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Still minding the gap at Watford - random memories of taking on the Hornets

By Lee Ryder on Feb 24, 10 01:35 PM

Remember the last time we won a league game at Watford?

As a young lad delivering papers around the concrete jungle that is Shiremoor, the morning Newcastle United travelled to Watford a native proclaimed: "They've had it if they don't win today mind."

He had a point.

An ageing Newcastle side were struggling to make the cut in the old Second Division.

Turn the clock back to the 1990/91 season.

Appleby Park

St James' Park was far from the world class venue it is today, Sunderland were in the above division with Mackem misery to come in abundance on final day relegation at the old Maine Road, Mick Quinn was a God on Tyneside with a bandage on his right hand (caused at the time by supposedly making a corned beef sandwich) the old Appleby Park was still standing in all its glory in North Shields and Whitley Bay FC romped to the HFS Loans League Division One title with John Carver and Paul Ferris as star players, those were the days!

You could even watch Saint and Greavise before you set off for the match and Paul Gascoigne was probably the best player on the planet!

And this was number 1 in the charts

Newcastle were underachieving in the early 1990s, there was no money and Jim Smith was manager was close to the sack.

However, the Magpies still managed a 2-1 victory in 1991.

Quinn was on the scoresheet and John 'Ando' Anderson looked more Brazilian than Fumaca ever did when he curled home a free-kick to help net the points - get in, play-off dream back on?

Well not likely, but that was Newcastle United then, they soon faded and finished a whopping 10 points behind even a play-off place when even seventh squeezed into the end of season showdown.

Smith left soon after the win at Watford, and the play-off dream quickly crumbled even with football genius Ossie Ardiles in charge complete with a diamond that didn't last forever with teenage kids thrown into the team and struggling to live up to the massive and perhaps unrealistic expectations on the terraces.

We've been back to Vicarage Road since of course, the last time being a real farce.

Without dredging it all up too much, Glenn Roeder had been sacked with a game to go, Obafemi Martins stormed off before the game, Charlie N'Zogbia stormed out because of it (and sent a text at the team meeting) and to cap it all off Michael Owen was stretchered off after colliding with his own player in Matty Pattison.

Great.

Now taking on Watford we go there in better sprits - if not better shape.

The 2007 version of this fixture resulted in Newcastle going into the game in mid-table which had been enough to get Roeder the sack, just weeks after winning the first leg of a European semi-final 4-2 against Alkmaar and having a foot in the quarter-finals having WON the Intertoto Cup!

OK, it was hardly the glory days but would you take it now?

Would you take mid-table next season?

And as we make the long journey to Hertfordshire for the latest clash with the Hornets, life on Tyneside is never dull.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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