Passing the 52-point mark - universally agreed as ensuring that relegation is all but mathematically impossible - on Saturday was certainly a great relief, even if we did it in rather strange circumstances. Last season it took us until late April, so celebrating Championship Survival Day* in mid-March is a great improvement.
And there’s much more than that to celebrate, too. Leaving aside the imminent takeover - which may, if nothing else, lead to the Vicarage Road pitch being relaid - we currently have a club that seems to be functioning well at almost every level, from the CEO to the youngest youth trainees. It’s been particularly heartwarming to see the contribution Watford’s youngsters have made this season, from Marvin Sordell’s goals to Matty Whichelow’s impact as a substitute and Adam Thompson’s confident performances at the back. It’s a sign of how well the system is working that the likes of Ross Jenkins and Lee Hodson are viewed almost as veterans these days, despite being 20 and 19 respectively.
So now we can relax a little and enjoy the rest of the season. As I wrote a few months ago, it really wouldn’t be a good thing for us to get promoted, but a final league placing of around ninth or tenth, which is eminently achievable, would represent a successful season for a club of such limited means. It would also tie in with Graham Taylor’s oft-stated, and admirably realistic, ambition for Watford to establish itself as “a top-30 club in English football”.
*All ideas for a better name gratefully received…