Date: 26th October 2020 at 11:56am
Written by:

Written by NWCherries98

So looking for the views of our always rational, emotionally stable friends on the Hornets Nest forum, I couldn’t help but notice that many seem to be a tad…aggrieved at our tactics in the game on Saturday.

Some choice quotes include:
– “Bournemouth are the dirtiest cheating team we have to play in recent years”
– “They are a nasty side who want to break the legs of our players. It’s out of order”
– Dear God :grinning: “Almost every game against them leaves me seething with rage at their disgusting, filthy tactics”.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Now I’m not completely blind, the recent game was very spicy. Kelly should’ve been sent off for that tackle, was not a nice one. I don’t think it’s quite as bad as has been made out, but a definite red for sure. Billing could’ve had a red too- just like Garner and Chalobah. But these mystical dark arts that we supposedly employ, that make us the “dirtiest team in all the land”- it’s a bit vague. Are we diving cheats, or bloodthirsty, feral hackers setting out to break the legs of every poor Watford player who’s unfortunate to play against us? Or BOTH???

Unfortunately, there are no real, legitimate statistics online for a simulation that I could find. I’m willing to admit that Fraser and Smith have been a bit liberal in this regard. Every team has someone that goes down easily. It would be ridiculous not to admit it. Watford, for example, have a proud lineage of divers stretching across our entire 7-year rivalry; from Forrestieri to Capoue, to Deulofeu, to Pelican or Perica or whatever a few days ago; some really pathetic, objective playacting. I can’t physically prove that they’re worse at diving than us.

So are we “a team of divers?”. Nope, we are a team with some divers in it, just like Watford, and just like every other club in the world. And no stat can prove otherwise. But are we a dirty team; a team of hackers, of constantly dishing out leg-breaking tackles? Well, funnily enough, there are several stats we can look at for this. If we were a dirty team, a dirtier team than Watford (who are so unbelievably uptight about this in particular), then the stats will surely back this up?


The dirtiest team?





Don't know

Don't know

The Stats: Season by Season
We can start off with a look at where it all began; 2014-15. The year Watford bottled it and we became deserving Champions. I think if you were to look at the stats that are the best indicators of “dirty play”, the 3 best bets would be fouls, bookings, and sending offs. Let’s have a look shall we:


Fouls: 466 (20th)
Bookings: 77 (11th)
Reds: 3 (17th)

Fouls: 487 (19th)
Bookings: 75 (13th)
Reds: 7 (1st)

Interestingly enough, neither us nor Watford look particularly dirty yet. Watford just edges it by having the most red cards in the league, but nothing heinous really. I won’t add any commentary on the rest of these seasons because I think you’ll find the stats speak for themselves.


Fouls: 361 (18th)
Bookings: 51 (16th)
Reds: 1 (17th)

Fouls: 459 (3rd)
Bookings: 73 (2nd)
Reds: 3 (11th)


Fouls: 368 (20th)
Bookings: 52 (20th)
Reds: 3 (7th)

Fouls: 517 (1st)
Bookings: 84 (1st)
Reds: 5 (1st)


Fouls: 339 (20th)
Bookings: 55 (12th)
Reds: 1 (17th)

Fouls: 441 (2nd)
Bookings: 63 (7th)
Reds: 4 (3rd)


Fouls: 340 (16th)
Bookings: 60 (9th)
Reds: 1 (17th)

Fouls: 433 (2nd)
Bookings: 77 (1st)
Reds: 4 (2nd)


Fouls: 369 (17th)
Bookings: 74 (4th)
Reds: 3 (10th)

Fouls: 481 (1st)
Bookings: 76 (3rd)
Reds: 3 (6th)

2020/21 (so far)

Fouls: 95 (10th)
Bookings: 11 (13th)
Reds: 0 (21st)

Fouls: 116 (2nd)
Bookings: 13 (1st)
Reds: 0 (14th)

Hang on a minute, these stats can’t be right! You’re telling me that Watford fans spout off about how dirty we are every. single. matchday- and yet they’ve outperformed us in these stats every single year, for 7 years straight? But why would they lie?! As a nice exclamation point on these stats, the totals over the 7 years are as follows:

Fouls: 2,338
Bookings: 380
Reds: 12

Fouls: 2,934
Bookings: 461
Reds: 26

Over 600 more fouls…over 80 additional bookings…more than double the number of red cards we’ve had.

I had a lot of fun making this, as you can probably tell:grinning:. So to conclude Watford fans (or rather, the ones on the Hornet’s nest). Please stop moaning about how dirty we are, and have a long hard look in the mirror.

You’ve had double our red cards, over 80 more bookings, committed over 600 more fouls than us. The best part is that, with an incredibly consistent management team, with the same ideas, with the same approach to the game, we have remained one of the least dirty teams in the Premier League. You, however, with your 13 managers in just over 7 years: the only consistent part of your philosophy has been being one of the dirtiest teams in the country.

I guess it is just a part of your clubs DNA…

kirsikka wrote…

Those loveable scamps at Vicarage Road would never take glory in causing another professional a serious injury by publishing a hilarious illustration to celebrate it. – Click to view the image.


Unfortunately, the illustrator of this poor taste cartoon insults the memory of the late, great Terry Challis – whose cartoons of each Watford game in the Watford Observer were excellent and totally impartial.
This is just unpleasant.

I think these Watford fans spouting such vitriol towards us probably bet their houses on winning the league in 14/15 and have been seriously peeved ever since…

Another reason I think is that apart from our recent rise through the leagues we had only the three seasons above the third tier under Redknapp and therefore we have always been viewed as a small, not-up-to-much club who should know their place.
We occasionally build good footballing teams but are a soft touch who lack the wizened “ professional gamesmanship “edge to be really successful against all these supposed “ huge, big , historic “ clubs bla bla bla .
All this changed under Eddie and Jason and we married the best football I’ve ever seen AFCB play to a dark edge which allowed us to properly mix it and help us get to the Premier League.
Now, I hate all the diving, thumping the turf as if fatally injured, crowding the red complaining, waving imaginary cards etc etc – not just from us but from anyone.
But we decided if you can’t beat them, join them so here we are.

AFCBade said…

I am bored with them. Really don’t bother looking at their comments.

Re their disciplinary record, I think they don’t oppose negative, intimidatory football as that’s visible but Bournemouth does the cheating in a sneaky way.

My response is the same; when in Rome…. – Join the conversation, click here.

Click for the forum

One Reply to “Blog: Watford v Bournemouth – Who is the dirtiest team?”

  • Generally I’m sure Watford fans base our opinions on the two times a season when you play us, and based on that you are a horrible, horrible team. You’ve also had the vast majority of decisions go your way, in terms of your players who should have been sent off.

    I don’t think that either of those things is a particularly controversial thing to say, based on our games together over the last 7 years.

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