Date: 22nd July 2013 at 1:11pm
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Kicking off his brand-new guest column, Chris Gilbert-Anderson has noted that some Hornet`s supporters might be getting somewhat carried away ahead of the big kick-off…

With two weeks to go until the start of the SkyBet Championship, Watford look in a great position to bounce back from their Play-Off Final defeat to Crystal Palace last season. Obviously, the defeat in the final hurt, I won`t lie, but I feel it could have been a blessing in disguise. However, can we expect to go up this season?

Since last summer`s Pozzo family takeover, the playing staff has undergone some kind of makeover and this summer they look to cement a core playing team for the next few years with the permanent signings of last year`s star loan players, Almen Abdi, Marco Cassetti and Christian Battocchio as well as bolstering the squad with the likes of Gabriele Angella, Diego Fabbrini and Javi Acuna – it is definitely an exciting time for us fans and an assault on the league is not out of the question.

Going into the new season we have high hopes for this team. The expectations from the outside world however seem to suggest that the embargo, rule changes and loanees returning to their parent clubs are going to hinder our chances of any threat, as some bookies still have us down to win the league at 14/1, get in quick at that price, I have a feeling it`ll soon be getting slashed.

Ask other fans and some say we`ll be a force to reckon with whilst some are still on the ‘Udinese B’ bandwagon – cheers for that Holloway!

I have a feeling the pressure will be off us for the first few games though with focus on the teams that have come down which will help, but the expectation from our own fans is going to be very high after last season`s performance.

‘There`s a difference between expectations and aspirations’

I`d happily put my neck on the line (I don`t have much of a reputation yet) and say we have one of, if not, the strongest squads in the league and it doesn`t seem like I`m the only one to think this. With statements such as these I`ve seen a few others bandied about on social media and internet forums.

Statements such as ‘We`ll walk this league’ and ‘We`ll go up as champions.’ Now, obviously, nothing says that these statements won`t come true; I just feel the expectations heaped on this team could prove to be more of a factor than some people think. I asked a question on Twitter with regards to the expectations of going up; here is a selection of the replies that I got:

@AmyLouise146: ‘YESSSSSS’

@Mark_HancockWFC: ‘No. This league is crazy, should not expect anything as it will
blow up in your face. Expectation can be very harmful.’

@thisisjamieleah: ‘No, of course not, but it is a realistic (and achievable) target.’

@fuckkenz: ‘course, with the players we`ve signed, I expect top 3’

Every Watford supporter knows how tough this league has the potential to be. It is a dog fight. The above replies on Twitter are neither right nor wrong, but it does show the difference between expectation and aspiration. Expectation from our own fans is high. We are on a high right now and long may it continue but hypothetically, what happens if we start on a downer? The results don`t go our way and the fans that expect to beat the teams like Birmingham and Bournemouth start to question the team, can we get out of that spiral? Does it affect player performance? With the easily accessible world of Twitter to tear down your ‘favourite’ opposition players this now
turns to players of your own team. Anyone remember Scott Loach? – Poor guy.

Now, I`m not saying that the people that are expecting to be promoted to the top flight should take a step back, not one bit, but what I am saying is just be wary.

We`ve been that team that everyone expected to beat, after all we are ‘little ol` Watford’. We told them that anything could happen and it still can. We have the foundations for a great future under the Pozzo umbrella and we are more than capable of going up and maybe even enjoying the odd cup run. I would certainly enjoy the latter, if we can beat Bristol Rovers away this time.

We have been blessed with a squad with extremely high levels of talent, who expected Fernando Forestieri would EVER be a permanent Watford player? We are more than capable of competing to go up as champions of this league; I`m just not going to say I expect it.

Don`t let the expectations you have ruin the enjoyment of this up and coming season, I have a feeling that it is going to be even more special than last. Aspire, believe and most of all have faith in Zola and this team. If things aren`t going our way, support the team and help them through any bumps we may have. I`m sure they`ll appreciate it.

Since starting this piece, we`ve now had confirmation of eight – yes you read that right – new signings who are a mixture of new and familiar faces (as you`ve seen elsewhere on the site).
I touched on the names at the start and it has just boosted my views of what we are capable of.

I`ll say again, this season is going to be very, very special, I just don`t want to get too far ahead and say that promotion is expected, I`d like it though. Jerry Rice, Former San Francisco 49er wide receiver, once said ‘I feel like I`m the best, but you`re not going to get me to say that’ and this is a quote I feel Watford can relate to.

Confidence is high right now, let`s not let it become arrogance or complacency. We`ve come this far but there is still a long way to go and I can`t wait for it to all kick-off. Excitement is an understatement. Let`s do this.

If you`re not already, you can follow Chris on Twitter: @Chris_G_.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know by commenting below!