Once inside the ground, we headed for our usual spot in the Rookery (if not our usual seats). The first notable difference was the big screens which have been added to the Vicarage Road and Rookery Stands. They look very good and should be visible from all areas of the ground. Hopes that Z-cars would be reinstated were cruelly dashed as the players took the field to “I’m Still Standing” and, as has happened at all games since the change, the pulse failed to quicken. I remain baffled at this decision which has no apparent benefit but has been a detriment to the matchday experience for many. Before the game, Rita Taylor and her grandson, Jake, were on the pitch for the minute’s applause for GT. They were then introduced to the players as GT’s favourite song, Buddy Holly’s Raining in my Heart, was played over the tannoy. I must admit to having tears in my eyes at this point.
Watford were held to a goalless stalemate by Real Sociedad on a day which saw Vicarage Road come together to remember the late Graham Taylor. A game of few chances played second fiddle to Taylor, and the occasion will likely be remembered for the emotional scenes before kick-off and during the half-time break rather than the match.
First and foremost, we’re here for GT. There’s yellow everywhere, including in the Rookery where, if the donated tributes get a bit lost the sentiment is evident and a mighty GT banner dominates. And that’s the theme really… what’s important is not the substance, not the what, but the motivation behind it. Everyone… club, supporters, guests… want to do this justice. So there’s all sorts of entertainment going on behind the Rookery by all accounts – and whilst I grouchily resent not being allowed to sit in my seat, let alone my stand for any fixture on this occasion allowances must be made.