Watford adventure tugs at Blissett's heart

There are no prizes for guessing which result Luther Blissett will be looking out for when the Premiership begins on Saturday. Blissett made a club-record 503 appearances for top-flight newcomers Watford in three spells at Vicarage Road between 1976 and 1992. In the process, he scored 186 goals, another record. So the outcome of his old club's game at Everton, Watford's first in the top flight for six years, will be high on Blissett's list of priorities this weekend.

Top of his agenda, however, will be the fortunes of Chesham United as they open their Southern League campaign at Taunton, six levels below Watford on the football pyramid. The former England striker has been the manager since February, steering them away from the South and West Division One relegation zone last season before building a squad he hopes will take them into the Premier Division next May.

And while The Meadows, Chesham's headquarters, may be light years away from the citadels Blissett graced with Watford and Milan, professional pride dictates that no corners have been cut in the build-up to the new season.

"Even though this is part-time football and we only train on two evenings a week, it's important to prepare as professionally as we can," says Blissett, 48, capped 14 times by England in the 1980s. "Of course it can be frustrating when players can't get time off work to train but that's a fact of life at this level. I am enjoying it because it's a challenge and, just like the professional game, the ultimate aim is to win matches. I don't see it as a stepping stone in my career, more as another part of my football and coaching education."

Life in this Buckinghamshire outpost is far from the days when Blissett was an integral part of Graham Taylor's Watford side that marched out of the old Fourth Division in 1978, reached the top flight in 1982 and finished runners-up behind Liverpool the following year. "It was an incredible time," recalls Blissett, who joined Watford as a 15-year-old and became the first black player to score for England when he hit a hat-trick against Luxembourg in 1983. "It was massively exciting for people on the outside so you can imagine what it was like for those of us who were involved on a day-to-day basis.

"There was tremendous camaraderie and the players all felt comfortable with one another. That bred confidence and we knew we were going to go all the way."

Yet no sooner had Watford qualified for Europe after their debut campaign than Blissett moved out to Serie A and Milan, missing the Hornets' only appearance in an FA Cup final the following year.

"I used to watch Watford's European games on television and think, 'God, that's my old club playing in Europe!' It was unbelievable. But I had no regrets about leaving."

So how will Watford's class of 2006, already labelled as relegation favourites, fare in the pressure cooker of the Premiership? "It depends on how the players react and there's no way of knowing until a ball is kicked in anger," says Blissett. "Whatever happens, I'll be backing them all the way."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month