The Watford View
The games come thick and fast this time of year so ahead of Watford visiting South London, TEB had a chat with Bradley from The Watford Blog to find out about their season so far and thoughts ahead of the game.
Q. What did you make of last season for Watford?
To be perfectly honest, it was a terrible season. Most fans were counting down to the end of the season, because watching Watford had become so tough and in the last couple of months, many went just expecting us to lose. Walter Mazzarri wasn’t the right man to take over from Quique Sanchez Flores and Gino Pozzo realised that he had made a mistake come the end of the season. The football we were playing was turgid and very difficult to watch. Performances just became worse towards the end of the season and that can be highlighted through the fact that we won just seven times in the Premier League from November. Whatever way you look at that, it’s relegation form. Mazzarri also fell out with a number of players and he never showed any effort to build any sort of rapport with the fans.
It’s probably one of the first times that all Watford supporters have wanted a manager sacked during my time as a fan. Everyone I spoke to felt disconnected from the club, players and manager during Mazzarri’s tenure and many were relieved when he left at the end of the season. People say Watford should be satisfied to just finish in seventeenth every season, but it seems no club can show any sort of ambition in the Premier League unless you’re a top six team. Watford shouldn’t have been anywhere near the relegation zone with the team they had last season, so the fact we finished where we did just shows what a woeful season it was last year.
Q. What were your hopes for the new season before a ball had been kicked?
My hopes were to push for a top ten finish, given the players we had signed, and for Watford to perform consistently over the course of the season. In the last two campaigns, we’ve got to November or December and given up, meaning the second half of the season has been a tough watch. My other aim was to have a cup run in either the Carabao or FA Cup.
Q. It has been a great start to the season for Watford. What have you made of your new boss Marco Silva?
He’s been very impressive. He’s instilled a real team spirit in this Watford side, something which was non existent last season, and has already built a good connection with the supporters. He’s got us playing some lovely football and made us very difficult to beat this season. You can see the players love playing for him and it’s like watching a completely different side compared to last season. Quite a few were disappointed with Silva, though, with how he dealt with the whole Everton scenario as he never came out and ruled himself out of the running. However, fair play to our owners though for standing firm and not accepting any offer from the Toffees.
Q. Another season and another manager but do you think the owners have finally found their man after several changes?
It certainly feels that way. Our owners get a lot of stick from those in the media but our fans are completely behind them because they’ve completely changed this club and without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It seems no club is allowed to show any sort of ambition in the Premier League unless they are a top six club. There seems to also be a myth that we’ve sacked each manager which is incorrect, as we’ve only sacked three of them: Dyche, McKinley and Mazzarri. The rest have either resigned, left at the end of the contract or there’s been a mutual agreement to part ways. Our owners have been fantastic and the fans will always back them as they have transformed this club.
Q. How was the summer transfer window for the club and were all needs addressed in the squad?
The transfer window was excellent. We really strengthened and most of the signings have improved the squad. Not only did we sign talented young players in Richarlison, Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah but we added genuine quality in the likes of Kiko Femenia, Andre Gray and Andre Carrillo among others. So it was an excellent summer transfer window on the whole. It’s just a shame that we haven’t been able to see Marco’s first choice team week in, week out due to so many injuries.
Q. Do you expect much business by the club in the January transfer window?
I think we’ll bring in a couple. I think a striker, winger and centre back will on the list, so I think at least three new faces will come in during January.
Q. Explain in no more than 140 characters how the last ten years have been for the football the club.
An upward curve powered mainly by the Pozzo revolution.
Q. What do you make of Palace’s current predicament?
It’s been a tough start to the season for Palace. I was never sure Frank De Boer was the right man to take over from Sam Allardyce but I think he should have got a little more time than he did. Saying that, Roy Hodgson has taken over and you’ve definitely improved and become a lot harder to beat. You’ve put in a few good performances recently, but been drawing too many games that you should have perhaps won. The weekend was a prime example of that. What Christian Benteke is doing taking that penalty from Luka Milivojevic I do not know, but that should have been three points instead of one. I do think you have enough quality to get out of the predicament that you’re in. There’s definitely three worse teams than Palace, so a couple of signings in January and I’ll think you’ll be fine.
Q. Name one player from EACH side that you think the opposition should consider a real threat.
For Palace, Wilfried Zaha. He’s one of the trickiest wingers in the league and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have a bad game against Watford. He’s always been influential in each game and he just strikes fear into the heart of any full-back he faces. England certainly missed a trick as he’s one of the best in my opinion and I don’t think Watford’s defence still know how to deal with him.
For Watford, I’d say Richarlison. Just twenty years old and he looks like he’s played here all his life. He’s a defender’s nightmare with his pace and skill and he’s chipped in with some important goals this season as well. For a Brazilian he’s also very strong in the air and he’s not afraid to get stuck in either. He’s got a great work ethic as well and does a fair amount of work for the team. He’s got a very bright future ahead of him and I have no doubt that he’ll eventually go on and play for one of the top clubs in the world.
Q. Your prediction?
I’m going to say 1-1. Palace seem to be drawing quite a few games recently and you always seem to be one of our bogey teams! But we have a good away record currently and have probably played our best football on the road so I think we’ll get a point.
Q. And finally, please tell us all about your fan group along with any projects that you may currently be working on.
I set up The Watford Blog in 2012 and it has continued to grow and develop. I’m the sole writer and am in charge of all of the content that goes online and on the Twitter feed. I genuinely produce opinion features and other newsworthy content, such as match previews, who the referee will be, match reports and plenty more. It’s proven to be a huge success and I really enjoy what I do.
As well as the site, I’m currently in my final year at Brunel University studying for a degree in Journalism. I also write for a website called Careers In Football where I interview professionals in the football industry, including players, managers and coaches, in order to inspire people hoping for a job in football to follow their dream. I also write the fan’s view for the Watford Observer, where I give my view on the club every week, while also contributing to Watford’s match day programme.