FAN'S EYE VIEW; No 156 Waford

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The Independent Online
As football supporters everywhere eagerly await Blackburn's predictable plummet down the Football League to their rightful place of half-way up the old Second Division, we at Vicarage Road are reacquainting ourselves with such areas as Rotherham's Millmoor, and that San Siro of the north, Bootham Crescent.

We are also revelling in our status as worldly-wise "seen-it, done-it" types as we strut around football hotbeds such as High Wycombe, as the over-awed locals peer at us from behind twitching curtains to catch sight of Hornets fans, some of whom have actually been to Old Trafford. At Crewe a couple of weeks ago, two Alex fans even tried to touch us for luck.

Indeed, it seems as if "Newton's (Henry and Keith) Law" holds true. To paraphrase: "Make the most of it mate, because before you know it you'll be back in the AutoWindscreens Trophy."

Watford, with Swansea, Oxford, Oldham and Luton were, along with shoulder pads and Kajagoogoo, examples of 1980s fashion. Like Limahl and the Jo- Boxers, Watford's days in the top league seem a long way off.

But, for a few short seasons, we were, theoretically, on level terms with the big boys. It didn't last long of course - it couldn't. Like Christmas Day, we enjoyed it, but knew the celebrations and champagne would soon be replaced by wet Tuesday nights at Bury.

You see, we didn't really belong. Like Blackburn, we had gatecrashed a high society dinner party and we didn't know which cutlery to use.

Even when Watford were League runners-up in 1983 and Wembley FA Cup finalists the next year, Hornets fans' souls were really on a windswept terrace at Hartlepool.

But, as Blackburn fans will surely soon realise, you're happiest among your own. Watford are back in the bosom of their family. Look: there's Uncle Stockport!

There's no need for airs and graces when it's only Peterborough coming to visit, no call for the best china if Chesterfield turn up for the afternoon.

But despite our fall from grace there is a definite buzz of expectation and optimism at Vicarage Road.

The "Holy Trinity" of Graham Taylor, Kenny Jackett and Luther Blissett have so much goodwill in the bank that it would take successive relegations to the Dr Martens League to cause any discontent amongst the doting Watford faithful.

The present regime enjoy support probably unparalleled at any club in the country. There is a feeling that even if the team are rubbish - they're our rubbish.

With Vicarage Road now one of the neatest stadiums outside the Premiership, the fans' choice back in the manager's office and a crop of promising youngsters in the squad, Watford could well be preparing for another era of living above ourselves.

We won't forget our manners either: we'll give Blackburn a wave as we meet them going the other way.