Was there ever a football ground with less festive spirit than The Den? Cold Blow Lane, the road leading down to an unwelcoming stadium, could not have been more aptly named.
The prospect of a Boxing Day visit to Millwall was about as inviting as reaching into the bottom of your Christmas stocking and finding something damp and unpleasant.
But if Millwall’s fans could be menacing towards visiting teams and supporters, they could be absolutely savage to their own players.
Watford were having trouble of their own at home. With the crowd quick to grumble, confidence was low.
Here, they played with fluidity and verve. The first goal came after half an hour when Lee Nogan was pulled down as he tried to make a run into the area. Gary Porter curled the free-kick into the net. Shortly afterwards, David James produced a sensational save. John McGinlay hit a dipping volley from 30 yards and James flung himself at full stretch to tip the ball round the post.
It was the sort of acrobatics that impressed Liverpool, who signed James, still only 21, for £1.25million the following summer.
Steve Butler, who was only in the team because Luther Blissett had complained of chest pains during training on Christmas Day, scored the second with a neatly placed lob.
Jason Drysdale added the third after Watford carved through the Millwall defence. Darren Bazeley got to the byline, paused for the perfect pass and then found Drysdale unmarked in the area.
Millwall’s fans then turned on their team. As the Watford supporters cheered every one of their team’s passes, the Millwall supporters booed their own players.
When their goalkeeper, Keith Branagan, rushed out of his area and hauled down Andy Hessenthaler, the Millwall fans joined in with Watford’s chants of ‘off, off, off’. They booed when the referee showed only a yellow card.
While there was not much Christmas cheer on the terraces, there was plenty of generosity on the pitch. The Lions allowed Butler to score his second towards the end of the game.
Watford James, Gibbs, Drysdale, Dublin, Holdsworth, Solomon, Hessenthaler, Nogan (Bazeley 50), Butler, Porter, Nicholas (Putney 85)
Manager Steve Perryman
Scorers Porter 31, Butler 35, 83, Drysdale 57
Why was this match chosen? If you think Millwall's current Den is inhospitable, it has nothing on their old ground. It's hard to imagine many worse places to spend Boxing Day, or many better results.
How do I feel about this game's inclusion now? It remains one of the greatest festive results – the equivalent of turning up uninvited, opening all the presents, drinking all the booze and making off with all the pigs in blankets.