I can remember back in Ken Furphy’s day, Watford held the might of Liverpool to a goalless draw at Vicarage Road on the Saturday. It was the winter of 1967 with Liverpool the reigning champions; the Monkees I’m a Believer was heading for the top of the charts and the Summer of Love was just a couple of Beatle hits away.

It was a period when Liverpool seemed to dominate British popular culture and we knew all about Shanks (Bill Shankly), the Mersey ferry, the fearsome noise that emanated from The Kop and the chant of Ee-Aye-Addio. Watford were heading towards Anfield on a Wednesday night. Factories, close to the railway line between Watford and Hemel Hempstead, held banners out of the windows wishing the Hornets the best of luck.

To gain an idea as to the significance of this tie, the West Herts Post on The Parade, by The Pond, enjoyed a modest circulation of 13,500. In the build-up to the tie at Vicarage Road, I put together an in-paper supplement for the game, including a personal interview with Shanks and this was published on the Thursday before the tie.

The circulation that week jumped to 19,000 from 13,500.

After the goalless draw at Vicarage Road before a capacity crowd, we trekked up to Anfield on the Wednesday. In those days the teams did not come out on the pitch together and, as player-manager Furphy planned, Watford appeared first. The squad headed straight for the goal at The Kop end and trotted behind it, before lining up and, as a unit, waving to the vast bank of Liverpool fans, who duly roared out their support for their team.

It was a memorable moment, designed to acclimatise the Watford players to the sound they would experience during the game. The Third Division side lost 3-1.

All of which had nothing to do with Graham Taylor but I did think back to that night when, at the end of the 1984-85 season, Watford travelled to Anfield for the final game.

The campaign, as I mentioned previously, had been a little disappointing as Watford failed to make the last four in the League Cup after looking likely to win the trophy and had been knocked out of the other competition by Luton.

There were a couple of consolations at the end of the campaign, however. As the season wound down to a close, Watford travelled to White Hart Lane and won 5-1 with goals from David Bardsley, John Barnes, Luther Blissett and Colin West.

Two days later, at Vicarage Road, Watford entertained Manchester United and won 5-1. The only setback that night was that Luther sustained a skull fracture as the result of a very questionable tackle from the United keeper.

Four days later, in this hectic season finale, Watford went to Anfield and led 2-0 before Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush hit the heights and the Hornets lost 4-3 on a superb night. The players, knowing the season had ended, went over to their fans to say farewell for the summer and were the only ones left on the pitch as they set off back to the dressing room.

As they did so, The Kop and other areas roared out chants of “Watford-Watford” between the staccato claps. It remains one of the most enduring, throat swallowing moments of my 45 years watching the Horns’.

Not surprisingly my mind went back 18 years when Little Watford waved like schoolboys in front of The Kop and noted that Watford had indeed grown up. They were always treated well at Liverpool, the referees apart.

It was a good memory but if some thought the final league position of 11th was a mite disappointing, there was more when the Hornets finished 12th the following season. They did not strengthen the side during the close season, largely because Graham believed his young side was beginning to come of age.

They had Lee Sinnott, Bardsley, Malcolm Allen, Paul Franklin, Nigel Gibbs, Gary Porter, Iwan Roberts and Worrell Sterling in the squad.

Sterling, as it happened was quite a thinker, studying the game. He had a very good game against the Barcelona full-back when Watford played a friendly in Majorca. When assistant manager John Ward asked him why he felt he had done so well, Worrell replied that he had watched the full-back several times on television and pin-pointed his weaknesses.

Sterling provided a textbook example of ‘tracking the back post’. That was one of Graham’s mantras.

For example when Barnes went down the left and crossed, if the ball eluded the central defenders and the striker, Nigel Callaghan had to be there, shooting or passing just beyond what was the far post.

Sterling was brilliant at doing that but unfortunately he could not cross as well as either of the two first-choice wingers and to be frank, who could?

He made 122 appearances over five years before moving on to Peterborough United for a £70,000 fee. He switched to Bristol Rovers and Lincoln City and recorded more than 400 outings in the league. He was last heard of lecturing at the Peterborough Regional College in Sports Studies.

Bardsley, one of the victims of Dave Bassett’s incoming purge in 1987, made more than 500 appearances and Sinnott made a similar number before becoming a lower division boss and managing in non-league.

Allen made around 200 appearances (58 with the Hornets) before an injury brought his career to an early close, while fellow Welshman Roberts made more than 600 league appearances, mostly in the second tier including 83 outings for Watford.

So Gibbs and Porter were the only players to remain at Watford, but Tom Walley’s youth stewardship provided a steady stream of young players who made the first team and later brought revenue to the club. And while those players mentioned above, moved on, there were more coming through: notably the “Holdsworthy twins” as Tom referred to them: David and Dean Holdsworth.