From time to time we get asked to contribute a few FTRE thoughts for a Guardian website feature. This month, Mike, along with fans from every Championship club, was asked to contribute a Half Term Report on the Hornets season so far.
Here’s what he had to say:
Season in one word
Turbulent. (Isn’t it always?)
How’s it going?
It all started so well. Goals were flying in all over the place (we beat Bournemouth 6-1 and Barnsley 5-1) and we were seemingly making a mockery of the post play-off hangover theories. Goals have continued to be bountiful in Watford fixtures, but recently, they have almost exclusively been scored by the opposition. Gifting Sheffield Wednesday an early Christmas present, their first away win and first clean sheet of the season proved to be too much for the head coach, and the Zolacoaster came to a shuddering halt. The loss to the Owls was the fifth home defeat in a row and the fourth consecutive game without a Watford goal, so whilst Zola’s resignation was disappointing, it was far from a shock to most. The new head coach, Giuseppe Sannino, has plenty of work to do if he is going to turn this season round.
Who’s been the star?
The Pozzo Family (Watford’s owners) promised supporters that if attendances hit a certain level, they would tear down the redundant, unusable relic of an East Stand and replace it with a shiny new structure. No sooner had Vicarage Road crowds averaged at the magic number, the bulldozers moved in and work began. After numerous false dawns and aborted projects, owners delivering on this particular promise is genuine cause for celebration. Gianfranco Zola handled his resignation with typical class, and his heartfelt open letter to supporters ensured he will be remembered for last year’s fun instead of this year’s funk.
Since work finally began on the East Stand, our form has evaporated. One can only assume we’ve disturbed some sort of ancient burial ground, or activated a curse placed on us by L*t*n fans. This is obvious as concerning as it is disappointing. The biggest let-down however, is that we haven’t been able to push on from last year, and that after such excitement and promise, we’re now going backwards. It all feels a bit ‘so near yet so far’ at the moment.
All we want for Christmas is…
Initially, we’d love to unwrap some sparkling, fresh linen. That’s right Santa, clean sheets are top of our list. If we can stop leaking goals, confidence will grow and build, and that’s when the talent in this squad should start to shine through. If we may be so bold as to add another thing to our list (we’ve been good boys and girls, we promise) could we ask that the new manager is a success? He’s filling some big shoes (metaphorically at least) and is up against it. If Father Christmas could ensure that his appointment proves to be another Pozzo masterstroke, I’ll happily withdraw my request for a PlayStation 4.