Whose Life is it Anyway? - Watford vs. Hull City Review (Jack Foster)
The above title refers to a movie about a man with chronic kidney failure who wishes to be discharged from the hospital to die. The main theme explored has to do with the morality surrounding his desire to die and who, if anyone, should intervene in that decision. I was reminded of this movie while watching Watford’s match against Hull City. At this point in the season, fans have given up on promotion dreams despite it still being mathematically possible. While that is not encouraging, it is still expected that a team with a chance at promotion would give everything it had to achieve this goal. Yet it seems that the Watford players had similarly low expectations of themselves. Hull City entered this game with their fate of remaining in the Championship already sealed. Unsurprisingly, they approached this game with a similar lack of energy. Any fan who watched this game witnessed two teams who wanted the season to be over, yet one of those teams still had a grasp on its goal and let it slip away. After suffering this 1-0 defeat, Watford can now only make the playoffs by winning their final games with a massive goal difference and hoping that the teams ahead of them collapse.
Fans began to suspect the team’s lack of ambition when the squads were announced before kickoff. Chris Wilder made only two changes from the team which lost embarrassingly to Cardiff City three days earlier. In fact, the team selection had felt stale for weeks on end. A common theme of this season has been the club’s insistence to keep throwing the same solutions at their problems. Veteran players brought in to boost the team to promotion such as Keinan Davis and Hamza Choudhury have not brought their advertised value to the squad. Meanwhile, promising untapped young players such as Henrique Araujo, Tobi Adeyemo and Adrian Blake have been confined to the bench and training ground. Blake was brought along with the squad to Hull but was not named in the team. Even young players who have established some foothold, such as Yaser Asprilla, don’t see the pitch very much. As a result, the performances feel increasingly fatigued. Most of the aforementioned veterans will presumably leave the club in the summer, and they seem to be looking forward to it. Whenever a younger player does manage to break into the team, there is finally a spark of energy and some level of positive performance. As the players on the pitch prove to us over and over again that they don’t have the passion to fight for the badge, it becomes increasing sad to see young talent wasting away in the reserves.
To some extent, I’m delaying talking about the game itself because it feels as though there’s very little to say. In the most painfully poetic fashion, the highly-ridiculed Ozan Tufan scored Hull’s only goal of the match, pouring salt into the club’s countless open wounds. Watford created just two dangerous chances that I can recall, but otherwise the team looked more interested in going back to bed.
This brings me back to the question posed in the title. Watford fans have followed this team through thick and thin, and the disaster that has unfolded before us this season has drawn ire. Not only are the performances disheartening, but management now seems to be cracking down on dissent from the fanbase. For the past few weeks, banners that call for Gino Pozzo to leave the club have been confiscated, and protestors removed from the ground. It seems that the current regime want to be left to their own devices without input of the fans. If the players want to give up on this current season, there is little we can do to stop them. The thing is… those players will leave. Chris Wilder likely won’t return next season. Every member of the current management will eventually disappear. After all of that, the fans still remain. That is what has earned us the moniker of “The Original Family Club", and it’s why a trip to Vicarage Road is enjoyable regardless of the team’s form. The club is ours and must not be sabotaged by the apathy of some players looking for a quick payday and an owner who wants nothing to do with us. Through the end of this season and beyond, we must make it known that we will not go quietly.