Fan's Eye View: From Tyne to weary: No 5. Watford

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The Independent Online
The author is editor of 'The Watford Book of Soccer', the Watford fanzine.

FROM the banks of the Tyne to the Dickensian streets of North London; from the slums of Merseyside to the degenerate diddicoy caravans of Brum; England beats to the rhythm of the beautiful game.

But do the miles between these football outposts change the way supporters react to the various ebbs and flows that affect their beloved clubs during the long arduous campaign?

Well, ummm, yes actually.

I know this, cos I've done a survey. A big 'un, mind.

I went to the Spion Kop. I stood among the painted folk at Arsenal's North Bank and I walked and talked with the stripped to the waist workmen who are currently toiling away on the Stretford End. Until I tripped down a pot-hole and hurt my ankle.

Any road, I talked long and hard with the very people who keep our national game alive. We spoke of pride and passion, hopes and dreams, tradition and loyalty. Get the picture? Here then, are the results of my survey. This is England 1992 . . .

1) Your chairman sells your star player to your local rivals. How does the hardcore support react?

Merseyside: Rioting, looting and disembowelment aplenty.

Manchester: Arson, speaking in tongues, total eclipse of the sun.

Leeds: Heads on sticks, limbs on sticks, everything on sticks.

North London: Lots of stamping of feet and shouting. Scuds launched.

Watford: three eyebrows raised.

2) Your team are relegated on the last day of the season when they lose 1-0 at home to your local rivals. The winning goal is scored by your ex-star player who then runs to the home end and urinates in the face of your Supporter of the Year.

Merseyside: More burning of buildings (if any left from previous uprising), not a shop window left unbroken.

Manchester: five season ticket holders spontaneously combust, an awful lot of bad language.

Leeds: One hell of a barney that goes on for 40 days and 40 nights.

North London: All male first born sought out and killed.

Watford: three-line letter in The Watford Observer.

3) One Monday morning, three men in suits and bowler hats arrive from the Football League. They inspect your clubs' accounts and find the books have been cooked so much, they've chemically broken down to resemble some kind of grey broth. Your team are immediately relegated to the Watford Book Of Soccer Sunday League.

Merseyside: Effigies burned, 100,000 march on Parliament.

Manchester: Nuclear devices launched, Coronation Street taken from our screens.

Leeds: Directors hunted down like dogs, stripped naked then made to perform unnatural sexual acts in the centre-circle at half-time.

North London: Gangs of drunken youths roam the streets, tar and feathering anyone born north of Potters Bar or south of the Thames.

Watford: Half-time announcer goes 'Tsk' over the Tannoy.

4) Your team defeats Barcelona 5-0 in front of 150,000 crazed Catalans in the Nou Camp to become the undisputed champions of the world.

Merseyside: Hundreds of proud fathers name their new born sons after the victorious XI.

Leeds: The manager is paraded around the city centre on a piebald stallion.

Manchester: Supporters do an awful lot of drinking. No one turns up for work for a fortnight.

North London: Three wise men turn up having followed a star all the way from the Orient (Central line, change at Tottenham Court Road).

Watford: Social club takings go up 2 per cent. They almost run out of pork scratchings.