12th January - 23rd February 2002 at Watford Museum
GOAL-DEN YEARS, 1977-1987
Re-live the excitement of Graham Taylor's first period in charge of Watford Football Club through this exhibition of memorabilia and memories
"Graham Taylor - hard taskmaster or genius"
By Paul Baker

In August 1981, I was lucky enough to be asked to be linesman for a pre-season friendly between Watford and Northampton Town. This match was purely arranged to monitor the fitness levels of the teams and was therefore played behind closed doors.

The kickoff was at 12:00 and the temperature on Monday 24th August was about 85° F. The game was generally very poor and Watford won 1 - 0 due to an own-goal by a Northampton defender. As this was still in the days before 'sports science' and players didn't attempt to re-hydrate themselves with water during the game, it was very noticeable that in the last 20 minutes, most of the Northampton team looked shattered and were constantly asking the referee how much longer there was to go in the game.

Eventually, the game finished and the players and officials went for a shower and a light lunch. The Northampton squad left quickly as they were totally exhausted.

To my amazement, the Watford squad ate their lunches and discussed who was likely to win that afternoons cross country race. The moral of the story was that Watford were promoted to the First Division for the first time in their history and Northampton finished 22nd in the Third Division.

The players may not have appreciated the hard training demanded of them by Graham, but the success that he led Watford to was total vindication to his methods.

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