Our most recent game – which feels like months ago, not merely 18 days – saw us beat the league leaders. Utterly. Definitively. Superlatives flowed as effortlessly as, um, wine, in describing a performance that humbled a previously unbeaten side. This one, if anything, was better.
An extremely unusual event preceded Watford’s Premiership match with Wigan on Wednesday. Minutes before kick-off injured Watford striker Marlon King wandered on to the Vicarage Road pitch and, microphone in hand, made an impassioned appeal to the club’s supporters.
We really ought to have won it, obviously, yet never quite did enough to turn theory into fact. Not the first time and probably not the last either, and it says much about the division that we can make a habit of such indecision while comfortably maintaining a position just below the playoffs. When we take our chances, we’re capable of being a frightening side; much more often, we’re poised on the brink, unable to make the leap. That’s all right, mind: such potential, even unrealised, is a great and unexpected improvement after recent struggles. People booed this, but they’re the people who’d do the same even if we’d hit the woodwork seventeen times, had nine realistic penalty appeals refused, three perfectly good goals disallowed, forced the keeper into an endless series of miracles, and had a shot cleared from a yard over the line. With nine men. In this instance, we were some way short of that, clearly. Some way short of previous seasons’ atrocities too, though.
BSAD report:Police vans are parked all along Vicarage Road, and the stadium is blocked off completely to contain trouble at the Red Lion corner. We retreat to avoid the rising tension among the gathering crowd behind the police line, taking a safer route around the allotments. We arrive, entering the Rookery to see a mob from the away end marauding in front of the lower Rous. The atmosphere is poisonous. The mob surges, recedes, surges again, bored by the lack of resistance. A lone lunatic attempts to jump into the Rous near the halfway line to fight, taking no notice of the children around his chosen target; the corner flag is used as a missile; someone takes a kicking; a group of self-appointed moral defenders charges up the touchline from the Rookery to take on the invaders. It’s madness. There are no police inside the ground.