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Helping Hands 18/05/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

In response to an idle question on WML I’ve dug through match reports and compiled a list of assistees to Watford goals in all comps this season.  There’s obviously a degree of subjectivity and interpretation here, but I’ve tried to use Fantasy League’s fairly solid rules which means being fouled for a converted penalty counts as an assist (not relevant very often) but being fouled for a converted free kick does not (also not relevant often, although Duke does score them in training…).  A few I’ve not been able to either remember or obtain from either site’s match report, these are listed at the foot of the table below.

McAnuff, I believe, only got one “assist” all season – the corner to Doris’ header at Burnley, also Doris’ first headed goal in almost two years.  He was of course out of the side for much of the start of the campaign (note Johnson also only got one assist), and was of course in the side during our, umm, less successful period.  There’s also some value in a show pony winger who scares the crap out of people – how many openings were created by McAnuff being double marked, for example.  Nonetheless, not a great return – compare and contrast with his colleague on the other flank. The OS, incidentally, credits him with 4, which must mean that the unaccounted assists against Ipswich, QPR and Blackpool (see below) were all his – he wasn’t on the pitch to assist with the other two. Odd, anyway.

Williamson in second place is quite interesting, as is that Lloydy was in the lead until Smudger’s hat-trick of assists at Layer Road in December. 

Of Bromby’s two assists, only one was a throw and that’ll be the one we all remember.

And if anyone suggests that Douglas Rinaldi’s assist against Gillingham provides cast iron proof that he should have been in the team all season, I shall not be responsible for my actions…

  Assists Apps Gls Assists vs
Smith 10 45+1 7 Sp h, QPR a, Ba a, Col a, Col a, Col a, CaC h, Sh a,Ch A a, Cov h
Williamson 6 28+5 2 IT h, NC a, Ba a, CP FAC h, SU a, HC PO a
Henderson 5 35+6 13 SU h, SW h, ChA h, WW h, Bu A
Doyley 4 38+0 0 Sh h, ScU a, ScU a, NC a
Sadler 3 15+1 0 IT a, ChA a, NC h
Mahon 3 19+0 0 CaC a, CaC a, HC h
Ellington 3 24+13 4 SW a, WW h, Cov h
King 3 26+2 11 Cov a, Cov a, Bu h
Bromby 2 16 1 WW h, LC h
Stewart 2 34+6 2 CP FAC h, IT a
Shittu 2 38+2 9 SW h, Cov a
Rinaldi 1 2 1 Gg h
McNamee 1 2 0 Gg h
Francis 1 7+5 2 Sh a
Kabba 1 9+7 1 WW a
Johnson 1 11+1 5 CP a
Mariappa 1 15+14 0 NC a
O’Toole 1 24+13 4 WBA a
Demerit 1 32+5 1 BrC h
McAnuff 1 33+8 2 Bu a
Osborne 0 0+1 0  
Forbes 0 0+1 0  
Mackay 0 1 0  
Davenport 0 1 0  
Campana 0 1+1 1  
Parkes 0 2 0  
Avinel 0 2 0  
Hoskins 0 2+1 0  
John 0 3+2 0  
Ainsworth 0 3+5 0  
Bangura 0 6+4 0  
Jackson 0 8 0  
Priskin 0 10+8 2  
Poom 0 12 0  
Eustace 0 13 0  
Lee 0 38+1 0  


Unaccounted for:

Smith goal vs Ipswich (H)
Henderson’s 2nd vs Southampton (H)
Johnson vs Colchester (H) – Stewart ?
Shittu vs QPR (H) – Hendo?
Smith vs Blackpool (A)




1. Paul Wilson - 18/05/2008

Just a minor correction – Hendo’s final goal tally was 13. And how Francis ever got credited with that goal against QPR I don’t know…

2. Dave Summers - 19/05/2008

I’m also interested in getting some stats together for my ‘review of the players this season’ I’ll be sticking on my site.

Can you post the link of that fantasy league site? Seems like a good place to get things from – when you’re looking past goals scored things can be a bit tricky to find.

