So, we have a time-scale. In a recent interview with the Watford Observer, club owner Laurence Bassini has said that the East stand will be demolished this summer. The last game the dear old structure will see is Watford’s league fixture with Middlesbrough and I don’t mind admitting I’m a little bit sad about it. Regular readers of this column will know that I’m superstitious, well, to add to my list of daft character traits, I’m a bit sentimental too.
I think it’s for this reason that I’m a big of a fan of memorabilia. (I know, I know, superstitious, sentimental, a collector – my partner is one lucky girl!) I like something tangible to go with my memories. It’s why my loft is chock full of programmes, my drawers are stuffed full of tickets from every gig, sporting event or attraction known to man and why my wardrobe is bursting with commemorative t-shirts and replica strips from down the ages. Despite their lack of financial or in many cases aesthetic value, I just can’t let go.
Of course, I have my favourites. I’ve got a tennis ball that Rafa Nadal served with at the Beijing Olympics. I’ve got a scale model of Wembley stadium made out of part of the demolished twin towers. I’ve got a signed photograph of Diego Maradonna. I’ve got a couple of blades of grass from Craven Cottage, plucked from the pitch the day we secured the Second Division title. I’ve got a lock of John Eustace’s hair. OK, the last one isn’t true, but you get the picture.
I think the reason I hang on to all this stuff is that I recognise how precious memories are. For example, how quickly did the fun and games of the Leicester game fade after the the 4-0 pasting at Selhurst Park? Pretty quickly I’ll vouch. Time moves on relentlessly, and all too often it’s easy to forget the moment or those that have past. Of course I’ll be delighted when Vicarage Road is complete – having the only three sided ground in the top two divisions is far from ideal, but I’ll also take time to mourn the passing of the once great East stand – the last part of the ground that saw our meteoric rise up the divisions. We can only hope that whatever replaces it sees as many good times as its predecessor.
Watford in 100 objects: If you have a piece of Watford memorabilia, it could be just the thing for our ‘Watford in 100 objects’ project – a list containing 100 items that define our great football club. If you’ve got something that you think might fit the bill, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.