We haven’t mentioned Graham Taylor yet, have we? The club’s ceremony for the great man and his newly-named stand is beautifully concise and perfectly judged: a guard of honour made of former players and staff, a presentation, a short speech, and that’s enough to cause most of us of a certain age to get a little misty-eyed.
Win, lose or draw – and it turned out to be the middle option for Watford, you could argue Slavisa Jokanovic was a winner just for being on the touchline. In the previous two international breaks, Watford’s owners changed managers but the Serb survived this most recent break.
Derby were every bit as good as advertised, and whatever our mistakes or limitations it should be borne in mind that we still fashioned enough opportunities to have beaten lesser sides – indeed we’ve played if not worse then certainly as badly as this and won on several occasions this season.
The 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of World War One was commemorated at this game. Our change shirt for the season was based on our kit from 1914 and was worn specially at the game. Before kick off The Last Post was played followed by two minutes silence which turned into applause during which all those in the Rookery Stand held up foil banners to make an enormous display of a poppy on a black and white background.
Martyn Woolford had fired the visitors into an early lead, but Matej Vydra equalised before Daniel Tozser gave the Hornets the lead shortly before the interval. Slavisa Jokanovic’s men were largely comfortable in the second half and made sure of the points when Gianni Munari netted a third.
So perhaps stability doesn’t equal success after all. Watford may be on their fourth manager of the season but they are also on top of the Championship after coming from behind to win and maintain Slavisa Jokanovic’s unbeaten start as the latest incumbent of the home dugout.
It’s been a little while since I was last here; the usual excuses apply. I’ve missed two managers in that time…but if I’m honest, I’ve quietly enjoyed our little spell as the division’s in-joke. No better way to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come under these owners than to wipe the egg from our faces and have a look in the mirror; the in-joke within the in-joke is that far from being the next basket-case to trouble When Saturday Comes’ “Clubs in Crisis” page, we appear to be thoroughly good shape. The point is emphasised by the pre-match remembrance display, indicative of an administration that’s doing significantly more than the bare minimum and is being solidly backed by fans as a consequence. (That’s hardly the main purpose, of course, but there’s no shame in feeling proud of good intentions.)