Watford At Home 2014/15 – End of Season Dinner and Awards

Every good club has an end of season dinner and awards and here at Brighton But Only At Home we’re no different, with the rather glaring exceptions that a) the awards are coming after the dinner, which was last night and b) I doubt the winners will ever know they won it. It’s not like there’s a trophy or anything. I’m a starving writer* FFS.

The awards take place today because I have run out of ways of saying the same thing. If ever there was a season to forget, on the pitch at least, this was it. So much has to change in the summer and the early announcement of the retained list suggests that it will. That’s not to say the season has been a total write off because, on a personal level it has, at times, been highly entertaining. More of that later.

So – the game. What is there to say about a game like that? Firstly it was terribly, appallingly refereed. I honestly haven’t seen as pathetic a display of officiating here this season and Andy D’Urso’s had a go. It wasn’t quite Pawson against Burnley but the extraordinary thing was that the Football League Show chose not to show a single one of the incidents. In general Watford were cynical, getting in little blind side nudges, all of which were missed, before throwing themselves to the floor. We had two penalty shouts, one good and one dubious, and there should have been a red card for an all out assault on Dunk. Why none of this was shown I don’t know. The timing of the refs departure from the pitch was unfortunate as the boos for him mixed with the applause for a departing CMS and possibly departing Calde (please don’t go Inigo!). Hughton was in his ear as he left and rightly so.

Other than that, well, we competed. The tactics were right (forcing Watford in to an early substitution), we had more of the ball and much of the territory. We created chances, Joe Bennett going close with a volley and O’Grady with a long range shot that was well saved in the first half. O’Grady narrowly missed with a header in the second and Stephens should have put away a brilliant low cross from Calde, who had also teed up the header. Yet we drew a blank. Worse, we lost as Watford demonstrated why they are top and we should be down. We are still carrying too many passengers and, unfortunately one of them is the club captain. Two of our three centre backs for the day conspired to set up Watford’s opener, a poor header straight up by Halford rolling down Greer’s shin in a display of control that would have disappointed an under nines’ coach, for Deeney to pounce and stick the chance away. Other than that Greer looked lost in the three as his lack of passing and pace was again exposed. I’m really not sure why we extended him but he needs to be a back up next season. We need a young, fresh , skilful centre back a bit like that Cooke chap we let go to Bournemouth. Rea might fit the bill, I’ve not seen him enough, but if we are to play three centre backs then we can’t have two of them liable to comedy moments.

With Watford leading one nil we pushed and pushed them until, inevitably, we pushed too far and they scored a second on the break. I don’t mind this given we were safe before kick off and, as other results came in later, it confirmed Watford’s promotion. Congratulations to their fans who were magnificent. However, if the players are a cynical as that next season they’ll end up as hated as us under Poyet.

By the time the results came in the dinner was in full swing. As I said, it’s been a write off on the pitch but off it I’ve had a blast. At the start of the season I agreed to travel over with another dad from The Boy’s school and his son and we have become firm friends with lots in common. This – friendship and community – is why I started going to football in the first place. Banter in the pub and sticking together on the terraces is my background and we are rediscovering it now as we take our kids. Yesterday they played happily in the pub and ate chicken nuggets (only we were in a gastro place so they were called goujons) and pasta (only it was my daughter so what she actually did was cover it in ketchup and then say “yuk”) while we had a pint and reflected on a poor season and an excellent friendship. Elsewhere I have taken The Boy to his first away game, got heroically pissed in corporate hospitality, ranted emotionally to the official twitter account and left The Cyclist at closing time to find an elderly Leeds fan pissing himself. Some of these things deserve an award. *squeezes klaxon*

End of Season Awards

The Unluckiest Player Award

This year and every year this goes to CMS. Nothing winds fans up more than players not trying. CMS always tries. There are beads of his sweat that are already permanent features of The Amex. Yet never was there a player who I have said “unlucky” to quite so often. First touch – unlucky. Header just missing our player – unlucky. Finishing – unlucky. And, as Barry Fry pointed out, being bought by Poyet and used in completely the wrong way – unlucky. Good luck with your next team Craig, you deserve some.

The Unluckiest Fans Award

I may just “out” myself here but it’s too good a story not to share. The Unluckiest Fans award goes to the two blokes who sit directly in front of me. Against Leeds – our best game of the season – I took a friend whose drinking exploits know no bounds. The second goal went in and said friend – who is not small – lost his balance celebrating. I looked up from my own celebrations to see a game of human dominoes taking place with several large men on their arses looking bemused. It was an old style surge. Apologies and brief Anglo Saxon opinions were exchanged and that – I thought – was that. Until yesterday when The Boy decided to berate the referee with a full bottle of water in his hand. A bottle that had no lid on, soaking the same two blokes. They were remarkably decent about it as I wished for the earth to swallow us up before three rows of fans collapsed in laughter.

