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Comment: Promotion not the be-all and end-all

Comment: Promotion not the be-all and end-all
SO Watford 'blew it' again yesterday. After failing to overcome a poor a Leeds United side at the beginning of May to win automatic promotion; the same side failed to beat Crystal Palace to promotion at Wembley yesterday.

So what?

I for one cannot be disappointed at how this season has panned out for Gianfranco Zola's side.

From the last-gasp win at Huddersfield, to the trouncing of Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday and many others, right up to the 22 seconds of chaos against Leicester City at the Vic' a fortnight ago.

These are memories from an extremely memorable season. We have seen football we would never have expected and players who can do things with a football which suggest they ought to be at a much higher level.

And, if everything goes to plan this summer - which is now not far off - they will all become ours permanently.

Zola and Gino Pozzo have both been quick to point out as far back as last year, that this season was not about promotion. It was about doing the best we could. Next season was the one highlighted for a promotion push and I see no reason why that won't come to pass.

So what does promotion even mean?

To young supporters, it means we're on Match of the Day with all their classmates' teams, they'll make stickers of Lloyd Doyley and maybe even little plastic figurines of Troy Deeney.

To supporters in far-flung places it means we'll be more accessible on the internet; via streams, match reports, comment etc.

To supporters in this country who regularly attend games and are as bitter and twisted as I?

Well, if our last experience of the Premiership was anything to go by, it means stupid kick-off times for Sky; a few thousand extra Jonny-come-latelys who will be gone when the s*** hits the fan and having your bottle caps confiscated when you go into the ground.

We've missed out on this 120m windfall, but what genuine football supporter thinks of that? It's about the majesty of lining up at Old Trafford (before being tonked), of hosting the greats of world football at crumbly old Vicarage Road and so on.

The money will still be there next season; the domestic broadcast rights for the Premier League are worth 1bn a season for the next three years.

If we go up, we'll get a nice juicy slice of that. If we go up in three years time, I would hazard a guess those figures will have risen again.

But that isn't how supporters think. Chief Executives and directors are paid to think like that, but for me being in the Premier League means every Tom, Dick & Harry suddenly becomes a Watford 'fan' and has an opinion on the club's affairs.

It means getting to the ground ludicrously early or queuing up to get into the Vic'.

It means getting your backside handed to you most weeks of the season before some kindly soul loses to you in order to provide enough sustenance to see you through until the next win.

That is a rather defeatist view of course, and I do feel we'd be better prepared for the top-flight now than we were in either 1999 or 2006, but nevertheless, beating the Championship out of sight will be much more fun than surviving on the final day of the Premier League.

On top of all that, you have the loan situation. We might have been denied this year - no doubt to the delight of the Football League et al - but how much sweeter will it be to win promotion with Almen Abdi and co. pulling the strings as permanent Watford players?

Of course, one or two might have put themselves in the shop window by excelling this term and get a move to a bigger club - good luck to them.

They won't be sold unless the Pozzo family get a good price and the only one who I would suggest could fetch a sum which would justify his sale would be Matej Vydra.

Sure, he's an excellent finisher, and his overall game has come on over the duration of the season, but if a player wants to test themselves at a higher level, there's little point standing in their way.

This team has been hastily cobbled together and massively over-achieved, regardless of their individual abilities. Another season at this level is exactly what the side needs.

Keep the faith.

Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Tuesday May 28 2013
Time: 10:07AM

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