Whatever your reaction, to Javi’s departure, it’s surely not surprise. As countless pub-bore pundits have no doubt already reminded you, this is What Watford Do. (One might be forgiven for thinking that this is ALL Watford have done, since getting promoted, such is the limited range of opinion of such pundits. Chelsea, Huddersfield, Fulham, Southampton and West Brom have all had three managers during Javi’s Watford reign, incidentally).
Category: Javi Gracia
A lot happened in both the lead up and aftermath of this game so I’ve tried to provide a bit of context which is shown below in bold.
Pre Match Articles
Post Match Articles
Pre Match Articles
Marco Silva: Independent inquiry into Everton’s alleged illegal approach for former Watford boss ongoing
Post Match Articles
After Troy Deeney had appeared to stoke the flames ahead of the encounter at a Watford fans’ forum, Gray made the most of the only moment of real quality in the game when he converted Will Hughes’ cut-back 20 minutes into the second period, scoring his fourth goal of the season.
Gray was a Silva signing early in the Portuguese’s short stay at Vicarage Road, which began in May 2017 and went sour in November that year when he was prevented from going to Goodison. Watford sacked him in January last year amid tapping-up suggestions as their form nosedived. The amiable Javi Gracia took over to restore stability – “he’s better than you” sang the home fans to Silva to emphasise a point backed up by the league table.
Pre Match Report
Post March Report
Before the match, the Watford captain, Troy Deeney, had distanced himself from comments he made at a fans forum this week where he promised to kick Everton’s players. Yet with passions running high in this part of Hertfordshire, as the chief executive, Scott Duxbury, said he would not engage with Silva in the opposition dugout, some supporters greeted their former manager with yellow inflatable snakes.
The Troy Deeney ‘comments’ mentioned above came from a Fan’s Forum which took place in London one evening in the week leading up to the Everton game.
Andy Lewers of the brilliant Hornet’s Nest blog and Love Sport Radio live tweeted what was said by those at the forum. Click on the tweet below to see the whole thread from the evening.
He later provided more details on what was said in a post on facebook.
The media then mis-quoted some of this which led to Silva’s motivation comments. This was how the Evening Standard reported the forum…
Troy addressed the mis-reporting of his comments on the morning of the game
Andy then talked about the controversy in his usual post match blog.
Now, you will no doubt be aware that some of Troy’s comments from the evening were picked up and published in the national media.
Many of you will have read my tweets quoted in the papers. My intention was purely to keep Watford fans who weren’t able to attend the evening up to date with what was going on.
Sadly, some of Troy’s comments were taken out of context. They were tongue-in-cheek, exactly what you’d expect from the Watford captain, there was no malice in anything that he said and you could tell he had genuine respect for Marco Silva and Everton.
I was perhaps naive in thinking that tweeting Troy’s comments wouldn’t have had consequences. Lesson learnt.
To be fair to Silva (not that I really want to be) he told 5 Live’s Vicki Sparks in his post match interview that he hadn’t really believed the reporting of Deeney’s comments and that Troy clarified them when they spoke before the game. (Apologies for the poor audio quality)
The atmosphere in the ground before kick-off was brittle. I must confess that I didn’t notice the widely-celebrated playlist, but there was no missing Emma Saunders’ pointed welcome to the visiting head coach over the tannoy.
As we walked along Vicarage Road away from the ground, we could see something going on by the Everton coaches. There was a crowd by the cemetery wall looking in and first reports were that there had been a stabbing, although that was proved wrong after the game. But two Watford fans were hospitalised, one with a nasty head injury. As someone who started to go to football matches in 1979, these scenes were seen on a weekly basis in those days but had become a rarity in recent times. I really hope that it remains that way.
The trouble mentioned was widely reported.
Thereafter, profligacy rather spared the visitors until Hazard, whipping in a glorious equaliser that dipped under Orestis Karnezis’s outstretched left hand, made it level. Briefly, tantalisingly, Chelsea dared to consider inducing another late Watford implosion but it would be the champions who unravelled. Janmaat, Deulofeu and the substitute Pereyra would each glide into space to drive home their advantage while the majority inside the arena pinched themselves in the giddiness of victory. “It’s difficult to explain how I feel at this moment,” said Gracia. “We needed the three points badly but for motivation and to believe in our possibilities, in our work, today was very important.”
Watford thoroughly deserved to win; a win that takes them six points clear of the relegation zone and halted the alarming run of results that led to the sacking of Marco Silva as head coach. This was Gracia’s first home game in charge and his January signing, fellow Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu, was outstanding in a rampant performance which Chelsea simply could not cope with.
The route home was slightly easier; Dad dropped me at St Albans, I made the train waiting at the platform, grabbed the only cab on the rank at Bedford, home at not-quite-silly’o’clock. And then lay in bed, staring upwards in the dark. For hours. Completely wired.