Luther Blissett was designated to talk to the press after matches during the rump-end of a totally disappointing 1995-96 season. Graham Taylor was in charge of training and picking the team, but the new Watford general manager had little appetite for going out and talking to the press, which, given their feeding frenzy over England, was quite understandable.

The example of “sending the players back to school”, which I highlighted a couple of weeks back, was typical of the negative spin the tabloids placed on Taylor’s actions. So Blissett faced the press and Kenny Jackett was the senior coach.

When Devon White scored successive braces against Port Vale and Reading, Graham contended that people would probably be saying that had they played him all the time, the club would probably be out of the relegation zone by now.

“I asked Kenny and Luther which of us opted to leave him out of the starting line ups? Was it Kenny, Luther or all three of us? They promptly moved away from me, further down the bench, which shows they are picking up the basics of this management game very speedily,” said Graham.

Joking apart, Graham was pleased with both his coaches. Kenny, of course, was more experienced, having been appointed youth-team coach five years earlier and had undertaken a stint as first-team coach under Glenn Roeder, a person Kenny rated as being “honest as the day is long”.

Steve Perryman was also very impressed with Kenny as a coach so it was no surprise that the Welshman impressed Graham.

As for Luther, he tended to play bad cop on the coaching scene but he moderated that approach over the next couple of years and became more encouraging, earning plaudits from all directions.

Clearly Taylor was grooming them to take over in the long term but unfortunately the board, with stars in their eyes, would opt for the knee-jerk appointment of a continental manager. It would have been better for Watford’s future had they appointed Jackett and Blissett instead of Luca Vialli.

Watford had sufficient chances to have won their final game of the season against Leicester City but victory would not have been enough. As Luther remarked: “We did not go down as the result of one game: we were relegated over 46 games. It has been on the cards the entire season and the season never really got started.”

He observed that he was glad relegation had not been ascertained a month previously and credited the players and supporters for postponing what always looked the inevitable.

I remember Graham taking the field and applauding the supporters with a grim unsmiling face, the picture of which we used on the sports pages the following week. Of course he was disappointed for he loved the club he had built and was disappointed that when he came back to view the ruins, he was unable to pull the rabbit out of the hat. After his recent experiences with Wolves and England, he could have done with an unexpected and laudable achievement.

In 17 games under Graham, Watford had picked up 23 points. In the previous 29 games they had garnered 25 points under Roeder. In other words, Taylor’s return duplicated over the season would have secured Watford a place comfortably in the top ten.

The obvious argument is that had they replaced Roeder with Taylor a month earlier, they may well have escaped relegation but it is questionable whether Taylor was ready to come back as he was still licking his wounds from the Wolves’ sacking. He was also uncomfortable with the idea of returning to team management as evidenced by the fact he intended to leave team matters to his cohorts once the season ended and indeed he did just that.

The club was in a state of flux with the left hand not appearing to by in sync with the right. Glenn had been awarded a new contract as the team struggled and the new chairman Stuart Timperley, replacing the resigning Jack Petchey, who still dictated policy, contended Glenn’s job was safe. He did not know that at the same time, Petchey was negotiating with Graham. Such disarray was typical of the era.

Timperley did his best in a difficult situation but the rug was pulled from beneath his feet as Petchey should have demonstrated more loyalty to the man he had put in the firing line after the fans had invaded the directors’ box.

There was another decision, which may have cost Watford dear. Former striker Paul Wilkinson came in on loan and Watford won two out of four games with him in the side – far from relegation form. But Petchey deemed Wilkinson’s wages were too much and failed to answer Glenn’s repeated calls to find out whether or not he could sign Paul.

“I think he has worked out a way in which he can take his money with him when he dies,” was Roeder’s sardonic comment.

Certainly the early part of the season had been dominated by the board giving the go-ahead for Watford to buy a decent striker. Remember they had sold Bruce Dyer and Paul Furlong, but when it came to the crunch, Petchey pulled the rug from under him as well. As a result Glenn was forced to look for someone cheap and ended up with White who, in footballing terms, was not a Roeder-type player.

So really Watford were busy shooting themselves in the foot long before Graham returned. The irony is that within a month or so of the season closing, Petchey announced the club would have to survive by paying for itself. He was not going to make a contribution.

When looking at the incongruities of the 1995-96 season, as they say over the pond, don’t that just about beat all.