Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 10.04.20.png

The clock said 9.26pm when the final whistle went. After 91 years, Watford could finally call themselves a First Division club.

Promotion had been on the cards since the early part of the spring but a sticky run in early April meant all the usual doubts came flooding back.

Graham Taylor steadied the ship and urged his players to reach out and grab their slice of history.

Vicarage Road was all set for one of those special Tuesday nights under lights when Wrexham came to visit.

The Welsh side were unlikely to be a pushover because they were in danger of slipping into the bottom three.

A sense of anticipation surrounded Watford. Even the cover of the match programme seemed to be loaded with metaphor. Gerry Armstrong and Steve Sims looked as if they were queuing for admittance to the First Division. With games against Leicester and Derby still to go, everyone expected Watford to do enough in their last three matches but no one was counting their chickens.

It was with beautiful symmetry that the two goals which completed the Hornets’ run from the Fourth Division to the First came from Ross Jenkins, one of the few who had been there every step of the way.

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 10.04.27.png

The anxiety in the final minutes was agonising. One-nil up with so much at stake, it was one of the rare occasions when Taylor was happy to see his team run down the clock.

In the last minute, as Watford played for time on the right wing, Jenkins got the ball in the box and turned to smash a low shot towards the far post.

The Wrexham goalkeeper’s clumsy attempt to gather the powerfully-struck ball was calamitous. It bounced off his arms and in.

That sealed it. The journey had taken five years and, although there had been the odd bump along the way, for the most part it had been pure joy, the most glorious period in the club’s history.

Little did Watford’s fans realise but this was not the end of the journey, it was just a new beginning.

The club’s status had been altered for good. The lower divisions would no longer be considered Watford’s natural habitat. No wonder the party in the pond lasted well into the night.

Watford Sherwood, Rice, Rostron, Taylor, Sims, Bolton, Callaghan, Blissett, Jenkins, Lohman, Barnes
Manager Graham Taylor
Scorers Jenkins 33, 89
Attendance 20,028
promotion programmes.jpg