came to see than a relegated bunch of fighters, and an unquantifiable bunch of mid- to upper-table wanderers who represent what, if not why, he’s leaving behind by retiring. His direction was where we were looking, as a game that barely registers in the mind even this soon after its conclusion played itself into oblivion. When he showed up in the dugout, we asked for a wave, since chanting something along the lines of “Graham, give us a year or two more, we’re worthy, and by the way, thanks for making us all stand apart from whatever crowd we’ve found ourselves in from the age of [your age in 1977] to now” is just unfeasible.

English Division One Table »
Barnsley 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
Birmingham City 1-0 Grimsby Town
Crewe Alexandra 1-3 Preston North End
Crystal Palace 0-2 Wolverhampton Wndrs
Fulham 1-1 Wimbledon
Norwich City 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest 0-1 Gillingham
Queens Park Rangers 0-3 Stockport County
Sheffield United 2-0 Burnley
Watford 1-1 Tranmere Rovers
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Huddersfield Town

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7th April 2001- New Division One, Watford 2 Crystal Palace 2

BSAD image As you’ll know, there’s only one channel worth watching on Saturday morning. It’s ITV, where Ant and Dec’s wonderfully entertaining “SM:TV” manages to be clever, childish and amusing, without slipping into the irritating smugness that spoils the vast majority of yoof TV. That said, anyone who didn’t do a bit of channel-flicking during the cartoons yesterday would’ve missed a classic Graham Taylor moment on the BBC’s (irritatingly smug) “Live & Kicking”….

A football quiz. Two youngsters – one, a fan of Arsenal; the other, a fan of Watford. It being the semi-final of whatever this thing is, there are messages for the contestants. For the Arsenal fan, David Seaman drones his way through a couple of sentences, looking as if someone’s holding a gun to his back. For the Watford fan, GT appears, animated and full of encouragement, with fist clenched and pumping – “Go on, Andrew! You can do it! Go on!”. He gives it some welly, in short.

Why? Because you know that he understands what the message will mean to its recipient. Because it might’ve taken five minutes from his busy schedule…but it’ll be remembered forever by that young lad and, therefore, it should be something that’s worth remembering. Because he’s Graham Taylor. And, more than anything else, you wonder how anyone ever found it in their heart to abuse and be so bloody rude to such a wonderful man.

Inevitably, the Watford fan wins by a country mile. Unfortunately, this isn’t an omen.

English Division One Table »
Fulham 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
Gillingham 4-3 Norwich City
Grimsby Town 3-1 Tranmere Rovers
Portsmouth 0-2 Nottingham Forest
Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Blackburn Rovers
Sheffield United 1-2 Barnsley
Stockport County 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace
Wimbledon 3-1 Birmingham City
Wolverhampton Wndrs 0-1 Huddersfield Town

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3rd April 2001-New Division One, Watford 3 Nottingham Forest 0

BSAD imageBSAD report: When you win, you’re fantastic. The manager is a tactical genius – he knows exactly what to do in every situation, bringing the best from his assortment of astute bargain buys and trusting ex-youth teamers. The players themselves are athletic, finely honed demi-gods, each heroic in the pursuit of the victory. The fans are united, re-affirming their identity and confirming their support from cradle to grave.

BSAD imageBSAD report: Let’s not forget that it was on the very same day (April 3rd) two years ago that we started our memorable unbeaten run which kept going for the remaining eight games of the season.

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