Tuesday, 22 April 2014
It's Only Just Begun......
Following yesterday's early morning blue skies, things have turned a little murky, to be honest.
As I previously mentioned, I was unable to make the game at Loftus Road but followed avidly via social media. I was able to get a decent picture of the game in my mind. I have also since seen the goals on the television.
Once again, we were brought to our knees by a late, late goal.
Slightly different to the recent norm, in that we conceded after we had over committed trying to win the game, rather than seemingly caving in after trying to soak up pressure for 45 minutes. Was a really decent finish by Charlie Austin, to fair.
Of course the result has thrown up a meze of opinions. Some measured, some reactionary and totally understandable and a few barking but that is football for you.
The ones that concern me most are the ones calling for Beppe Sannino's head.
Now I totally understand why he may not be some people's cuppa. He was unknown to virtually all when he came. He's foreign. He doesn't speak English brilliantly (but he is learning). He sets his teams up to press and when the lead is taken, switches to sitting back and hitting teams on the break. We don't win away. We concede late goals. Ultimately, he has not lead us to the playoffs.
I however, am trying to see a big picture and in simple terms, view things as follows:
The Pozzo family are the club's owners. They came in and have secured the club's future for the foreseeable future. They will not be running away anytime soon. The have invested in a brand new East Stand as proof of a long term commitment. The club is now set up to bring through young, home-grown talent, as well as taking advantage of the relationship that was naturally formed with Udinese in Italy and Grenada in Spain. Part of the plan in making the club financially stable and ongoing, profitable, is that when a profit can be turned, it will be. It is not a hobby, it is a business but the owners do love football and want their teams to be operating at the highest level.
In order that the relationships with Udinese and Grenada could be utilised fully, the owners saw it necessary to part company with the well liked (but at the time, unremarkable) Sean Dyche, in favour of Gianfranco Zola, just before the start of the 2012/2013 campaign. This proved to be very successful, as Watford narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to the Premier League and consequently were defeated at Wembley in the playoff final, following that unforgettable semi final second leg v Leicester City.
It was clear that as the 2012/13 season drew to a close, that The Championship had sussed out Zola and his side and despite 2013/14 getting off to a flyer, by December, Watford were up a creek and Gianfranco had not a clue how to reverse our fortunes. He was a gentleman, help up his hands and walked. Many said the damage was irrespirable. Watford we in freefall and were going down.
Then we were introduced to Beppe 'Who?' Sannino.
As of this moment in time, Watford FC are somehow still in with a mathematical shout of a playoff place. Watford FC are on an 11 game unbeaten home run (including the FA cup tie against Bristol City) dating back to 14th January. Only two of those 11 games have been draws.
Sannino handed us our first away win since 5th October 2013, with the recent result up at Hillsborough. There have also been encouraging away draws against now-promoted Leicester and playoff chasing Ipswich.
We went to the Etihad and dared to dream.
Of course there have been silly results. It was never set up for it to be perfect for the incoming man. The silly results have cost us but given the state of the side, particularly mentally, at the point of Zola's resignation, could we reasonably have expected much more from any head coach at this point?
The Championship is a steep learning curve for any manager or coach and will be as tough, if not tougher next season, with perhaps as many as 20 of the 24 sides having played in the top flight, in the Premiership era.
For now the days of Watford having a British Manager and a team full of British players is a distant memory. With that, where would you turn in respect of a 'saviour'?
It is being done a different way but it is a way that means we have a club that still, despite many of its key components being manufactured abroad, sits at the heart of the community and endeavours to make its fans feel part of something special.
There is clearly work to do in the transfer market (hopefully with a far more measured approach than we have seen recently) but more importantly, in keeping what we have and addressing the mentality that leads us to late disasters.
Beppe has done half a job in half a season.
He will be taking everything on board. He is learning.
I think he can do the whole job in 2014/2015.
Stability is key and my season ticket is renewed early bird style. I am jumping the gun with excitement and anticipation of what comes next (have to keep reminding myself that there is still pleasure to be found this season and a strong finish is still important, even if just to finish the season on a confident note).
I really don't mind people ripping into my positivity. At nearly 42 years of age, all the football related outrage and torment that I used to allow to flow through me, from my teens right through to my mid thirties, was just the way it was. It didn't change results. It didn't change the comings and goings.
What was, was.
I don't think I'm necessarily right.
My rosy outlook won't change anything.
What will be, will be.
I'm just happier this way.