Watford probably should have scored ten. Into his third full season at the helm, Ken Furphy was on the verge of crafting a team capable of reaching Division Two. Not much longer to wait now. Be patient.
In the Sixties, Vicarage Road wasn’t quite a fortress but it was becoming a very difficult place for opposition teams to visit under a man who would (for perhaps a decade) be considered the club's greatest ever manager for steering them into the Second Division for the first time.
Unbeaten at home since the opening day of the season, Watford were primed to give someone a good hiding. Grimsby Town were the ones on the receiving end. Dixie Hale, who arrived from Cardiff City during the summer, opened the scoring then Terry Garbett and Tony Currie hit the target. Stewart Scullion, the winger, was in superb form. Earlier that week, he had turned down a transfer to Sheffield United.
On his day, Scullion could turn a defence inside out and he was in particularly cruel form this afternoon. The Mariners’ defenders were unable to cope.
Currie, the 17-year-old striker, was another star in the making. He looked destined for greatness the moment he pulled on a gold shirt. He scored two on his league debut against Bristol Rovers, got a hat-trick against Peterborough in only his third start and then got another three against Grimsby. On February 1, he was gone, sold with indecent haste to the Blades for £26,500.
While Furphy was trying to arrange the goods to best effect, the chairman Jim Bonser was selling the assets out of the stock room’s back door.
Watford ripped into Grimsby early in the second half. Hale got his second, as did Garbett and then Currie followed suit. Grimsby did manage to get one goal but Currie completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes remaining.
Currie left before Watford had even had a chance to fully appreciate his gift. He went on to play for England. Scullion became a Hornets hero before he too was sold to Sheffield United.
While Furphy was still in the process of building his team it is interesting to look back and realise there was a player on the pitch that afternoon who was to have an even greater impact on Watford’s fortunes than him.
Grimsby’s left-back that day was a 23-year-old former schoolboy international called Graham Taylor. And the negative approach of his Grimsby boss, Don McEvoy, and perhaps even this hammering, were to influence his approach to the game when he became a manager.
Watford Slater, Welbourne, Williams, Hale, Garvey, Walley, Scullion, Currie, Garbett, Farrell, Lewis
Manager Ken Furphy
Scorers Hale 19, 46, Garbett 39, 54, Currie 44, 56, 75
Grimsby scorer Ross 60
Why was this match chosen? It was Watford's biggest victory of the 1960s, during a brief period when the teenage striker Tony Currie dazzled in gold before being sold. Scullion was also on song and his performance that afternoon received rave reviews in the press, even if he didn't get on the scoresheet himself.
How do I feel about this game's inclusion now? It was a genuine hammering, but as Graham Taylor joked when I asked him about it, 'Let's not give Watford too much credit, eh? We were as terrible as they were good.'