1984 was promising to be a great year. My wife Avril had no sooner announced that we were expecting our first child in October, when Watford undertook a run to its first ever FA Cup final.

‘Luther’, as Avril’s pregnant bump became known to the rest of our family and friends, would be there at Wembley although sadly the real Mr Blissett had departed for AC Milan at the end of the previous season and wouldn’t be featuring on the pitch. Watford selling players to AC Milan? Blimey, what was the world coming to.

We didn’t know it at the time, but the 1984 Cup final proved to be the peak of the magical escalator ride that the masterly Graham Taylor took us on during his first spell at the club. For older supporters, the thought of Watford appearing in an FA Cup final had once been laughable. It was yet another occasion for pinching yourself to believe that it was really happening. Graham gave us so many of these occasions.

The world in 1984 would seem a primitive place to today’s time traveller, being a number of years before the advent of the internet, mobile phones, social media and TV football channels. The FA Cup final did however provide one day each year when football dominated the television airwaves, with both the BBC and ITV competing for viewers from mid-morning through to the winning team dancing round the pitch with the trophy.

Morning TV viewers were treated to a comedian accompanying each squad through preparations at their respective hotels. Watford were saddled with Michael Barrymore awkwardly trying to draw laughs from a young and nervous Watford team at the brunch table. Barrymore was clearly untroubled by any knowledge about Watford or indeed the world of football itself. Everton had Freddie Starr as their stooge, and it seemed that his humour chimed better with the Everton team. Was this an omen?

Not making excuses here, but Watford did not have the best of luck going into the final. Wilf Rostron, Watford’s captain and a highly influential player, was unjustly sent off in a match prior to the game and banned from playing. It was the cruellest football event I’ve experienced in my lifetime. With dependable centre half Steve Sims also injured it meant that Watford fielded one of the youngest back fours in Cup final history, with an average age of just 20 years. On the plus side we had some very good forwards. John Barnes and Nigel Callaghan were arguably the best wingers in the league, and Mo Johnston could score goals for fun. We knew we could give Everton a tough game.

For me, the biggest hurdle that Watford had to overcome was that Everton had already played and lost at Wembley against local rivals Liverpool in the League Cup final a couple of months earlier. Everton were already familiar with the surroundings and would be doubly determined to come away with a trophy this time round.

Having a pregnant wife I decided to treat us to £14 seats for the final, a leap up from the £5 per ticket standing prices available behind the goal in the old Wembley stadium. According to the inflation index the equivalent cost of our 1984 seats would be £45 in today’s money. Having just had to fork out £115 per ticket for a similar view for the 2019 final I leave you to draw your own conclusions about today’s prices. One aspect has changed for the better – there was an ugly, high fence around the pitch in 1984 to prevent crowd invasion of the playing area, which badly interrupted the view from the lower seats.

Labelled the ‘friendly final’ by the media in deference to Watford’s family-orientated supporting base, the atmosphere around the ground was better than usual at the time. The match itself passed in a flash. Watford missed some early chances and had one of them been taken it could have been a very different outcome. It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the Cup so the pain of defeat was hard to take, and just like Graham Taylor I was never able to watch back the video tape I made of the match, but I wouldn’t have swapped the experience for anything.

Fighting a European campaign and an extended Cup run on top of a demanding league season had proven just a step too far for the size of our squad. But the year ended on a high for our family when ‘Luther’ arrived in October in the form of our lovely daughter Hayley, later followed by brothers Warren and Ross who will now be cheering on the Hornets in another final.