Opponents in focus - Watford
Here is a team most of us have had some dealings with, considered a "London" club by the red tops, but are actually based in Hertfordshire to those with more grey matter.
Watford have been one of those zig-zaggy teams like Palace over the years, they first entered the top flight in 1982, after a stay of 6 years with some success, they have since bounced around the top three tiers of English football, this includes a couple of spells in the Premiership, the last one as recent as 3 years ago.
Watford were a nomadic side in their early days, not actually settling at Vicarage road until 1922, prior to this they also had a spell as "West Hertfordshire" after originally being known as "Watford Rovers", they finally became Watford in 1898 (glorious year of course) after merging with Watford St. Mary's (awful name).
Watford's early years were spent floating around in the lower divisions, but with the arrival of Graham Taylor in 1977, this was preceded of course by the arrival of Elton John in 1973, first as president and then just before Taylor's arrival as chairman.
This coincided with Watford's greatest run of success to date, after promotion in 1981/82, they then became runners-up in the then top flight of division 1, a year later came an FA cup final appearance, only a then dominant Everton side denied them.
After Taylor left for Villa at the end of the 1987 season, Dave Bassett took over, John Barnes also left for Liverpool however and the rot started to set in, relegation came and Watford started to slide again, Luther Blissett departed for a second time and the glory years seemed to have gone.
In the mid 90's Graham Taylor returned to his spiritual home, he had had a turbulent spell as England manager, but at Watford the magic returned for a while, promotion to the top flight occurred once more, but this time it was short lived and after one season Watford finished bottom.
In 2006/07 promotion came calling again, this time though Watford won just 5 top flight games and sunk again to where they are now, the Championship.
Watford are widely known as the "Hornets" of course, this due mainly to their colours of yellow, black and red. But did many realise that Watford were originally known as the "blues"? This was their predominant colour until 1959, with the change came the fans vote and the Hornets were born.
Watford's main rivals of course are Luton Town, a team their fortunes have often echoed over the years, both made to the top flight at the same time, and both dropped to the 3rd tier together in 1996. Luton of course have kept on sinking and meetings have been limited since.
Pompey first crossed paths with Watford back in 1958 in a southern Floodlit semi-final, since the 80's though meetings have been regular, Watford hold the edge with 15 wins in 40 matches, while Pompey have 13.
Our last meeting was on 9th April 2007, this was a shocking 4-2 defeat to a team already doomed to relegation, Pompey were pushing for Europe at the time but an inept performance saw to that, the game is memorable only for Arnold Mvuemba's cracking goal, the only league goal he scored in fact!
Watford finished 16th in the Championship last term, finances saw them lose both Tommy Smith and Mike Williamson to Pompey, one remains, the other we never saw!!
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