QPR now sit 19th in the Championship, a long way from Watford who, after a seventh home league game without a win, are on the slide. The manager, Aidy Boothroyd, is trying to quell talk of a crisis but the captain, Jay DeMerit, admits the club’s hopes of going straight back into the Premier League are fragile. “We are a little bit nervous at home – it feels as though there is more pressure,” he said. “A team that is near the top of the table should be winning at home. Our jobs aren’t safe; we have to play well in order to keep them.”
Watford started Boxing Day on top of the table yet the growing dissatisfaction around Vicarage Road suggested anything but; by the evening they were second. Jobi McAnuff’s volleyed equaliser, scored so deep into injury-time that the Cardiff City manager, Dave Jones, called foul play, could only paper over the cracks for a side whose home form is rapidly undermining their title credentials.
We remain painfully easy to play against at Vicarage Road, as revealed by yet another committed but mediocre side. A bit of guile in the transfer window, whether permanent or on loan, appears essential.
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.