Day 28 – London-Watford-Wycombe!
After a crazy couple of days in London, it was time to leave the centre of the big smoke and say goodbye to the yellow brick road and swap it for Vicarage Road, Watford Football Club. The journey there was great if youre a masochist and enjoy pain. By that I mean most of it was steeply Uphill as you can tell from the bar at the top of the video.
That bar indicates 2 things. The inclines and the amount of swear words being said at the time. But it’s OK, I’m still standing. When I got to Watford it was easy to get through to the stadium as there wasn’t much traffic to negotiate around, to be fair there wasn’t much going on during a Tuesday afternoon in Watford, but I hear Saturday nights alright.
Now this ground ive been to before. Back on boxing day in 2011 to watch a dreary 1-1 draw with Cardiff. As a result, my memory might be hazy as the traditional day after Christmas Buckfast was being passed around the bus and we stopped off somewhere for a few shandies before someone opened a bottle of babycham. Nevertheless, as I remember it, other fans can remind me, but the ground was, and im going to be brutally honest here, crap. It was only half there with one side missing and instead of paying to get in, in one corner of the ground people were watching it from the huge carpark that overlooked the stadium with a couple of cans.
But now, as is the circle of life its actually done up quite nice.
The away end as I remember it was just a brick wall but now they’ve made it all stylish.
Also, something im seeing more increasingly, they have rented out stadium space to a local business. In this instance, Wendels the bakers. Who claim to have invented a new recipe for the sausage roll. Greggs did that once vegan style and the world nearly fell apart. Looking back at that now seems a bit trivial huh. I like Wendels bold statement here. Not content with the ingredients being just sausage and pastry, they won’t be held back by the conventions of conformity. Innovate don’t immitate.
I’m not going to apologise for my former assumptions on your ground though Watford fans, I don’t want to go breaking your heart but we all know sorry seems to be the hardest word and you’ve made up for it since with quite the classy bunch of motifs.
Outside the club shop is a statue of legendary club manager Graham Taylor OBE. In fact, the statue actually proclaims that he is ‘Watfords Greatest Ever Manager’, which is a brilliant sentiment.
I always thought he got too much stick for failing as England manager. But thats probably because I’m Welsh. Its OK England, we are bloody used to it. Mr Taylor OBE, was actually a footballer whos career was cut short by injury, yet still managed 339 appearances for Lincoln and Grimsby. Lincoln being the first team he managed and took them out of the fourth division and Watford licked their lips at this and snapped him up in 1977. What a decision that was. Taylor took Watford from fourth division to first division in just 5, yes FIVE years. Wow. Now that’s an incredible feat. Oh and its worth mentioning that in the 1982-83 season, they finished second in the old first division. With a certain Watford legend named Luther Blissett finishing the season as the leagues top goalscorer. For you kids reading, thats like going from league 2 and finishing second in the premiership. With that teams striker beating Salah, Aguero, Kane and the likes to top goalscorer. Would it happen today? Nah, can’t see it. Now THATS why Graham Taylor OBE deserves more recognition than he gets.
And who was the one who brought Taylor to the club?
None other than Sir Elton Herculean John CH CBE.
Taking over the club in 1976, he hired Taylor within a year of his tenure. To be fair, that ain’t a bad start to his chairmanship, it took off like a rocket, man. Last year the club paid homage to Sir Elt by swapping traditional walk out music from the ‘Z Cars’ theme tune to his hit ‘I’m still standing’. After last time I was here im assuming the song was written about the ground. The ‘Z Cars’ theme is used bloody everywhere at football. Not only did Watford use it, but Everton still walk out to it and as memory serves so did Sunderland, at least at Roker Park when they played there. This pretty much comes down to the fact that it was either the managers or the owners favourite TV show at the time. It really is as simple as that. I can only imagine if the gaffers favourite programme was Blankety Blank or Blind Date. Liverpool coming out to the theme tune of Brookside or a team marching out to the music from The Bill.
Talking of music, they do celebrate their former owner up this way though big style. They have a stand in his honour.
And someone’s even made a plaque of him sitting down playing the piano underneath it.
Watford fair play, you’ve got a much improved ground than when I was there last, proper nice, I’m impressed 👏
Next up was the rain soaked 25 miles to Buckinghamshire. Or more precisely, Adams Park, where the Wanderers of Wycombe now dwell since 1990 when they ditched Loakes Park for this new outfit.
Talking of which, your away keeper kit is lush, please send me one, cheers.
Especially as I’ve just bloody promoted your stuff for free.
If it helps, here’s a link to your club shop, for free.
Oh and also im that nice to you by the way Wycombe, as a further notice of help, ill advise you to not let your back door open at night, it allows sneaky Welshmen to wander in and have a look around…
For not streaking across your pitch, I deserve a free shirt 👍
Their most famous manager is touted as the much revered Martin O’Niell, who won promotion and took the club into the football league as conference champions in the 92-93 season. Current manager Gareth Ainsworth ain’t doing to bad however, who in the last 3 years has taken them from league 2 to the championship, culminating with them winning the playoffs this year with goals from Anthony Stewart and former Wales U-21 player Joe Jacobson.
Lush pitch in a nice little stadium to watch football, the kind of place that isn’t consumed by global conglomeracy and even has its own pie dealer, Tom. Whos got his own little plaque up on the stadium front touting his wares. Although I did think it was actually a crap poem by a schoolkid or something.
Now these large pies might be huge, but I reckon that could still on paper be the most expensive pie in football. Get in Wycombe, breaking records there. A record they nearly broke was back in 2001 when they actually reached the FA Cup Semi final, where they lost 2-1 to little known team Liverpool, whos goals from Robbie Fowler and Emily Heskey were too much for the Wanderers who at least got one back from Keith Ryan.
They actually got to the league cup semi final in 2007 as well. Now heres another incredible story, they actually had such an impact on that particular cup that year, as not only did they force a replay out of eventual winners Chelsea at home in the semis, following a 1-1 draw with goals from Wales International Jermaine Easter and England International Wayne Bridge, but Easter actually ended up joint top scorer in the competition with Julio Baptista, who was on loan to Arsenal from Real Madrid. Not bad company youre keeping there Jermaine.
I mean they lost the replay at Stamford Bridge 4-0 so let’s gloss over that, but I still reckon the fans around here still reckon that Easter is better than Christmas.
Wales has treated you kind with players Wycombe, so let’s not forget that free top like 👍
So its on to the next one, which will be the delights of super intelligent lot Oxford and home to one of the UK most celebrated festivals, Reading.
I’ve got to thank a few people again today, first off, Sharon and AMJ from Jokepit Connecting Comedy. They were incredible with the live interview and we got over 45 thousand views which is incredible for these charities. You can watch it back here
Monday PositivesSharon and AMJ talk to Laz about this incredible journey for a brilliant cause.
Posted by JokePit Connecting Comedy on Monday, 5 October 2020
Its people like the ones I have mentioned and the people donating and shouting out what we are doing that are turning this into something above and beyond. You lot really are incredible.Remember, this website is there to help. Please, if you or someone needs it then its free and its yours.
Its ok not to be ok
Together we got this🔥