Opinion: Watford's identity not in jeopardy
Hornet`s supporter James Watts isn`t alone in noticing the increase in sloppy 'journalism' directed towards Watford in light of the Italian revolution.
Whilst there are some informative and accurate bloggers, writers and journalists out there on the subject of the Golden Boys, that number appears to be ever diminishing. One recent example tipped the balance for James who puts across a well-reasoned, well though-out opinion of his own here...
Since the world of football journalism has suddenly decided to take an interest in Watford I appear to have found an overwhelming need to respond to some of the comments being made by those paid to do so.
I should start by saying I do not have a problem with journalists, pundits and bloggers having an opinion about Watford and the huge change that has taken place since the Pozzo`s arrival. It`s not even a problem if they have opinions that vary wildly from my own (though I haven`t been able to make my own mind up yet).
What I do have a problem with is people loudly giving what they imply to be a qualified opinion without apparently having done any research into either the club, the Pozzos, or even actual events that have taken place since they took over.
The catalyst that made me decide to actually write this stuff down was a debate on Life`s a Pitch, in which I`m told I should be very concerned about what`s going on at my club by a group of people who don`t appear to have the best grasp of what is going on, or what has very recently gone on at Watford FC.
The main factors that various professional opinion makers think I should be worried about appear to be; becoming a feeder club, losing our identity due to the amount of loan players, and the destruction of our academy. Coincidently these are things I am a little worried about, but they pale slightly in the context of the impending financial meltdown we were facing.
I`ll begin with the concern over Watford becoming Udinese`s feeder club. People know what a feeder club is right? Because last time I checked Watford was receiving a number of players from another club (I believe Udinese have loaned Watford 7 players so far with another three strongly linked at the time of writing). I don`t know, maybe the press has redefined the term without telling anybody.
The other two concerns are perhaps a little more legitimate. Watford has chosen to forgo Category One status in the new EPPP scheme in favour of the cheaper Category Three status. My initial reaction, like a lot of other Watford fans, was one of absolute disgust. But when the logistical and financial differences between the categories in the at best flawed EPPP are explored it does appear to be a sound business decision.
It should also be emphasised at this point that nothing real has actually changed at the academy. It`s just one label that has been forgone in favour of another that costs a lot less. The amount being invested is the same, the coaches are the same, and it most certainly has not been scrapped. Honestly there`s still an actual building and everything.
The potential loss of identity is also a legitimate criticism, but one which may or may not manifest itself until further into the season. However, the view that the amount of players putting on and taking off Watford shirts over the next few seasons will be far greater than in the past is an exaggeration.
In the 2011/12 season we had seven players on loan, and in both the 2010/11 and 2009/10 seasons we had five. Loan players in yellow shirts are not something new, it is something we do, and on occasion we even grow to adore them.
Vast numbers of players leaving every season is also something that can make it hard for a fan to remain in love with the squad. Unless of course you are a Watford fan and you watch your best players walk out the door, without fail, every season (on top of the loans that come to an end). Again, this is not something new, and in fact the evidence suggests the best players will stick around for two to three years as they have at the other Pozzo clubs, which is coincidentally the average lifespan for any half decent player than somehow ends up in our squad.
I could go on but I suspect I already have. We are concerned, if you`d bothered to check the last 10 years of ownership you would know that. But we are also cautiously optimistic, and if you`d bothered to do any research on the Pozzo`s football ideology you`d know that too. Please keep having an opinion (it makes a nice change to be noticed), but make it an informed one.