For years, I’ve heard Watford fans complaining about the noise level inside Vicarage Road. Yesterday, it would have been the neighbours complaining.
In the 59th minute, when Ighalo slotted, sound exploded from all four sides of the ground. Birds flew in fright. Children burst into tears. I think a little bit of blood came out of my ears.
It was brilliant.
As home fans, we’d been waiting almost exactly four hours for our first home goal in the Premier League. There was a lot of stuff pent up inside us: pride, hope, expectation, anxiety. It came out as pure noise.
It was as if Roy Moore and the 1881 had planned the moment. “You see, most fans, you know, will be shouting at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten. Where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Put it up to eleven. One louder.”
After the goal, the noise didn’t stop. The Rookery bounced and boomed. The old lady three seats along from me was roaring at the pitch like a WWE wrestler.
We kept the noise up when we went down to ten men. We kept it up when seven minutes of time were added. Then came the final deafening eruption. The attendance was 20,057 and it sounded like that many decibels.
You know you’ve had a good afternoon at the football when your ears ring all the way home.
When the final whistle blew, the noise sounded like an aeroplane taking off. But it wasn’t. It was our season taking off.