Watford 0-0 Real Sociedad
By Andy Lewers, Digital Editor, Tales From.
Watford's final game of preseason was against Real Sociedad, in a match to commemorate the life of Graham Taylor, who needs no introduction.
The Rookery End was decorated with shirts and scarves donated by supporters to create an impressive display.
Thankfully shortly before kick off the sun came out, which made for a perfect afternoon for some long-awaited football at The Vic.
Before kick off there was a lovely tribute to GT from John Motson and a minute's applause from the players and fans.
The visitors had the better chances during the first half, with Gomes having to be on hand several times in the opening 20 minutes to keep the scores level.
Watford couldn't get a hold on the game and struggled to keep possession, whilst Sociedad attacked the goal at the Rookery, in front of the GT display.
With five minutes to go before half time, Gomes was needed again to save a volley from Illarramendi to keep the scores level heading into the break.
At half time a number of GT's former players and staff did a lap around the pitch, with Luther leading the tributes by holding up a sign that read 'we're sorry' on one side and '#ThankYouGT' on the other. It was reminiscent of when GT famously apologised to fans by walking out to the halfway line before a game and holding up a sign saying 'I'm sorry...'.
Second half and it was a much more positive display from the
Cleverley had a perfect chance to get a shot away as he raced clear on goal, but his touch was too heavy and gave the keeper enough time to run out and claim the loose ball.
Pereyra then came close to replicating his famous goal against Leicester last season. Cutting in from the left he curled the ball towards goal, only this time it sailed wide of the post. We'll put that down to preseason rustiness...
Watford should have been one up after 52 minutes, as Okaka met an Amrabat cross to head into the goal, but the linesman flagged for offside. A confusing decision, to say the least, though it's nice to know that somethings may never change.
On 72 minutes Vicarage Road rose as one to remember GT, with the Graham Taylor Stand and the Sir Elton John Stand combining for another minute's applause.
A half chance from Amrabat was well held by the Sociedad keeper before Success should have scored with just three minutes to go. A cross from the right wasn't dealt with and it landed perfectly at the feet of the Nigerian at the back post, somehow though, Isaac sent his shot way over the bar and shortly after the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the game.
As the game ended goalless, the Graham Taylor Trophy was shared between the two clubs, with a short presentation following the final whistle.
Plenty of positives to take from this match ahead of the
Liverpool game next week. Yes, there are still some transfers to be made, but
going forward we looked a threat during the second half, with Okaka leading the
This game wasn't about the result though. It wasn't about the formation, the players etc. It was about GT and, more importantly, celebrating his life and all that he did for the club and the town.
Those at the club who helped organise and contribute towards the day deserve a huge pat on the back, the attention to detail and the care and time involved was excellent and clear to see.
It's not often a man like Graham Taylor enters your football club and there's nothing more to say that hasn't already been said.
Except, perhaps, emphasising that there is only one Graham Taylor.