GT’s last home game in charge.
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.
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.
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.