The Watford Observer is serialising extracts from the upcoming Tales From The Vicarage 6: Rocket Men, featuring interviews with Steve Sherwood, Luther Blissett, Ross Jenkins and Ian Bolton.

Here, in conversation with Mike Walters, Watford's favourite son Luther Blissett reveals the pain of standing on the sidelines while the Hornets made their first and only ever cup final appearance at Wembley in 1984.

Luther Blissett had plenty of reasons to feel a sense of bitterness about missing out on Watford’s sole FA Cup final, having departed for Milan the previous summer.

But the experience was so raw for the Hornets’ favourite son that he even burned the sole copy of the game he had recorded, despite appearing as an expert summariser for the first time on ITV as part of their coverage at Wembley.

For all the goals he scored and the mountains he climbed, Blissett never played in a Wembley final, but may have done so had he remained at Vicarage Road for another 12 months.

“I know it was a proud achievement for the club, but I absolutely hated that FA Cup final day,” he admitted. “I wanted Watford to win it and 100 per cent of me was willing them to do it. But to be left as a bystander, on the biggest occasion every footballer dreams of being involved in, was hard to take. It broke my heart.

“The worst moment was about an hour before kick-off, when the players walked out in their cup final suits to look at the pitch. There were my mates, all scrubbed up for their big day out, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m not a part of it. I can’t believe it.’ “I recorded the whole thing – all the build-up, all the pre-match interviews, ‘Abide With Me’, the game, everything – but I never watched it. Destroyed the tape. I know even Graham Taylor couldn’t bring himself to watch the game afterwards.

“There’s no point in being bitter about it or feeling sorry for myself. It was just not meant to be.”

Where Blissett and Ross Jenkins had carried such an irrepressible threat 18 months earlier, George Reilly and Maurice Johnston was the new little-and-large combination making hay.

Reilly and Johnston were well policed in the cup final, but they were not the only Watford players who came up short on the day. Blissett suspects the enormity of the occasion may only have hit some of them once the bunting had come down.

“Johnston was only at Watford for a year, and in that time he scored a lot of goals and forged a terrific partnership with George,” said Luther.

“But for everything he achieved that season, I’m not convinced he realised just how much that game meant. Maybe when he saw all the fans turn out in the town centre on the Sunday, he understood he had been a part of something unique.

“I’m not saying the whole occasion passed him by, but Watford should have won that game. Until Everton scored, against the run of play, we had been the better side.

“Would we have won if I had been playing? I couldn’t convince myself of that. What I would say is this: you’ve got to take your chances when you’re on top.”

Around two months before the big day, there were rumours that Milan were looking to off-load the forward, who had not settled in Italy and was increasingly linked with a return to Hertfordshire.

It never materialised – but could have paved the way for a shock return in time for a Wembley bow, and even a first season in Europe for Blissett had they won the final.

“People have since asked me if I had been given the chance, would I have re-signed for Watford so I could have played in the FA Cup final,” he said. “It’s a hypothetical question so the answer is no – because I could not have turned down the chance to play for Milan.

“I went to Italy because Milan made Watford an offer they couldn’t refuse. But I helped the club get into Europe and never played a part when they got there, and watched them go all the way to Wembley and I wasn’t there - at least not on the pitch.

“Two of the biggest things that have ever happened to the club – and I wasn’t there for either of them. Totally gutted.”

Order Rocket Men here or the complete Tales from the Vicarage series as a gift set here.