In our search for 100 Objects that define Watford Football Club we expected to put in a few Elton John related items. Our first Elton items was suggested by Gary Coster he emailed us:
We have wanted to put a Watford mug into the list and Tim’s mug seems the perfect one to put in. You can see how loved it is from the chip on the rim and the slightly faded paint work. I had contemplated putting in my Dad’s unused Watford mug. I say unused because he had a theory that whenever he didn’t drink out of it Watford won. He never drank out of it and Watford lost, drew and won many, many games. It lived on the top of a kitchen unit in our old house. I have no idea where it is and I hope we didn’t forget about it when we moved out.
We still have a LONG way to go in our list. So if you fancy having a look through your own collections then you may find an object that means a lot to you that you want to put in the Watford in 100 Objects list. Please Email any of your ideas you have to firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and here is the ashtray Tim’s mum got him for Christmas as a child. Back then the Hornet shop couldn’t of had the selection of child friendly merchandise it has today.
This week’s object come from Watford writer Lionel Birnie (who has a new book out – see the bottom of post) and it does mean that we can’t have anymore football boots in our list of Watford in 100 Objects. Well not unless someone else can come up with a better reason to put in different pair.
WFC in 100 Objects – # 11 7-1 Pen
I have a very vivid memory of watching Watford games in the late 80’s. My Dad and I sat in the Family Enclosure with the Vicarage Road scoreboard to our right (that will be another object) and to my left a clock. The clock was in the middle of an advert.
For me wearing 14 different numbered shirts in one season is great on two fronts. Firstly, that it won’t happen again. The Football League brought in squad numbers in 1999 and when they did we lost something in football. We don’t have the ability to refer to a striker as a ‘classic No. 9’ or even look at the away team and have a good idea of how they are going to line up and easily see when they make tactical changes. It’s also a sign that we have huge benches now and the real art of substitutions has gone. With 5 or more players on the bench a manager doesn’t have to worry that much about who he has on his bench, he has many options available.
I’ve already done the red shorts vs black shorts thing. But just a final note on that, beautifully summed up by @DrBillyO – “Black is the fashion option. Red is the Watford option.”
If you pick up a matchday programme this season and go to pages 60-70 you’ll find our From The Rookery End column. We’re very proud of them, but we would have loved for it to be in a square programme from the 1980’s. We had the idea of putting a square programme into the list almost instantly when we thought up this idea, but we wanted it to be a special square programme. So when we got this email from Anthony Packer we knew we’d found the programme that needed to go in.
My suggestion for inclusion is the square programme for the Watford v Arsenal game dated 30 April 1983. The reasoning for this isn’t because we won 2-1, with Barnes and Blissett scoring, but it was the day my sister was born next door to Vicarage Road in Shrodells Hospital. Zoe Louise Packer was not only born weighing 8lb 1oz with brown eyes, but she came into the world the instant Vicarage Road erupted as Watford scored. I managed to track down a programme from that day and bought it for her for Christmas recently.
What a clash of events – the magnificent moment of a baby being born and the jubilation of fans as a goal goes in. I asked Anthony what time Zoe was born, 4:30pm. With a bit of research on the Watford Observer website found out that it was a Luther Blissett penalty that occurred as Zoe was born. Here’s Zoe and Anthony with the programme.
If you’ve got any old square programme, do get it out and have a read. If there are any interesting features or if memories and objects come back to you then please comment below or email us email@example.com. And make sure to pick up a matchday programme this season and have a read of the FTRE page.
I don’t think I give Nigel Callaghan enough credit. As a young Hornets fan my favourites were Jenkins & Blissett, then Barnes appeared and it was all cup runs and Division One. But not long after I made my Vicarage Road debut in 1980, a young Cally was breaking into the Watford first team. And once he was in, he was a pretty consistent feature in Graham Taylor’s side. Even as GT strengthened the side in many areas to try and establish the Hornets as a First Division team, Nigel’s position never seemed under threat. And whilst it was the man on the other wing taking all the plaudits, Cally continued to put in some inviting looking crosses for the strikers, as well as banging in a few goals of his own, some good ones at that, with an unassuming unfussyness.
