By Brian Sears
6 January 2011
Regular readers will know I am a Watford fan. No, no, it’s okay, I don’t need your sympathy today. Not at all.
I mean, have you seen the Championship table? Have you seen it? SIXTH! And not only that, sixth on the back of a handful of wins on the bounce. Five of the blighters.
In reverse order, Scunthorpe (2-1 away), Pompey (3-0 at home), Cardiff (4-1, home), QPR (3-1, away) and Leicester (3-2, home), all blown away like so much fairy dust at the bottom of a discarded Christmas tree.
I believe that even the hardest heart has to agree that these are anything but piffling wins. Oh no. These were five plump and juicy victories against some of the toughest teams in the world’s most competitive division.
Forgive my statto’s indulgence, but it’s not often that my very own club puts its head above the statistical parapet. That run of five straight league wins is a rarity, certainly a thing that doesn’t happen every season, or even every other, at least not to my club.
Now the FA Cup is putting its oar in to disrupt Watford’s flow, just when we’re on a roll. Just when we’ve overcome the vagaries of the Glanford Park floodlighting system that thrice threatened darkness would prevent Scunthorpe being our fifth successive scalps to add to the Foxes, QPR (were you watching, Luton Town?), Cardiff and the Pomp. And there’s nearly a fortnight before Derby step out at Vicarage Road.
So how often does a wonder like five straight wins occur for a club like Watford? After all, we’ve known the ups and downs of post-war football, playing at every level in the Football League and for two seasons in the Premier League. I set out to glance through the 2,886 league games played since the cessation of the Second World War, thinking five or more straight wins would be rare indeed.
In actual fact I was surprised by the stats, not for the first time I might add. (By rule of thumb I’m moderately pleased with the stats around 42 per cent of the time, pleasantly surprised 39 per cent of the time, jolly excited 11 per cent of the time, cock-a-hoop six per cent, and downright gobsmacked for the balance.)
This is the 16th time Watford have had five wins in a row in the 65 seasons since the war. And of those times, four runs have stretched to six, and two to seven. We have a run of five about every four seasons, and I guess that might well be true for your club too. If so, and you have the numbers to back it up, then do let me know and I can write about it!
There was even one memorable season, I now see, when we had a run of five, seven and five in the same campaign. That was 1977-78. We won the Fourth Division. Happy days.