There’s nothing like the first few weeks of the football season. Fully refreshed, you have forgotten the misery that sport can bring, and instead can luxuriate in the fresh mix of familiar surroundings and new bells and whistles around your club, all with an entirely logical and justified sense of optimism.

This year, after telling my neighbour in the stands that I saw no reason we couldn’t be top at the end of August – the same position Javi Gracia had led us after four games last season – I looked up to take in one of those new bells – the pre-match hype video.

This season’s effort, evoking glories past and present ends with a clear allusion between Gracia, beaming as he waves to jubilant Watford fans at Wembley after last season’s dramatic FA Cup semi-final, and Graham Taylor, exultant under the Twin Towers after the 1999 Play-off final.

Here are two men who typify how we all like to think of Watford: bold, caring and effusive about the personal elements of a football club. Last season’s highest ever Premier League finish and an FA Cup Final was nice – really nice, actually – but more important was that it was being led by a guy who personified the community club that Taylor helped build.

Being a Watford fan at the moment is tough. Not tough in the Bolton or Bury sense, but in the completely unimportant existential sense. What are we even here for? I thought we could be top after four games, but wouldn’t think of predicting the same after eight, let alone 38. Our extended dalliance with Europa League qualification last year was thrilling, but is unlikely to be the norm any time soon, especially with bigger clubs with richer owners starting to lose their minds with their chequebooks.

Instead, Watford are in limbo: privileged enough to be in the Greatest League in the World™ but doomed to be bit-part players, every good win followed by a humbling battering at the hands of one of the big teams. The relief from this is in that ‘Watford Way’. If we’re going to watch a team constantly trying to punch above its weight and often failing, the goal is to have a squad that we enjoy watching do it.

Javi was a dream in that not only did he take the club to the edge of real relevance but he was someone that we could back unreservedly. He was gracious with the press, dedicated to fans young and old, and players reacting to his sacking on social media have all focused on his humility and personal qualities. He brought to the club something that Silva, Mazzarri and Flores were all missing – and that was evidenced by the big screen’s pairing of Javi and GT.

And because of all this he will be too kind to say the following: he’s been absolutely shafted.

He’s been let down by the tentative recruitment of players to bolster his squad, let down by both the footballing gods and the footballing God complex that is VAR, and let down by a hasty decision that focuses too much on results with undue consideration to more intangible outcomes.

It’s fine lines. A free-kick striking a hand during a period of domination against Brighton (dismissed by the video ref), Jordan Pickford having a big face, Will Hughes defying the rules of physics to shoot wide when hammering West Ham, VAR – again – deciding that the laws of the game don’t matter when it’s only Newcastle vs Watford.

A couple of them going Watford’s way and we’re mid-table and thinking about how we can beat a fallible Arsenal on Sunday. Instead we’re here.

Performances both team and individual haven’t been great. Some big players have been hugely disappointing and the defence – a problem last year of course – has continued to look frighteningly porous, with a lack of protection from the midfield not helping. But they have not been performances that signal doom. It’s a results business, and clearly Gino Pozzo et al decided that you can’t just keep blaming bad luck.

More baffling is the decision to bring back Quique Sanchez Flores. A nice man I’m sure, and I guess the theory is that he can slot into the club and play much the same system, sorting issues out while making the side much, much duller. But how can you expect a man sacked for not taking the club forward enough to, you know, take the club forward enough?

While results had waned recently under Gracia, there is nothing to suggest that the squad had checked out on his methods or approach. The same, I think, could not be said of the second half of Quique’s first stint at the club.

One of Gracia’s great successes was finding a way to use Jose Holebas’s belligerence for good. While Flores presents someone who knows the club, the club also knows him, and the Greek has, characteristically, not minced his words about his old ex-coach. He also played Almen Abdi at right-back.

Maybe this time things will be different. We now have a much better squad, including two or three actual full-backs, and everyone is older and wiser. We don’t have to rely on Ben Watson any more.

But I wonder what it is the club is hoping Quique to achieve. Because hoping for anything better than Javi managed, and more importantly how Javi managed it, will be an almightily tough ask.

They also need to get a new pre-match video pulled together in the next week.