Meet the Watford FC superfan who transformed the shed at the bottom of his garden into a Hornets shrine during the first national lockdown.

Paul Thompson, 44, who manages a branch of Poundland in Milton Keynes, transformed his shed into a temple to his beloved football team while pubs were forced to shut back in spring.

Kitted out with a bar, stools, kits and optics from eBay, the bar reflects a lifelong love for the Championship club.

The 44-year-old’s creation has been named was Fray Bentos Home Pub Of The Year, after judges were wowed by Pauls’ impressive collection of memorabilia.

“I’ve been a fan of Watford since I saw them lose to Everton in the 1984 Cup Final when I was eight years old”, Paul, who grew up in Hemel Hempstead explained.

Hillingdon Times:

Paul enjoys DIY projects and had previously undertaken one to decorate parts of his home only using Poundland products.

“My grandfather bought me back a jersey from the game, that’s what sparked my interest initially.

“I started going to games fairly regularly and then became a season ticket holder. I used to follow them home and away and carried on doing so right up until about 15 years ago when I met my wife. It’s part of my way to carry on that connection to Watford.

“Obviously there’s been plenty of ups and downs over the years - but I’ve always remained faithful to them and I’ve enjoyed some truly amazing times following them.”

Hillingdon Times:

Paul's obsession with Watford began in the 80s.

Pride of place in Paul’s bar are two special items - a framed ticket to the 1999 Wembley play-off final that saw Watford promoted to the Premier League - and a poster from 1977 depicting Elton John’s vision for the club’s future in the First Division. It sees the Rocketman riding on a hornet while Anfield beckons in the distance.

The superfan, whose favourite player of all time is Heurelho Gomes, reckons the Hornets have made an encouraging start to the season, despite a few losses against sides he expected Watford to beat.

“There was a downward slide from last season that we seem to have stopped”, he said. “And if Ivic can be given enough time, then I think we will do alright and be near enough the top come the end of the season.

"The eighties were really our glory years - with Elton coming in as chairman and Graham Taylor being appointed manager. They really were a dream team.”

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He says he is delighted to win £1,000 and a year's supply of pies.

Paul added: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Fray Bentos Home Pub Of The Year competition. I’ve been a fan of Fray Bentos for as long as I can remember. The contest was the perfect opportunity to combine my love for The Hornets with my passion for every footie fan’s favourite combination - a good old pie and a pint.

“The winning feeling’s almost as good as watching Nicky Wright bury that overhead kick into the back of the net during the 1999 Play-Off final at Wembley.”

Paul takes home the first prize of £1,000 alongside a year’s supply of Fray Bentos pies.