First, on the Saturday of Easter weekend, a paperboy’s pride in his brand-new bike purchased that morning (from Neale’s cycles on the Vicarage Road precinct) was undermined by a traumatic first home defeat of the season against Brentford.
Dennis Bond, in the first half, and Alan Mayes, denied an equaliser, both had penalties saved by Bees keeper Len Bond. By the time Watford had been held 2-2 at Stockport on Easter Monday and then slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Aldershot 24 hours later, with goalkeeper Steve Sherwood making his debut, all hope of promotion – and Keen’s job – had gone with seven games of the campaign left.
Chairman Elton John had been reluctant to jettison a loyal servant, but Keen was informed of his fate before an incredible 2-0 win against Huddersfield.
Referee Trevor Spencer had sent off Tony Geidmintis, for a useful right hook, and Mayes – for reasons far less obvious – and Sherwood was in inspired form before Keith Mercer’s two late goals brought the Hornets’ nine men a miraculous win.