I HAVE spent so long writing this book on Watford's Golden Boys, I no longer have a valued judgment. You can get so close to something, you lose perspective and it was somewhat refreshing the other day, to pick up the chapter on Stewart Scullion and read it.

I wrote it back in March, nudged it and tweaked it through April and then filed it. Reading the final proofs, I was quite impressed with what I had done, which is a rare thing in journalism, believe me.

You write something, correct it, perhaps improve it and then it goes in the paper. Months or even years later you come across it and immediately spot something you should have seen in the first place: an awkward sentence, the repeated use of a word in the same paragraph, whatever.

Well, the article on Scully was quite encouraging to my mind but when I got to the chapter on Big Cliff I was disappointed. Had I really done him justice?

Trefor Jones handed me back the proofs the other day and explained: 'That is because you have done profiles and obituaries on Cliff before. It is familiar territory. Actually it comes over well but putting together your reflections on Scully is relatively new ground, so it seems fresher to you."

He has a point, I suppose.

When I was looking up various nuggets for the Golden Boys book, I turned to my Centenary History. I started to read pages, instead of focusing on a particular paragraph of information.

Now, when I wrote that book, I lived it morning, noon and night. I would finish around 10.30pm and head for home and be back in the office by seven in the morning, working on it for another couple of hours before I started my day-job.

Then there were the proofs, the corrections and re-reading the entire book. I was relieved it seemed to go down well but it was not until the other month that I started to read chunks of it and felt it read quite well.

That may sound boastful, but, when you think of it, I write things that I would like to read, so even in that respect, the judgment is subjective.

Well, for those who read the Centenary Book, there is a list of the all-time top 20 players to appear for Watford.

The list was compiled in 1991 and included Fred Sargent, Walter Coles, Johnny Goodall, Skilly Williams, Charlie White, Fred Pagnam, Tommy Barnett, Arthur Woodward, Taffy Davies, Frank Mitchell, Maurice Cook, Cliff Holton, Duncan Welbourne, Keith Eddy, Stewart Scullion, Ross Jenkins, Luther Blissett, John Barnes, John McClelland, Tony Coton.

I used that list as a basis, added two more modern players and then scanned through the decades for others who caught the public imagination almost as much as did the top 20.

I looked at the list of all-time greats, the supporters voted for back in 1987 and used that to draw the supporting list.

We ended up with 34 biographies, plus a breakdown on the successful teams throughout the decades.

There are about the same number of words as there were in the Centenary Book, so it should be a long read, and hopefully a good one.

The average biography is around 3,500 words, which is like reading a sports page in the Watford Observer.

What's it like? Well, I'd be the last one to give a rational judgment. I'll tell you in five year's time.

US - based lifelong Hornets' fan, Phil Green, sent in the following regarding recent comments:

"I am saddened that you (Oliver Phiilips) have come under attack for allegedly being anti Vialli.

I have found you to be a very supportive journalist, always prepared to give someone the benefit of doubt until results tell thier own story! You even gave Paul Franklin a vote of confidence and that really was blind loyalty!

Vialli comes in with everyone falling at his feet based on a well deserved international reputation as a player plus some short term cup successes as a manager.

I for one do not want the heart and soul of my club ripped out. I quite like being part of a family club that appreciates all of its people.

I do, however, accept that the future for Watford must be a more ruthless one.

Players no longer play for the club, they play for contracts that are effectively worthless when challenged. So now I sadly sit back and trust my team and my hopes in the hands of Vialli..after all it is nowadays only about results!!

This brings me to my second point, the Golden Boys book you are producing. I notice in your list of players everyone played for the club,not a contract so I doubt it will need updating in the future!

Finally why is George Harris not amongst the elite? Flying left winger for Watford during barren times, yet a regular top scorer despite a lack of quality around him. A full Welsh international and a real Watford man.

He gave me a lift home after a game against Northampton when he saw me waiting at the bus stop with scarf and smile after a rare victory. He told me he would be happy to be relegated provided we did the double over Luton - now that's a Watford man!