The theme of this column, since Graham Taylor’s passing, has been to reflect on his time at Vicarage Road and indeed, before taking a break for the summer in early June, I had reached the stage where Graham had returned as general manager and Kenny Jackett was promoted to the post of team manager.

It was to Kenny’s eternal credit that after a year operating under Jack Petchey’s extremely tight purse-strings, he had taken the side of 13th out of 24 in what was the third tier. For much of that season, there had been an outside hope of reaching the play-offs.

After Graham failed to drag the Hornets over the line following Glenn Roeder’s nightmare stewardship over the first 33 games, there were those who felt Watford, relegated from the second tier, were expected to at least compete among the runners and riders for promotion.

However, Jackett’s ability to bring in players he wanted was curtailed by Petchey’s pre-season announcement that Watford would have to pay for itself and the millionaire would no longer fund the club.

I know for a fact Kenny fancied a few players in the lower divisions and his judgement proved sound for they went on to carve careers at other clubs in the third and second tiers.

Doubts about Jackett proved to be somewhat premature for his subsequent record as a manager holds up well and currently his Portsmouth side are chasing promotion with some conviction.

Assistant manager at QPR, he too took charge at the likes of Manchester City Reserves, Swansea, Millwall, Wolves and briefly Rotherham but I should imagine the hardest pill for him to swallow was when Taylor picked up the managerial reins in the summer of 1997 after making an on-pitch, pre-game announcement that “Elton is coming home”.

Jackett stepped down and became Taylor’s right-hand man as Watford gained two successive promotions with a relatively scratch side and then floundered in the Premier League with what was essentially a third tier squad.

After returning to what is now the Championship, Watford set a good pace behind Fulham, only to fade badly. Graham, contemplating the time when he invested heavily in the likes of Wilf Rostron, Malcolm Poskett, Mick Henderson, Martin Patching and Eric Steele back in 1979, reminded me of that time when Watford began to falter with a run of defeats.

Graham, never feeling the same about the running of the club as he had back in the days of a more hands-on Elton John, directors Geoff Smith, Muir Stratford and Jim Harrowell, knew he would retire soon.

The thought of signing Peter Crouch and company, securing them on good, lengthy contracts and then moving on to retirement after a season or so, did not sit right with Graham.

He was to say it took the first board 10 years to tire of him but the second board, whose members were not steeped in the Watford culture, took just five years to arrive at a similar point.

So Graham announced his intention to call it quits and inwardly shuddered when he heard the directors were keen to sign up Luca Vialli as his replacement. He was further informed that the incoming manager would not be retaining the services of the likes of Kenny and Luther Blissett – two men who had their FA coaching badges, unlike Vialli, and were probably better acquainted with the club, the culture and the requirements of the second tier.

Certainly they would not have made quite such a mess of things as did Vialli and his sidekick, the late Ray Wilkins, and assuredly would not have plunged Watford to near bankruptcy with spending on a scale never countenanced before at Vicarage Road – and much of it wasted.

But the hapless board, thinking foreign was the only way to go, wanted a sexy image, which they mistakenly imagined the Italian would provide. The decision, along with the residual colour prejudice, which was very common in the game, effectively ruined Luther’s coaching career. Even Jackett had to work his way back in as an assistant-manager at QPR and then taking charge of Manchester City Reserves.

Luther, in a game in which very few black coaches let alone managers were appointed, had a difficult row to hoe. He had developed under Graham and Kenny from being something of a sergeant-major-type coach to being more supportive, encouraging and effective. The future looked good for Blissett back in the Vicarage Road family, but just as the board or in 1987, Elton, became carried away with the concept of appointing Dave Bassett, the Watford board had pasta on the menu in 2001.

The Watford-born, former Holywell schoolboy Jackett was a casualty and such things happen in this game but Taylor had in the 1980s and then in the late 1990s, nurtured the family feeling, along with the Boot Room concept that was so successful at Liverpool. Watford was supposed to be special: a club that nurtured and looked after its own, but the board embarked on a costly folly.

It was not supposed to be the Watford Way but then who in that boardroom truly had the fingers on the Vicarage Road pulse.