Now as a young kid you don’t appreciate the nuances of the game. So I can give you no definite reasons as to why I didn’t hold him in the same regard as John Barnes. Don’t get me wrong, he wore that yellow shirt so was still one of the 11 heroes on any given Saturday afternoon. But if there was one thing that may have attributed to it, it was that he didn’t look like a footballer. Luther & Barnes were athletes. Cally looked a bit awkward, a bit unkempt. These days it would probably lead to some sort of Doyley like cult worship!
But like all good things it had to come to an end. And after a falling out with the boss, Nigel found himself on the transfer list. Despite efforts to play his way back into the first team, GT sold him to Derby County in 1987. Cally had a couple of good seasons with the Rams before moving on to Villa and ironically a reunion with the same boss that moved him on from the Hornets. But after Taylor took up the poisoned challis of the England job, Nigel found himself out of favour at Villa Park and fell out of love with the beautiful game.
So what next? He had a ready made talent, but it wasn’t such a smooth transition into his new career as a DJ. By the time Nigel left Watford, most fans knew that he felt as comfortable behind the decks as he did on the football pitch. It had all started by accident. Whilst out with Kenny Jackett at a local event, Kenny’s DJ mate offered Jackett the chance to have a spin. Kenny declined but volunteered Nigel as he was more of a music man. Cally gave it a go, found he liked it and turned it into something of a hobby. He even used his new found prowess to host the odd WFC promoted event under the title “Cally’s Disco”.
When Nigel left Villa he headed out to Corfu for a bit of “me” time and indulge in a few things that he couldn’t when he was a footballer. On his return to the UK, he spent some time training with Millwall, but only found full first-team fitness in time for the holiday season and a return to Greece. Four months playing football in South Africa followed and when that concluded Nigel realised he had a decision to make.
He was reaching his expiry date in football terms and wasn’t being taken seriously as a DJ whilst keeping his football options open. So at this juncture Cally decided to hang up the boots and start wearing the cans as a professional DJ. And that’s what he’s been up to ever since, coming back to our attentions firstly in one of those reality holiday, lets look at a load of Brits endearing themselves to the locals, television programmes; and more recently with his involvement with the former players association and his benefit game as he fought against bowel cancer.
So credit where credit’s due. The man has certainly earned it.
Here’s a challenge for you:
Can you name all the shirt sponsors Watford have ever had? You have to do it in two minutes or less?
Don’t cheat, and when your two minutes are up you can look at the answers at the bottom of this post. ready? GO!!
The first one on your list should have been – IVECO. Sponsors started to appear on football shirts in the 70’s. The first ever shirt sponsor was Jägermeister in 1973, wore by West German team Eintracht Braunschweig. Kettering Town were the first English team to have a go in 1976, but the FA threatened to fine them if they kept it. The FA changed their mind on the subject in June 1977 so clubs were free to have a logo on their shirt. However, it wasn’t until 1979 that Liverpool became the first Football League club to wear a sponsor. So why wait until 1982 for Watford to get a sponsor? In 1981-82 promotion season the club had been approached to carry a sponsor, but Graham Taylor was quoted to have said, “We’re not prepared to prostitute ours shirts”. It was probably a sentiment of many football traditionalist around that time, but even back then the commercial pressures were growing and clubs had to take on the lucrative sponsorship deals that only continued to grow and grow with the expansion of TV exposure.
IVECO are a commercial vehicle company that is part of the Fiat group and whose UK headquarters is above Watford Junction. Their locality was probably a large big part of the deal coming about. It was believed to be worth £400,000 and lasted for three season between 1982-1985. As pointed out to us by Lionel Birnie, author “Enjoy The Game. Watford Football Club, The Story of the Eighties”:
“You could take your replica shirt to the Hornet Shop and ask them to iron on the IVECO letters. The thing was, the letters were in one size and designed for the players’ shirts, so when they put them on my little nine year old’s shirt they completely swamped the front.”
A truck company isn’t a glamourous sponsor, but they were our first and the reason they are going into our Watford in 100 Objects list. They were the company name the Hornets wore during our first ever season in Division 1, on our only trips into Europe and in the 1984 FA Cup Final. Hey, maybe they were our lucky charm?
So, how did you get on in our challenge? Why not set it as a pre or post match pub challenge for your mates:
3. Eagle Express
4. Hearld and Post
5. RCI Holidays
8. Phones 4U
13. Evolution TV
* – Do shout if we missed any.