My last visit to Vicarage Road was back in 2003, when I was living in London and it was the local match for one of my Forest supporting friends. With my two Spanish housemates in tow, we took our seats in the away end. I had been to Vicarage Road before, when goals from Stern John and David Johnson secured a 2-1 victory in Paul Hart’s first season in charge.
Having failed in the previous season’s play-offs, Forest were playing turgid football and were mired in mid-table; the likes of Scimeca and Brennan replaced with Gunnarsson and Sonner, and the loss of David Johnson to a broken leg meant that goals were hard to come by. The match was far from memorable, Fitzgerald scoring for Watford after 73 minutes, and after a bit of plugging away, Andy Reid scored with a far post header in the 90th minute. Hard-fought and a hard-won point.
So if the match was so poor, why do I remember this match so well? It was partly because my Spanish flatmates had wanted to come with me to the match (one Real Madrid fan, one Barcelona fan), and I felt terrible that they paid good money to watch this tosh. However, it was mainly because of the half-time entertainment that this match sticks in my mind, which was a penalty shoot-out between two boys’ teams. So far, so unremarkable, except that the referee for the shoot-out was possibly the most portly man you have ever seen. He was about 5’10″ tall, and about 4′ wide! As the shoot-out took place in front of the away fans, the man in the middle was getting a suitable amount of stick. One of the boys’ did not endear himself to the Reds’ support, as after scoring, he pulled up his shirt to reveal a Watford top. Us Reds quickly adopted the other team, who ended up winning the shoot-out – result!
At the end of the shoot-out, the ref was subject to the usual chants; he was revelling in it, and came right in front of the away fans, and during a chant of “Who ate all the pies?” pulled a large pie out of his pocket and then took a great big bite, before dancing off. This actually provided the basis for my match report on the official site (something I used to do quite often).
Update: Due to the passage of time, the report is no longer available on the official site. Boo. The nearest I can give is a flavour of the report on the site search page.
In (totally unrelated) other news, apparently Sammy Clingan still plays for Forest!