When you have 12,000 season ticket holders renew from the 13,500 you had at the end of one of the most awful campaigns in club history, it shows just how committed, loyal and resilient Watford supporters are.
New head coach Rob Edwards is well aware of the need to give them a team and a set of performances that make them proud again.
“I think any football fan that takes the time and pays their money to come and watch you play football wants to see a totally committed team. They want to see players who are giving absolutely everything. As the head coach, I also want to see that, ”he said.
“The supporters want to be entertained, and I want our team to entertain them. To be fair, I know there are many Watford fans who are so committed to the club they will watch each of the 46 league games, so I can’t promise that all 46 will be fully entertaining! There might be the odd Tuesday night or cold Saturday afternoon that aren’t right up there. But I think fans understand that and they’ll forgive you if they see the commitment is there. ”
And if it’s attacking football and goals you like, then it you’ll enjoy what Edwards is aiming to deliver.
“I want to attack teams. I want to score goals, ”he said. “Clearly you’ve got to stop them at the other end, but with an organized and committed team you can do both of those.
“I expect our players to show heart and compassion, and commitment, and I believe fans like to see that too. I want players who are prepared to take risks, and a team that reacts the right way when things go wrong or we make mistakes. ”
The head coach said he wants to remove fear from the Hornets players, as he knows that affected his own performances when he was a player.
“I encourage players to go out and express themselves on the pitch,” he explained. “I think back to when I played as a defender, at times I went onto the pitch with fear. I was worried about making mistakes. That didn ‘ t bring the best out of me and I don’t want my players to feel that way. I want them to be confident to try things and not be scared of failure.
“We have to learn to live with mistakes and failure, because they happen to all of us. As long as they are honest mistakes and we learn from them, and we react the right way, then we’re fine. The most important thing for a player is to go out on the pitch knowing their role, knowing we’re organized and that they can play with the freedom and confidence to take risks.
“I believe Watford fans want to see a team that attacks, is organized, that plays with bravery and above all else is committed to Watford Football Club. That is definitely the message that will be coming across from me and my team of coaches. We will be driving that home every day in training. ”
Of course when the fixtures were released on Thursday there will have been two that all Watford fans went searching for – the trip up the M1 and Luton’s visit to Vicarage Road.
“When I was joining the club I read a bit about the rivalry and I understand how important it is,” said Edwards. “I’ve been involved in some really great derby games and there isn’t anything quite like it. It adds something extra special.
“I’m looking forward to those two particular games already and you don’t need to worry: the players will be up for those fixtures.”