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Hooray for Henderson! 30/07/2007

Posted by Ian Grant in Thoughts about things.

Y’know, football doesn’t often gladden the heart these days. Or it doesn’t often gladden my heart, anyway…and, yeah, I know that’s probably because I’m getting old and stuff. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that wasn’t actually better in my day. So there, sonny.

So, here I was, all ready to pen a tribute to Big Doris on his transfer to Preston, an open secret for a wearisome eternity. Frankly, it would’ve been damn hard to avoid criticising the manager in the process: we’ve spent far too long watching somewhat forlorn attempts to catch the eye of a passing striker over the last couple of years. This time, we seem to have compounded the problem by (nearly) off-loading key players before signing replacements…and then, rather comically and entirely transparently, attempting to repair the damage (“The more time goes on the more I’m looking to keep him”). One is tempted to refer to “twenty-first century man management”, an oft-used phrase two-and-a-bit years ago, but one is aware that it would be a little churlish. And, more importantly, that those comical and transparent attempts might have succeeded.

Thank heavens, I say, that Darius Henderson will be a Watford player next season. Thank heavens, because we’re going to need him. It’s not just about his strength of character, although few players could have stood so tall, proud and unbowed in last season’s difficult circumstances. For me, that made him the player of the season: not the best player of the season, sure, but the one who characterised the struggle at the heart of it and the little that I’ll remember fondly. Others would simply have crumbled. Have simply crumbled. Doris was right there, whenever we needed him. Right there, right to the end.

But it’s not just about that. It’s about the player. Because I don’t care what style of football we’ll be playing next season; at some point, probably when the rain comes and our pitch disintegrates again and Burnley come to visit and we remember what the Second Division is really like, there will be absolutely no substitute for a hulking great big centre forward who can knock people around, flick things on, get stuck in. If that hulking great big centre forward is Darius Henderson, you get all of that and a whole bunch more, for it really doesn’t do to underestimate his touch and control and all-round play when the ball isn’t just walloped in his vague direction from fifty yards away. He’s a better player than you think he is.

So, Doris is staying. We’ve got a centre forward, a proper old-fashioned one who your granddad would recognise (haircut aside). And the chances of paying hard-earned cash to watch Jay Demerit up front have just significantly diminished. A good day.


1. Doug - 31/07/2007

I thought this was going to be an off-topic, off-season tribute to the muppet show.

Maybe I was right 😉

I’m glad he’s staying too though; it’s rare to find a footballer who will fight for anything these days (apart from another drink), let alone his place in the squad.

2. Matt Rowson - 31/07/2007

Wouldn’t dispute any of your words ig, but the WObby rather ominously suggests that turning down Preston was with a view to angling for a move to Wolves…

3. Ian Grant - 31/07/2007

Rain on my parade, why dontcha!

4. petebradshaw - 31/07/2007

Muppets? that’d be Henson, surely? Anyway… it’s good to see he hasn’t gone… Let’s hope the WObby is wrong…

5. Mark - 31/07/2007

I agree IG…..

We need Henderson to stay as he is the only target man we have and can score goals at this level.

We just cannot rely on King Marlon and hope Hoskins/Priskin come good.

I doubt Wolves will be interested having brought in Eastwood and Elliot up front already this summer.

6. Rich Mortimer - 31/07/2007

Young Hendo is a quality striker in this division. i do hope he stays.

7. Matt Lovett - 31/07/2007

Hendo is a genuine ‘Watford player’. He never ever gave anything but his all last season despite being hopelessly out of his depth in Div 1. To step up and take that penalty at West ‘Am after 29 consecutive games in the season where he’d drawn a personal blank shows somebody with serious bottle, (my personal ‘champagne moment’ of the season). He’s a proven force in the second tier, and I fully expect him to show his ability at this level over the next 9 months.

8. Back from Hammerau - 01/08/2007

Hadn’t the chances of Jay DeMerit being played up front virtually disappear with the arrival of Danny Shittu at the club?

9. petebradshaw - 23/08/2007

Genuine Watford player… blah blah blah. Football’s rubbish isn’t it?

10. Lincoln orn - 23/08/2007

So much for Hendo’s loyalty. If the reports are correct he is just the same as the vast majority of today’s players, sadly!!

11. Ian Grant - 23/08/2007

Football is indeed rubbish, Pete. Can’t say that I blame him if he wants to go: pledges of undying devotion seem rather more genuine if you haven’t just agreed to sell your loved one to Preston because you’re bored of them and fancy a night at the bingo on the proceeds. One is again tempted to refer to “twenty-first century man management”. Jay Demerit up front it is, then….

12. Lincoln orn - 23/08/2007

I must say I’m gettin really disalusioned with todays game. I’ve played football all my life and watched Watford for over 20 years but I am beginning to wonder just where the game is going to end up. There is just no loyalty in todays game at all. I have to agree that Betty didn’t help this situation by agreeing to sell before realising we might be in the sh1t as regards a striker when Boozer upped sticks and we had failed to land H. Very annoyed. I’m heading for Leicester Saturday and wonder what the performances of Demerit and Hendo will be like, if they start!!

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