Last week I mentioned players and teams from the past and I apologise to the modern spectators that I have not included many of their favourites but I ceased to watch Watford regularly in 2005 and have been limited to televised games and excerpts. In short, insufficient time in which to judge.

So when I reflect on full backs, Duncan Welbourne and Nigel Gibbs come to the fore and on the left flank, Wilf Rostron, a savvy conversion from winger by Graham Taylor. Wilf would have my vote by being the most unfazed player ever to don a Watford shirt. I exemplified that once by saying if GT put a notice in the dressing room informing players they were travelling to the moon the next morning in order to play the Martians, Wilf would turn around and ask what stud would be best for the moon’s surface.

I have mentioned the energy expended in midfield but when it comes to craft, Dennis Bond and Craig Ramage delighted me but neither had the dedication of another of my favourites, Dixie Hale. Then, at his best, Micah Hyde was special.

Of course, as with all my choices, they played and excelled in the divisions Watford featured in at the time, so choosing an all-time best team would be hard.

Even accepting they all played at the top, how could I leave out two from the quartet of Bolton, Eddy, Sims and McClelland.

I will leave selection to you but my squad of players playing at their peak would be: Jennings, Coton, Rankin; Welbourne, Rice, Gibbs, Jackett, Rostron; Bolton, Sims, Eddy, McClelland; Taylor, Jackett, Hessenthaler, Walley, Bond, Frank Mitchell; Scullion, Callaghan, Barnes and Glyn Hodges. Up front choose from Holton, Livesey, Blissett, Jenkins.

Yes, I know Deeney and Mooney are not included but the quartet I have selected were on a different level and all four played and really starred in the top flight in their careers.

Of course it would be good to have someone to lighten the atmosphere and Steve Harrison demands selection, as not only the funniest footballer but, short of cartoonist Terry Challis, the funniest man I have ever known.

As for goals, Scullion’s at home to Stockport; Cliff’s at home to Division One Birmingham; Livesey’s against Oldham at Vicarage Road and a number of Luther’s goals, particularly, one tremendous shot against Walsall.

I could write a whole column on great goals I have witnessed: Wilkinson’s at Walsall; Garbett at Tranmere; Dyson at Eastville and so on. More come to mind along with adjectives and adverbs but space denies them.

As for managers, Graham Taylor and Ken Furphy were the best I knew.

Along with them, I state that Glenn Roeder and Ray Lewington were the most honest and nicest human beings to occupy a manager’s chair at Watford.

Aidy Boothroyd was by some way the most obstructive and least helpful manager in the history of Watford up to his departure. And that means he was far worse than Luca Vialli in the non-co-operation stakes.

The worst period in Watford’s history, in my view, was the tale-end of Jim Bonser’s chairmanship (1971-76); the entirety of Jack Petchey’s tenure and while they did gain promotion, the days of Simpson-Ashton were truly unpleasant. The best were 1959-60, 1968-69-70, the Golden era from 1977-87 and this season suggests another notable era is bubbling under.

Looking back, my biggest “scoop” was Elton John joining Watford, albeit as a vice-president, the first step, as I had advised him, to breaking through to Bonser’s board. It worked like a charm and I broke the story a week after it happened - in days before social media.

As for the best chairman, Elton John takes that accolade. Without his input and the club’s resultant progress, I doubt if the Pozzos would have been interested in buying Watford but the Italians, with the development of the ground and achieving Premiership status, are running him increasingly close. Watford finished 2nd, 11th twice, 12th and 9th in the top flight under Elton and Graham and that record is unequalled.

With a paucity of home-grown talent, I would feel happier if Watford’s youth wing was as impressive as it was in the 80s and 90s. It is very much inferior but then unearthing another youth team boss equal to Tom Walley would take a lot of mining.

For one born and bred in Watford, it was a wrench to go to France but I could not have afforded to live at a similar level in the locality on the pensions but, while financial reasons do have an impact, the fact is I had to get away. I know some journalists who left the Watford Observer and were successful, yet never took the job home. I always took the job home, always considered and often fretted over what I must do and write, even when walking the dogs of a weekend.

Watford FC and subsequently the history and reflections of South West Herts itself, took over my life. If I had loitered nearby in retirement, I would have continued as a workaholic and would not be here today. France gave me a break and a new challenge and landscaping shed the pounds. I also left when Simpson and Ashton were beginning to hold sway, which, simply, was a good time to go.

I still follow the Hornets and watch them whenever they appear on television but when I look back, I maintain that apart from a brief unpleasant spell in the mid-1990s, I never had a Monday morning feeling. I loved my job and I loved to write. I look back with pride on a few articles, which I felt hit the spot with Watford fans. Away from football, I was also very pleased with the numerous Nostalgia books and supplements and the Centenary History of the club and Golden Boys. I was especially proud of that and perhaps my finest work as a researcher, the Sandringham Road VI saga.

As for influences, I have to thank Mike Ward and Tony Cook – my first two sports editors; Malcolm Waller a doyen of this newspaper who is still alive in Bushey, and the former rival and then my editor, the late Ernie Fosterfor support and help. He was a special man. I also loved to read the old Guardian sportswriter Eric Todd and a Western writer Will Henry.

I had some great assistants on the sports desk, too numerous to name but the late Alan Lee, Mike Calvin, Malcolm Vallerius and Andrew French went on to greater things and a nod too and thanks to statistician Trefor Jones.

They were good days and, since my retirement, I have enjoyed the freedom, yet also the discipline of writing weekly. Dependent how you viewed my contributions, all good or boring things come to an end and so my connection with the Watford Observer finishes after just over 50 years, and my writing on Watford FC wraps up after 58 years. I have enjoyed it, I hope some of you have and, if I have wittered on unprofessionally or repeated myself, I am sorry but at 77 I claim that as an old man’s prerogative or tendency.

I have a few cuttings and many memories but I was reminded on my last visit to an old local in Sarratt, that sometimes we do forget exactly what we did. Old stalwart Roger Joslyn has been surprised his children are fascinated by his career but he has discovered he does not possess any videos of his times with Watford. So I shocked him by immediately citing Gillingham away and Sheffield Wednesday away in 1978-79 as two of his best televised games. The old memory still holds good. So if any fans have videos that can be copied or DVD’s of Roger’s Watford highlights, then drop us a line at oli.phillips@live.frwith telephone numbers and details and I will arrange to get them to Roger.

So on the final note of helping an old player, that just about wraps it up. I reflect happily on an enjoyable 58 years in journalism.

Thank you and farewell.