I thoroughly enjoyed the matchday programme from our little trip across London to Stamford Bridge. The great interview with John Harley, how nicely they spoke about Watford and what we’ve achieved this season, but most of all Tim Lovejoy’s column on the back page. He’s a Chelsea fan who watched Watford a lot when he was growing up. He looks at the club very fondly as gave him, his Dad and spurs sporting brother a chance to watch football together. He talks about how forward thinking Watford were in being a “family club”. It’s how I remember the club when I first started to attending Vicarage Road age 6. I don’t have that feeling anymore and it is the one ace card we have to bring in a wider local football audience. Now I went to school with a LOT of Tim Lovejoys – Arsenal and Spurs fans who like Watford but didn’t call themselves fans. They went to matches as it was their local club and their Dads (and Mum’s) were happy to take them to the environment we had.
If I were Chairman of Watford this is the strategy I would lead the club with. I know there is a lot of work done in the community through the trust, but I don’t think the current ground set up helps encourage families to attend games. I hope that the new East Stand (whenever it arrives) will be set up to focus on the family and be more then a designated area of seats. It needs special areas and facilities to help encourage families – a Family Enclosure. I remember seeing the same families at every game and having a special family room where Dads and kids could socialise before and after the game. Football was the reason we came to games, but we got so much more from it – friendships. I would love for at least part of the East Stand to be a place where not only Watford families can sit together, but also where away families can sit next to them.
There were many friends and families from both sides of on the train from Watford to Euston yesterday, and it’s a fantastic thing to see. I hope Watford can lead the way again and setting the tone for future of families in football.