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Thursday 17 August 2017 by

Everything seems new again, ‘all shiny and new’. A new kit, a few new players and fingers crossed a new, and sustained, sense of optimism in the air. This buoyancy is on a high and seems to be radiating from our new Head Coach Marco Silva.

We’ve been here before, many times, and not just under the guidance of The Pozzos. If you’re a similar vintage to me, you’ll remember there was positivity when Vialli joined, and I remember there was no deep distress as Dave Bassett took office following GT departure #1. It always starts positive, but it ends (apart from whenever GT stepped down as manager) very badly… it always does and it’s going to with Marco Silva – mark my words!

Irrationality is not a trait Watford fans need this season, it is our enemy. We strive to find the rational side in every FTRE podcast – I stress the word strive, it’s not always possible. To keep rationality high, we are going to share our tick list for Silva Success. We can’t tear ourselves up inside over the details of each game, we need to focus on the big goals.

These are the criteria that we will be judging Silva on. So come the end of the season, or before if you find yourself in a place of darkness, we can rationally evaluate him and the squad when this campaign comes to an end.. What’s going to matters and what are the nice achievements to have?

1. We’ve renewed our Premier League status

That sounds like the most unambitious statement any football fan could ever make, but this is one of the things he MUST achieve for this to be a successful season.

You may hate this statement because, like me, you don’t want Watford to become a club that is ‘just surviving’ in the the top division. However, for growth, we need this as our first target and it needs to be a met. Ideally this will come in April, and we won’t go to lose every game that comes after. The team need to go on and finish higher than the QSF season. Finish a few places higher won’t take much more. Under Walter, we were 6 points off 8th place last year – that’s two more simple wins. So imagine a squad fit and performing well. Oh yes, we might need to focus on 40 points first, but life after that tally might not be just a dream.

2. He’s given us a style of football, with a clear purpose.

If he’s worth his salts then how Watford win a game of football will change, develop and adapt with each game. It’s not just about setting up a system and sticking to it This will show progress and react to the different styles of the Premier League. More importantly we will see the players develop into a mature team. QSF got the first bit right in his season, but it never went on to more.

We were never sure if Walter was ever able to get the team he wanted out on the pitch, or just couldn’t motivate them. It always seemed like they were ready for the big team – but you wonder how much influence he had on those wins.

I want pundits and fans to have a good idea about how we play football, surprise them with how we react and see a team that celebrate together when we win.

3. We’ve had a decent cup run

A classic football phrase, but always hard to quantify. So I’m going with winning at least three consecutive cup ties in one of the cup competitions. So make it to the 5th in the League Cup and 6th round of the FA Cup. Again another minimum requirement – the dream is always there and always as big as possible.

The QSF cup run masked what was going wrong in the League and the changing room, and if we are honest we only really won one decent game – Arsenal away. We scrapped past Leeds, Forest and Newcastle.

And a good cup run will prove a good depth to squad. The lose to Milwall under Walter showed that there was no squad and no one was singing from the same hymn book.

4. We’d know what he’d be like in the pub.

This does not mean I want to be his mate, but I need to know his personality. That way I’ll feel I’ve properly connected with him as a person. I don’t have to like him, although, if we met in my local, I like to think he’d love my jokes and listen to all my tactical ideas.

So what will he be like in the pub?
Loner drinker at the table sipping his beer whilst contemplating life and the universe.
The quiet one who’s part of a rowdy gang.
The fella at the bar who’s laughing loudest, buying everyone drinks
More of a connoisseur who sips on his drink and contemplating it’s

We’ve seen a few press conferences, so you probably picked one of the above and figured out if you want to share a pint with him.

These are things he must do, the lower threshold, not the high ceiling. So we must dream. And for this season, in my mind, the dream will be that we’ll exceed his tick list and next summer we will be planning a trip to CS U Craiova in Europa League 3rd round qualifier. That or I’d like to go on a pre-season tour somewhere that takes at least 4 hours to get there on a plane.


* we really hope you didn’t think this article was a look at the styling of Issac Success haircuts.

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