First Team 21/03/2020

Big Interview: Ben Foster

Ben Foster talks about maturing with age and what he does in his down time, in a self-penned interview...


STANDING OUT

It was nice to win the Players’ Player award last season as it sort of reinforced that I’d had a decent season myself, and long may that continue, to be honest.

I do think these Players’ Player awards are sometimes a bit of a popularity contest though. I sometimes provide the lads with a lot of sweets and chocolates and M&Ms and cokes and all that kind of stuff. I bribe them a little bit so I would’ve been fuming if they hadn’t voted for me!

Seriously though, people keep reminding me about something Troy said about me eating what I want, training twice a week and still being unbelievable, but the truth is I’m just getting very good at knowing what I need and what I don’t need nowadays.

At my age, there are some days when I come in and my body doesn’t feel up to training so I’ll do some work in the gym instead – and Troy’s welcome to come and join me if he can keep up!

MENTALITY SHIFT

Speaking of other players saying funny things, there was a tweet by Edwin van der Sar that got a bit of attention a while back. I said that goalkeepers are the hardest workers and he replied joking that maybe I needed to learn that when I was younger!

I don’t know where he came from with that but I always got on really well with Edwin at Manchester United. When I was there it was a wrong place, wrong time sort of situation and I didn’t enjoy it. But everything happens for a reason and I’m more than happy with where I’m at in my life and the decisions I’ve made.

I’m more chilled out now. I think it’s normal when you’re younger that if you make a mistake you’re swearing and kicking things, but that doesn’t help you. You need to be able to move on because you’re not going to be able to play at your potential if you’re stuck in that state.

Growing up helps, without a doubt, and younger players now are also realising they can go and speak to someone about things if they want to. I’m quite interested in the whole psychology side of things and it’s important players know there are people they can talk to about things like learning to deal with pressure and creating positives from it.

CAN COOK, WILL COOK

One thing that really helps me relax is cooking. Some people find it stressful but I love it. You just need a glass of red wine or a gin and tonic of some sort, and after a few sips of that you just take your time and enjoy it. It’s as simple as that.

I always do the cooking at home. It’s just nice most of the time to have that peace and quiet for about 20 minutes in the kitchen. In the summer I have the barbecue out at every opportunity and I love it.

There was a rumour flying around that I designed our own house, but that’s not really true. We bought the house and renovated it, and the only bit I was interested in was the kitchen. It’s my wife’s house and she was making the decisions, but as long as I get my kitchen that’ll do me!

20/03/2020

Our Friends Afar: Hornets In Italy

In the first of a new series, Watford supporters from around the world take on blogging duties to tell us about their connection with the club and how their region has been affected by the coronavirus…


ANTHONY CUMMINS – HORNETS IN ITALY

Hello everyone. I am a Watford fan who was brought up on the South Oxhey estate. My family were from Hampstead and were divided between Arsenal and Chelsea supporters.  

At the age of eight or nine I was told at school that I might have the talent to be a footballer, so I got on my bicycle and went to Watford, which was the nearest football team. There I was given a trial by Watford Boys and, despite scoring a goal, I was told I didn't have what it takes. I didn't mind because I knew it was true, but some kind of magic took over me and I fell in love with the stadium, the place, the atmosphere and the people, and I started my Watford-supporting life.

In those early days the stadium had a greyhound track and my father took me to the greyhound races every week, but it was the often-muddy football pitch that most interested me. It was then that I knew I loved the place.

As an adult my work took me all over the world and whenever I thought of home, it was Vicarage Road that I saw in my mind. Whenever I could, I would travel back from Sweden, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Italy – where I now live – to see Watford FC play and I felt completely at home. It didn't matter whether they won or lost, I was at home and that was all that mattered.

I used to sit two rows behind the old directors’ box in what is now the Sir Elton John Stand. I was lucky to be present when we came second in the old First Division to Liverpool, who we beat 2-1 on that last day of the season. I remember crying when after the game the Liverpool fans sang ‘Watford, Watford, you’re okay’, and I with all the other Watford fans loved them for it.

There have been so many games and moments, but I will never forget 1975 when we were bottom of the Fourth Division. It was a rainy Tuesday night and there were 386 supporters in the stadium. I was one of them and we lost yet again, but I didn't care. I was at home. 

Around that time, I worked in the Northwood Hills Hotel as barman and Elton John was the pianist. After work, Watford FC was always part of our conversations.

After settling in Italy, I got married and would tell my daughter Ketty my Watford FC stories. When she was old enough, I took her to Watford and the magic of Vicarage Road also worked its spell on her. Now she too is married and she takes her husband Al and her son Jack to watch Watford play whenever she can, travelling from Italy to home and away matches. She also runs the Hornets in Italy supporters’ group and has created so many more Italian fans who themselves now often travel to Watford. I am so proud that I have created two new generations of Watford supporters, thanks to that bicycle ride a long time ago.  

We are facing a big emergency over here and everything has changed so fast. We have been isolated for nearly two weeks now and our country and our wonderful doctors and nurses are fighting a real war. Please keep safe. The situation is serious.

Much love to you all. Look after yourselves, #andràtuttobene (everything will be alright).

Anthony & Hornets in Italy


Would you like to feature in a future Our Friends Afar blog? Email dave.messenger@watfordfc.com for details.