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There were nine agonising days between Watford’s gripping 3-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday and the final game of the season against Hull City.

In that time, Watford could only watch and wait for Swansea, Swindon, Shrewsbury and Gillingham to play their matches.

By the time Hull arrived, Watford lay third in the table and knew that a win would be enough to secure a second successive promotion.

It had been a close fight between half a dozen teams but they held their destiny in their own hands. Graham Taylor trusted his men to get it done.

Roared on by the biggest crowd to watch a league match at Vicarage Road since 1969, Watford started well.

Roger Joslyn put them ahead after just ten minutes, which went a little way to settling the nerves and stoked the carnival atmosphere.

There was to be a nervous wait for confirmation, though. Watford played well but they couldn’t quite see off the Tigers until the hour mark.

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Ross Jenkins scored his 29th league goal of the season to give the home side some breathing space.

Luther Blissett earned a penalty when he was chopped down in the box. Ian Bolton shaped like he was going to opt for power and then coolly slotted the kick past the keeper to make it 3-0.

That, surely, would be enough.

Bolton turned to all four sides of the ground, thumping his fist on his chest to mimic his beating heart.

There had been some sticky moments during the season, not least a 3-0 defeat at home to Colchester on Good Friday, but nothing could stop Watford now.

Blissett rounded off a comprehensive win towards the end and the fans celebrated and sang for the remaining ten minutes. The team did a victorious lap of honour for the second May in a row and the fans headed to the town centre for the inaugural party in the pond.

Although the council reported sternly that two pike had died during the celebrations, it was to become a local tradition.

Watford topped the table that night and although Shrewsbury pipped them to the title by winning their last match, the Hornets were going up.

Watford Sherwood, Stirk, Harrison, Booth, Bolton, Garner, Blissett, Train, Jenkins, Joslyn, Downes.
Manager Graham Taylor
Scorers Joslyn 10, Jenkins 61, Bolton pen 70, Blissett 78
Attendance 26,347

Why was this match chosen? Fear had set in that Watford were going to blow it but this emphatic victory in front of a big crowd meant Graham Taylor had hauled the club out of the lower divisions as quickly as he possibly could have.

How do I feel about this game's inclusion now? It's a game that really was pivotal. One of several sliding doors moments in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It's easy now to think that if Watford had somehow conspired to lose to Hull and had missed out on promotion, Taylor would have still steered the club to the top, but who knows? The course of history might have been very different.