By Matt Rowson
I can remember a few things. Watching the UEFA Cup First Round draw on television, Dad telling me that we were going to the first game, wherever it was. Norway, Spain, Bulgaria, whatever, we'd be there. Kaiserslautern, then, was a bit of a lucky break. We'd relocated to Karlsruhe from England a couple of days after the 5-2 win over Luton; Kaiserslautern was a mere 40 miles up the road.
I can remember being at the game too, sort of. More of the peripheral stuff really than the game itself... the grinning disbelief that we were there, the implausibly young side which didn't turn out to be a problem in the end. Chinese whispers reaching us that Luther had made the trip up from Milan and was a couple of rows below us, the great man himself indulgently signing the memorial pennant that still hangs from my noticeboard. Of the football, I can just remember Jimmy Gilligan's goal, the goal that proved so valuable in the long run.
We didn't go home for the second leg (although my Aunt did send a programme, adorned with the vastly inferior autograph of Arsenal's Charlie Nicholas). In fact we didn't see any more of the UEFA Cup ties. It didn't seem to matter; as far as this ten year old was concerned Watford were a side that attacked with abandon, won most of the time and particularly upset fans of bigger clubs.
That it hadn't always been so, let alone the possibility that this might ever change, didn't enter into the equation at all...
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Kaiserslautern programme signed by Graham Taylor, Elton John and John Barnes.
Loaned by Chris Hyde.