Date:Tuesday August 29 2006
Personally I`d waited a long time to see Premier League football at Vicarage Road, I missed the whole of our first outing back in the 1999/2000 season. Not that I complaining as I was in Australia but on Saturday I finally got the opportunity to live the dream.
Due to my living arrangements I wasn`t able to get to the West Ham game but there was no way I was going to miss Manchester United at The Vic. Having flown in for the weekend, I met up with friends on the Friday who said that we`d deserved three points against West Ham, even my mate who was a neutral felt we should`ve taken all the points.
First thing Saturday morning I went to the gym with my mate for a killer workout before he went to Spurs and I headed into Watford. As I walked towards Vicarage Road I felt the chill run down my neck, even though I was extremely early it just felt great being back. I made my way to the shop and picked up the new shirts, having not purchased a new shirt over the last couple of years I felt I`d earned the right to treat myself.
I was surprised to see the large number of Manchester Untied fans wandering around the stadium, I popped into Coral to put a fiver on a draw and found a bunch of United kids in there or at least they looked like kids to me betting on the game.
After my normal football lunch of a savloy and a battered sausage along with small chips I went to go to The Robert Peel pub to watch the West Ham vs Liverpool game only to find it had closed down, next stop was the small pub on Market Street where I enjoyed various conversations about the first two games of the season.
Rather annoyingly the first two games consisted of me relying on Sky Sports to get updates; Tuesday night wasn`t helped with Tony Cottee`s incredibly biased reports. During the first half I don`t think I`d have even known Watford were playing by his reporting except for the high volume of yellow shirts in the background.
At around 2pm the time had come for me to head to the ground, as I walked along Vicarage Road it was great seeing the sea of yellow shirts. The buzz was incredible; as I made my way to the Lower Rous I bumped into a few old friends which was great.
As I took my seat via talking to a few mates inside the ground, I was amazed at how many fans were down the bottom trying to take photos and getting autographs, it was just a bit of a shame they were after United players but then I suppose how often to you get to see such classy players.
Before the game I felt we would get a draw if we scored first. I was very disappointed when the first goal went in but as soon as Spring came on, it really seemed to really tighten up the midfield. I felt we deserved the equalizer and as we`d stepped up a gear. As we all know Spring gave the ball away for a very sloppy second goal and Henderson missed a sitter but I went home feeling that we should`ve got a point.
I was very surprised with the reports on the radio, I`m sure I`m biased but I didn`t agree with most of them. I personally came home feeling very optimistic about this season; I think it will be a totally different story to our last visit to top flight football. In the morning I was really shocked at the newspaper reports and player ratings, for one thing Marlon King was worth more than a five as was Danny Shittu.
I went to play golf with a friend who`d been sitting next to me and we`d both read the News of the World reports and highly disagreed with what had been written. I wasn`t very impressed with Rio`s challenges which the ref constantly seemed to miss or the United fans singing anti-England songs but I was impressed with the constant quality of Ryan Giggs.
As things stand I don`t know when my next game will be but I can`t wait, I honestly believe that we are going to shock people this year and rightfully so.
Be lucky and STAY GOLDEN
WRITTEN BY SCOTT BALAAM
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