The Piss Up In a Brewery Award

Goes to Sodexo who couldn’t organise one. They certainly haven’t organised one in a concourse anyway. Yesterday was a story of “no pies” from all around the ground. I am quite happy to go without eating from 3 to 5 on a Saturday but running out of food at lunchtime or evening kickoffs is criminal.

Wish I Was Here Award

As I sat listening to the radio with a mince pie and a beer just after Christmas it became clear that I really, really should have gone to Fulham. I could have but chose not to, my mojo being at its lowest ebb. That game effectively kept us up.

Favourite Game of the Season

So as I wasn’t at Fulham I have to say Charlton away. First away game for the two boys, cracking atmosphere, a win, the goal right in front of us and funny on very many levels. And we did it sober.

Best Away Fans

Goes to Watford. As noisy as Arsenal without being nearly as nasty.

Fattest Bastard Award

Goes to Steve Evans again.

The Andy D’Urso Award for Refereeing Ineptness

So many candidates. So little column space left. Yet, just when you thought Andy would retain it for the third year running in came Keith Stroud yesterday with a performance of such mind boggling ineptness that a foreign call centre operative was heard to exclaim “at least I’m not as bad as that referee there sir”.

The Wonderful Readers Award

Thanks for reading this season. There are lots of you who read regularly and give excellent feedback. Writing a blog is a weird thing to do. On the one had I enjoy it and get a buzz from chatting with you all on Twitter. I’ve even had comments from a couple of proper writers. On the other hand I get the feeling that if I stood on a soap box outside The Amex after a game and shouted this I’d get pelted with beer. That I’m not metaphorically pelted every Sunday genuinely cheers me up. I’ll hopefully be covering a busy transfer window this summer and adding more Opinion and silly stuff to the site to keep it fresh. Thanks for reading again. Enjoy the summer.

*not actually true

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4 thoughts on “Watford At Home 2014/15 – End of Season Dinner and Awards

  1. Great read but what’s that about Watford fans? Are we talking about before the game and after the goal? Silent between those parts unless our stadium acoustics really are that bad. Couldn’t hear a peep from the north.

    Wasnt Barber supposed to have resolved the awful catering? Or is that once again a failure that had nothing to do with that man? There seems to be a growing list of failures that he seems excused of by his apologists.

    Wish I retained your enthusiasm for the club. Mine is shot after this season of being lied to, blamed for the mistakes of others and span until we’re all dizzy. Interested to hear your forecast for next season; I predict another fudged squad rebuild on the cheap I’m afraid and yet more lies, disappointment and utter frustration. I have enough of that at work.

    • It’s make or break this summer. Many long term 1901s are up for renewal at the end of next season and I don’t think anyone paying that will put up with another season of spin and BS. The interesting variable is how much cash Bloom has left as no one knows genuinely what he’s worth.

      I thought Watford were much louder than Norwich and they managed to sing the same song all together which we manage away but never at home.

      My enthusiasm? I stood on empty uncovered terraces at places like Oakwell and Roker Park watching us back in the day just for a day out with my mates. I see the same excitement in my son’s eyes yet he knows we’re rubbish. I have zero enthusiasm for Mr Barber’s way of doing things

      • Sadly I’ve lost the love and I’m really hacked off about it to be honest. I’ve brought my kids up as Albion fans despite them being brought up within 8 miles of Chelsea. Oldest is 19 now, his first home game was at Gillingham as a two year old. We’ve had great times and I’ve been really proud to have introduced them to a wonderful club. The league 1 winning season was incredible but many many good times prior to that too even when we were being relegated. Going regularly to the Amex was great initially; partly the foorball but also socialising with my eldest two boys. There’s not much you do together at 16 + and this was something we loved, really looked forward to.

        This season? Fulham away was great (although I spent far too much time in the pub and was told off big time for being such a bad influence on the boys…); Charlton/Brentford good. Leeds at home was decent but also frustrating and I missed the Ipswich game. Other than that its been utter frustration with the very very strong feeling that we’ve been taken as mugs.

        I’ve long felt that Brighton are one of the best cubs in the country and genuinely so. The team on the pitch may have been pants but the club as a whole, fantastic. That’s gone for me. At least when Archer and Co were at the helm we were (eventually) united in hatred of them. Barber is divisive, many many people are sucked in to believing he is some sort of guru and that annoys me as much as the BS that emanates from him. I’ve stuck with the club through awful periods but it just doesn’t feel like my club anymore.

        I’ve cancelled my season tickets for next season and have desparately wanted to regret that decision. Yesterday was just another experience of frustration and me and the boys thinking we could and should have been doing something else. That’s a first for me and it saddens me greatly. I’ll see how next season goes with away games and a very select few home games I think; hopefully it will reignite the passion but I’m far from hopeful.

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