Malky Mackay could be Watford manager by the time Norwich visit Vicarage Road on 10 December ? and I hope City fans who make the trip have a good look around.
The place is a decrepit shambles.
The ancient wooden stand (to your left as you sit in the away end…) is unsafe and so is empty on match days.
There are plans for a ?32 million redevelopment of the stadium, involving a deal with the hospital next door and building homes for “key workers” behind the Rous Stand (to your right from the away end…), but Watford fans should not hold their breath.
You see, Watford are skint, and that is the reason Malky might well get the job. He's “interim manager” following the termination of the contract of another former Norwich employee, Aidy Boothroyd, and Malky would be a cheap option.
Like anyone who cares about Norwich, I adore the big Scot, and not just because he made a habit of scoring against our neighbours. I remember his 90th minute goal at Carrow Road against Wolves in the play-off semi-final first leg in 2002 ? and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I recall his resolute resilience at the heart of our defence in the second leg.
That night I travelled on my own to Molineux.
I wore my lucky, but by then out-dated white “away” shirt, had the usual vocal skirmishes with the charmless locals on the way in, became the usual bag of nerves I always am before big City fixtures ? and then studied Malky and Flem during the warm-up and thought: “There is no way we will concede two goals…” Heavens, they were heroes that night.
When City eventually went up two years later, I was disappointed for Malky that he didn't come up with us. I understand the medical opinion given to the club was that he was unlikely to be able to avoid injuries. So he went to West Ham, made only 17 appearances in the season ? and again, was sold as soon as they won promotion.
When I left the EDP for Fleet Street 30 years ago, I moved just “north of Watford”, which is where Londoners think that civilization ends.
So Watford are my local club and I told all my neighbours that they had signed a legend. And I watched with no surprise at all as Malky established himself as a leading figure in Watford's community work. He was their “reading champion”, for instance.
Then, blow me, he helped win promotion. I thought that he would set an unwanted record of winning three promotions and never playing in the Premier League. But Watford kept him on and, at last, he made 13 starts in the top division.
By the end of the season, Malky was player-coach, and the first time I saw him in that role was in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Villa Park in April 2007. Boothroyd sat in the stand, near my seat in the Press Box.
Malky patrolled the technical area, with an earpiece and lip mike to talk to his boss. All went jolly well for seven minutes ? and then Wayne Rooney scored a belter. I watched Malky say something into his lip mike. I imagine it was on the lines of: “Now what do we do?”
I don't imagine Boothroyd had a sensible answer, because his tactical approach always seemed very limited. He was much admired when he took Watford up via the play-offs in his first season, but he turned into football's David Brent in the Premier League: spouting mottos and mantras as his team finished rock bottom.
What happened next has only been revealed since Boothroyd's departure. You can draw your own parallels and conclusions.
In the summer after relegation, Boothroyd, Watford chairman Graham Simpson and chief executive Mark Ashton met to discuss the budget for the first season back in the Football League.
Between them, they decided to “give it a crack”, according to Simpson. They decided to have one season's all-out attempt to get straight back up into the Premier League. They would keep wages at about the level they'd had in the Prem, and splash out as much as was needed to replace Marlon King, who'd left.
Simpson says that he made it clear at that meeting that, if they didn't get up at the first attempt, there would have to be drastic cut-backs at the end of the season.
Boothroyd told them that the man they needed to replace King was Nathan Ellington. So they paid ?3.5 million for him just before the transfer window closed. Presumably Boothroyd did not tell them that his tactical master-plan would be to send huge defender Danny Shittu lumbering up for corners, free-kicks and throw-ins.
Watford reached the play-offs but were crushed 6-1 over two legs by Hull. Ellington, who had scored only four goals in 34 Championship appearances, was loaned to Derby as Watford started the cost-cutting Simpson had warned about. Shittu, their best hope in defence and attack, left as well.
So too did Darius Henderson, their leading scorer.
Last season Watford were a half-decent team who played terrible football. This season, denuded of their best players, they became a poor team playing terrible football and Boothroyd had to go.
Two seasons earlier he had talked about himself as a potential England manager but, like almost every manager who takes a club into the Premier League but cannot stay there, he lost the affection of the fans and, eventually, of the board.
Those fans are not sure about Malky. They associate him with what they see as a failed regime. They argue that, under Boothroyd, Malky had some responsibility coaching the defence ? which, without Shittu has been alarmingly porous.
City fans will wish the big Scot well, except on 10 December.
The Watford team which went up in 2006 did so largely because of the form of goalkeeper Ben Foster.
The Hull team which beat Watford in the play-offs last season enjoyed an inspired campaign from Frazer Campbell. Foster and Campbell were on loan to the Championship sides.
The structure of the game in this country now means that the biggest and best pool of under-used, available talent is the plethora of outstanding players who are with Premier League clubs, but not first team regulars.
Should Norwich raid that pool as much as possible? That to me is the daftest question ever posed by City fans.
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