It’s really not the old Wembley, is it? True, the old Wembley smelt of sour tramp when you got up close and it felt as though it might just fall down if everyone jumped at once…but not even the stale piss of a dozen generations could hide the essential romance of the place, the sense of that-happened-over-there history. This…well, it has the moneyed sheen and efficiency of an airport departure lounge. Any idiosyncrasies have been firmly ironed out by committee, any dark corners where you might be able to scratch your name for those who follow have been illuminated by an artful downlight. All trace of this game will have been wiped clean by the time you read this.
“Anything is possible.” It’s the best phrase of the day, undoubtedly. And it comes from, if you like, the best man. Anything is possible. Not anything’s possible, a shrug of the shoulders to say that, hey, it just might rain five pound notes tomorrow. That’s not Adrian Boothroyd. No, take out the apostrophe: anything is possible. A defiant, substantial statement of intent. A summary of the man, perhaps.
You’re not taking it all in. Not really. You can’t. And why should you? The events you’ve just witnessed don’t happen to lowly Watford. You’re standing in someone else’s dreamland, a fantasy world of yellow and red confetti – delight, delirium and disbelief are the dominant emotions.
Kevin Blackwell could never have imagined the implications of his coach Adrian Boothroyd joining Watford last year. After little more than 14 months in charge the man whose appointment was greeted by supporters at Vicarage Road with concern, bewilderment and general unease yesterday etched his name in the club’s history and confirmed his status as one of the brightest young managers in English football when he secured promotion to the Premiership at the expense of his former mentor.
If you care, then this is for you. If you froze your privates off at Torquay in the Auto Windscreen Shield, then this is for you. If you kept the faith when it seemed that nothing but oblivion awaited us, then this is for you. If you’re one of the hundreds of exiles, physically far afield but heart forever abandoned in the lost property at Vicarage Road, then this is for you. If you’re as helplessly in love with this wonderful team as I am, then this is for you. Victory at Wembley, Watford in the Premiership. For all of us.
Last night is incomprehensible, even with the aid of a notebook. Just absolutely gargantuan. My brain is currently refusing to process all the information for fear of overload, but my heart knows the score. Which is probably why I nearly started crying when we appeared on the news this morning – one of those moments when realisation hits, and you can do nothing but crumple. This may not be the most coherent report I’ve ever written.
The away goals rule was dropped from applying to the playoffs as a result of this game.