Video of the Day: West Bromwich Albion vs Watford, April 1983
This weekend’s Premier League match between Watford and West Bromwich Albion falls quite squarely into that category of matches that we might consider “dead rubbers.” Both of the teams competing have already done enough to ensure that relegation isn’t going to be troubling their minds over the last few weeks of the season, whilst the possibility of European qualification is also beyond both clubs, for this season. And for today’s video we’re going all the way back to the corresponding fixture from – more or less – this weekend, thirty-three years ago.
Watford were heading for Europe for the first time in the club’s history, in the spring of 1983. The Hornets’ first season in the top flight of English football hadn’t really seen a championship challenge – on this particular morning, Liverpool were sixteen points clear at the top of the First Division table and would go on to lift the title by eleven – but the year before’s Second Division runners-up made this trip to the Black Country in second place in the table, ahead of Manchester United, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. A notable achievement for a first ever season in the top flight.
West Bromwich Albion, meanwhile, were showing signs of being on something of a downward slide following the excitement of the team that Ron Atkinson built. Atkinson had departed for Old Trafford in the summer of 1981 and Albion hadn’t quite regained their poise since his departure. They remained, however, a solid mid-table side and tricky test for a Watford team that was aiming to consolidate its place in the First Division and claim a place in te UEFA Cup for the following season. Commentary at The Hawthorns comes from Peter Brackley.
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