Memory Lane: Fulham 5-0 Watford (2000-01)

If I said 5-0 it will probably trigger nightmares in the younger generation of our fans and remind them of the last time the Hornets came calling. The TV cameras were there to record another low point in our fall from grace as Marcus Bettinelli’s early sending off and buffet (help yourself) defending helped Watford run riot. A pyjama bottom clad Gabor Kiraly emerging as Bettinelli’s replacement only added to the farcical nature that night.

However, fret not children; those of us of slightly more vintage years recall a much nicer 5-0 on Boxing Day 2000. Tigana’s Maestros had started the season like a train with 11 straight wins but what most recall is Watford had a similar start and after 13 games led us by a point at the top. By Christmas though they were slumping fast as we surged ahead. In an effort to rekindle their promotion push and to motivate his players, Graham Taylor compared his side to us as being the best sides in the Division. It only served to motivate us though, as we demonstrated we were in a different class. A Louis Saha penalty and Andrejs Stolcers sandwiched a Barry Hayles hat trick to offer us a very welcome extra Christmas present and probably cause Taylor to reconsider his opinion.

Incidentally for those still having nightmares about Kiraly and the 5-0 defeat don’t worry too much. Watford’s manager that night was a certain Mr Jokanovic.

Quotes from fans

Scrapyard57 ‏(@Scrapyard57)

“Was at the game with my Dad in the Johnny Haynes stand near the Cottage. Great banter with Watford fans who were waving giant replica UK passports covers at Mo during his pre-match walkabout. Hayles hat-trick and Cookies last home game before his car crash injury, I think.”

Neil Dudgeon ‏(@dudgeon_neil)

“It was the Boxing Day game at the Cottage, Fulham (1st) v Watford (2nd). The previous Boxing Day Fulham drew with Ipswich 0-0 in a blizzard. Terrible game. I took my (now) wife who hated every second and declined my invitation to come the next year for the 5-0. Her loss.”

Lee Simpson ‏(@Lee_Simo89)

“Was there with my old man, sat next to some woman who was wearing high heels, after the 3rd goal I didn’t want us to score anymore. My legs and feet were cut to shreds where she had been celebrating!”

Andrew Johnson ‏(@AJohnsonuk)

“I took my then girlfriend to that game and she got bored. That’s when I realised that we wouldn’t last, and of course, we split soon after.”

Kevin Marron ‏(@kmarron)

“Stolcers scored…”

Marion Fountayne‏ ‏(@marionfountayne)

“A Barry Hayles header amongst his hat trick. I’ll just say that again… A Barry Hayles HEADER”

Rob Slaughter‏ (@RobSlaughter7)

“I’m sure I remember Graham Taylor being rather ungracious in the build-up (shades of Souness later that year), so Fulham fans rather enjoyed the way the team took Watford apart.”

Vincent Leyenda ‏(@vleyenda9)

“What a day! I was only a kid and I remember it being cold, but it always is by the river. Me and the family always stood at the back of the Hammy end. Watford were one of the top teams and favourites at the start of the season for promotion, so we didn’t expect an easy game, little did we know! That season we were untouchable and games like Watford showed just how good we were and we were a Premier League side playing in Division One. Hayles was on fire, he deserved a hat-trick although I’m sure one of his goals should have been credited to Louis as it looked like it crossed the line before Barry headed it home. I also remember a quality finish from Andrejs Stolcers. I was at his debut at West Brom in which he scored and really thought he was going to be amazing for us but he never seemed to get a run in the team.”

Monopoly Dog‏ (@DogMonopoly)

“I was 10 years old, most of my friends were Watford fans and it was delicious going into school the next day. My friend is a Watford fan and he was sat in the away end; his Dad was a neutral and for whatever reason came in with us. He’s had a bet on the game, Fulham 4-0 Watford and we were understandably excited until Andrejs Stolcers’ shot trickled over the line! I don’t remember much from the game but I do remember the fifth goal; or to be precise, frantically waving, shouting and even attempting to blow the ball away from the goal!”

Ben Webb (@webby197)

“I remember Watford being massive favourites to win the game and the league. Carlton Palmer was making his Watford debut but we blew them away that day with a brilliant team performance and then went on to storm the league. This was the changing game of the season”

David Goodsell (@David_1879)

“I went to almost every game home and away that season with my Dad, I remember us bumping into some buoyant Watford fans in a motorway service station somewhere, in October or November. It was a good-natured encounter, they were a bit cocky and we let them have their say. Just ended it with a quietly confident ‘Yeah, we’ll see’. Just happy to let our Football speak for itself, we knew how good we were and had no fear of anyone, and no doubt about that team at all.”

Russ Noble (@noble_r1)

“Hayles hat trick. Best Boxing Day ever. Enough said. #COYW”

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