Dr Watford's 2008 Review - August
August, and despite seeing the kids hit Tring for 6 (thanks to Gibbo, Hendo, Young and Parkes), Watford put in their worst pre-season performance at Underhill - losing 3-2 to Barnet in a shower of 'Shittu-inspired` rubbish.
Big Dan scores but then buggers off to Bolton for a cool £2m - it was all a bit inevitable really. Unlike the departure of Junior Osborne, who was released after spending 6 months out injured.
And the duo`s departure leaves the defence looking a bit thin as Jackson retires (presumably under the weight of carrying his massive salary) and interest in Sol Bamba (the new Shittu) is canned to save funds.
A downbeat Boothroyd reckons "it`s gonna be a long week" but promises effort, fight and desire at the Palace…
…and gets his wish as the Hornets hold the Eagles to a 0-0 stalemate on the curtain raiser at Selhurst Park.
No goals (as Ashikodi heads out on loan to Hereford) but eyebrows are raised at 'New Watford` by the press as Boothroyd still refuses to "knock the long ball game".
And the kids are doing well. Young Lewis continues his pre-season scoring habit with a strike in the 1-1 draw with St Albans City whilst Rob Kiernan and Eddie Oshodi get international recognition for Eire U19 and England U17s respectively.
In fact a bunch of youngsters (and Will Hoskins) see off Bristol Rovers 1-0 in the Carling Cup to set up a home tie with Darlo but many are shut out of the ground by turnstile problems (again).
'New Watford` … but same the old ticket office shambles!
As for the ground, well the East Stand gets given a late late safety certificate despite being condemned as 'unsafe for supporters` (but it`s ok for the board and press box?) and redevelopment is put on hold after the 'ringfenced` £3m pot doesn`t look quite so 'ringfenced`.
Still, the club tell us the delays are now to be expected - which all means that it should all be completed by the start of the 2019-2020 season if you read between the lines…
On the transfer front and Aidy reckons he`ll get to see a small part of the Shittu fee to bring in new faces. Ok, so Ulises De La Cruz isn`t snapped up (after playing all of pre-season) and Norberto Solano joins Greek side FC Larissa despite training with the Hornets.
But there`s at least an experienced striker drafted in as Grzgorz Rasiak joins on a season long loan from Saints.
And old boy Chris Day plays for ressies amid a cloud of speculation but duly joins Stevenage Borough as soon as Richard Lee and Scott Loach both return from injuries.
Chairman Simpson insists player sales have been essential to bring down the wage bill but remains adamant the club "aren`t on the brink" (again)…
…the Supporters Trust back the board leaving many fans wondering just who to 'trust` in all fairness.
Back on the pitch, and Smudger Smith edges Watford to a 1 nil win over a rotten Charlton side to earn 4 points from the opening 6 but a 3-2 loss at the City Ground dampens any thoughts of table topping.
Smith`s at the double - again (that`s 3 in 3 for Tommy) but Boothroyd lambasts his team as 'Olympic Boxers…all flailing arms and legs". It`s no wonder then that a player named Tyson netted the knockout blow for Forest.
Still the glory`s restored in the Carling Cup where Darlo take 'Young Watford` to extra time but a JJ O`Toole goal gives the Hornet kids victory - and a chance to face the Hammers of W`Ham in the next round.
Rasiak breaks his shoulder on his debut (presumably carrying the goalscoring expectation about) and is declared out of action for 2 months - BUGGER.
Still, at the least the pairing of Smith and O`Toole appeared to take up the gauntlet of showing Priskin where the net is and the deadly duo were at it again in the 2-1 home win over Ipswich.
The Tractor boys had taken an early lead after a horror show from Poom but the Hornets were well worth the points for their second half masterclass alone.