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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye


14.12.2013 CHAMPIONSHIP 2013/2014
Watford - Sheffield Wednesday 0:1

It is actually unclear whether the times of glory are behind or ahead for Vicarage Road Stadium: the fourth tribune is under construction yet the entire venue looks pretty much like a stopgap. There are upsides though: the food and drink outlets are pretty well equipped (a drinkable merlot was even available in handy small plastic bottles), a lady in the ticket office printed the ticket for me (which by the way should have been delivered to my home address well before the match day) without blenching, and apologised for the inconvenience. I generously accepted the apologies:)
You won't find too may "big" names in  the Watford team. OK, if you try hard enough, you will find two: the Hornets' coach (by the way, the club's crest displays an elk's head) is (or rather was, see the closing note) Gianfranco Zola - the Italian foorball legend, whereas Manuel Almunia is the goalkeper - the same guy who kept Fabianski on the substitute bench  of Arsenal, to recognise Szczesny's supremacy a few years later. The Spaniard did not show up on the pitch though, probably because of not being at its best form and 20-year old Jonathan Bond got his chance. The young shaver made just one serious mistake and it unfortunately was decisive for the ultimate Sheffield Wednesday win. Wickham's precise free kick in the 24th minute pretty much set up the further flow of the game. Watford immediately threw up for chasing losses, the club's mascot hit the drum rhytmically encouraging the audience to some more vigorous doping. Yet the audience preferred to call the referee bad names for his reportedly biased decisions. The visitors did everything possible to procrastinate the game hence securing the final score - which features most of the visitors' teams, perhaps with the exception of Bayern Munich who, at least this season, if on 6:0 lead, spare no effort to make it 7:0), yet with no excessive flamboyancy. Same applied for fouls: the tackles appeared tough (some would say "masculine"), as customary in the English football, yet within reasonable frames, no dead bodies were to be found on the pitch. Watford had nothing to offer that afternoon. The Zola's boys were moving apace but the list of praise ceases here. The tactical concept was coded to the extent it was invisible. Individual capabilities rather on the average and a lack of leadership was evident - nobody in a position to inspire the rest of the team against all odds. As a matter of fact, the only brighter point in the game was the goal apparently scored from offside. Sheffield launched a pretty smart tactic, avoiding unecessary defense and regularly absorbing the hosts with fast breaks hence giving the defenders some time for a deeper breath.
A security guard approached me at the beginning of the second half with a strong suggestion that I refrain from taking pictures. I was surprised since nobody did pay attention at the entrance to the camera hanging on my chest. Since he insisted, I promised to follow his suggestion, which I did not fulfill - partly because I am wilful and partly because I could not allow for lack of photos for the story to be uploaded on radeba.manifo.com.
The Watford defeat did not make the fans pass by the club souvenir shop - the place was full of those willing another T-shirt, a cap, a scarf and the likes. "Madonna mobile est" however fans' love apparently not that much. We, the Poles, know that very well and our readiness to forgive another failure of our National Team is worth all possible respect and recognition. Just like the money left in the Watford souvenir shop.
No happy end at sight: the other day Gianfranco Zola resigned from his function.