• Watford
  • Vicarage Road
  • Premiership
  • Saturday 11/7/20 @ 12.30pm
  • Live on Amazon


Having clearly written off the trip to Manchester as a bad job, Bruce takes his flip-flop wearing charges to Watford this Saturday, in a game that means immensely more to the home side than their visitors.

Make no mistake; this is what dreams are made of. We’re currently wrapped, warm & toasty in a Sports Direct sponsored blanket of safety. A trip to Hertfordshire for a game in an already dull, but now empty stadium just adds to the overall joie de vivre.

I neither like nor dislike our opponents. They’re just sort of, there. I recall Tim Lovejoy christening them ‘The glory hornet boys’ back in the days when Soccer AM was a thing. Whether this was a vain attempt at humour or he was trying to earn them some small modicum of identity, I honestly can’t remember. Either way, they just completely dull me out.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve enjoyed the novelty of some of the established bigger names having their pants pulled down with the indignity of relegation (well, you know, apart from us x 2). However, these days I’m bored with such lesser lights as Watford and Bournemouth just clogging up the top flight with their small town beige-ness. Give me matches against the likes of Wednesday and Forest. Bring back the needle of facing Dirty Leeds. Despite our sudden latter day, incomprehensible aversion to playing them, I even miss going toe to toe with the mackems.

The Vicarage Road club are hovering precariously just above the drop zone going into this one. Therefore, we’re back to a similar scenario as last week versus the Hammers. Our yellow clad hosts have much to play for, but mentally will this be their friend or foe? I watched a few portions of their last home game v Norwich and thought they looked well jittery. But for a last gasp ‘Gazza Euro 96, semi final stretch & miss’ moment they could’ve had to disastrously settle for just a point, and couldn’t have argued too much had that been the outcome.

I know this is supposed to be a preview, but tbh, after Wednesday night’s five goal pumping I can’t be arsed to talk too much about this match. I’m gonna once more leave the nitty gritty to ‘The TF Special’ lads. I’d imagine we’ll bring a few of our better players back, and you’d hope they try to give it more of a go. I do think our extended season may have already engaged neutral, though.

In the dugouts this weekend, it’s all a bit Brent versus Partridge. The #FOSB* won’t agree (in particular, his turbo-tweeting lovechild from the Telegraph) but wor Steve is clearly more a ‘chilled out entertainer’ than a master tactician. And Pearson? Well, he reminds me of an irate PE teacher I used to know. However, his jaw dropping press conference capitulation a few years back was vintage Alan. If you’ve never seen it, I urge you to google ‘Nigel Pearson ostrich.’ Believe me, if you’re a fan of North Norfolk FM’s finest, you’ll thank me.

Like many of our players, I wish this season would just fuck off now. We’re free to set our lowly sights on another tortuous campaign of attempted top flight survival (if the QPL* get their way, that is). Therefore, our remaining games have more than a whiff of ‘pre season friendly’ about them. The ghostly backdrop of empty seats and canned crowd noise only add to this moribund aura.

For what it’s worth, I think we’ll get turned over on Saturday. We’ve ever been a ‘port in a storm’ and can feel another ‘groundhog day’ fast approaching. I think it’ll be as dull as ditchwater and that our hosts’ desperation for a potentially life saving three points, will see them nick it by the odd goal.

Like you all, I fervently pray for better days, brothers and sisters.

*Friends of Steve Bruce – a strange ‘old boys’ network, with an irrational dislike of Rafa Benítez, who steadfastly continue to be blinded by facts.

*The Qatari Premier League. Formerly, the EPL.

Nick Clark