PS: great article.
PPS: 1 assist and 1 goal in 2 appearances? you should reassess Rinaldi…

3. Jamie - 19/05/2008

Which really goes to highlight what a poor return McAnuff has give us. The last month was more promising and he was certainly the brightest spark in the two Hull games, but if you check the results we still lost those games (by some margin).

If this was a school report then I’d be awarding him a C+. In fact I can’t see anyone really getting anything better than a B (Smith)

4. SwindonDave - 19/05/2008

Doyley for Hendo’s second against Southampton (carbon copy of one later at Norwich) and also Smith for his goal against Blackpool. If you run from half way does it count for the person who gave you the ball!

5. Matt Rowson - 19/05/2008

Paul – right you are about Hendo. Took the goal figures from the official site, silly me.

Dave – fantasy league is http://www.fantasyleague.com, however there are no Watford-related stats there, it’s all prem-focused really. I just used their method for defining assists, and then referred to match reports. http://www.soccerbase.com is as good as anywhere as a database of facts though.

Jamie – I think Smudger gets a B+, surely? Difficult to see how he could have contributed much more, even his weaker games were average at worst by most others’ standards.

SwindonDave – I thought Lloydy’s assist was to Doris’ first goal? I’ve given him one assist for that game anyway. Agree with your logic re Blackpool though, any assist to that goal would have been generous.

6. Dave Summers - 19/05/2008

Fair play Matt, will be getting familiar with those OS match reports myself 🙂

7. DM - 19/05/2008

My main take-away from this is that Smith’s number of assists is excellent, considering he spent most of the season watching the ball sail over his head.

The same must be said in mitigation for McAnuff, who some people seem to have had it in for from day one. He was consitently the brightest spark in our dreary side from Xmas onwards in my opinion, and had the ball been played to their feet inside the oppositon half more regularly, and they had strikers worthy of the name to feed, both he and Smith’s numbers would be higher.

8. Paul Goss - 19/05/2008

If you look at Rinaldi’s assists to game ratio and goals to game ratio you will see that he is just what we needed. ;o)

I really expected more from McAnuff and hope that the change in style of play will enable him to deliver more next season.

We shall see.

9. Mike S - 19/05/2008


Surely the key issue here is that it would have been much more fun to abbreviate Coventry to “CoC” and Crystal Palace to “CrP”, no?

10. Hornetboy84 - 19/05/2008

Hmmmm …

McAnuff ? -it is certainly true that both he and Smith were often “double-teamed” as teams worked out how to stop us last year.

The difference was (and is) that Smith still had the ability to go outside the defender and get a “pull back” cross in whereas McAnuff always would check inside and then either shoot (wastefully) or not have the best angle to deliver a telling cross(loops into penalty areas are not so good).

Hendo’s header quotiant !!! (service !!!)

Kabba – stats prove that yes indeed headless chickens are pretty useless no matter how much running around they do.

Priskin – 18 appearances and 0 assists. Has talent BUT Can he play in a team. Still not sure.

The Duke vs The King. If we can get Ellingtons shooting boots sorted then he will be a great WFC player. Can definitely act as a playmaker.

11. Tim Turner - 19/05/2008

Fascinating stuff. One thing that leaps out at me is how unbalanced our wings were this season: 15 assists from the right (from Smith, Doyley and Mariappa) compared to just 7 from the left (Johnson, McAnuff, Stewart and Sadler). (I can’t remember which wing McNamee was on when he managed his one assist, but it doesn’t make a lot of difference.)

I’ve always maintained that one reason why it was a mistake to drop Lloyd in January was that he’d formed such a good understanding with Tommy that they formed a really strong unit (a bit like Becks and Gary Nev used to for England). These stats suggest that Aidy never managed to create a similar partnership on the left-hand side.

12. Matt Rowson - 19/05/2008

The other thing about McAnuff, to which HornetBoy84 alludes, is that he’s playing on the “wrong” side and therefore unable to sling in a cross. And as DaveM states, perish the thought of our current side without McAnuff, whatever the lack of delivery.

Mike – you are, as ever, correct. What was I thinking?

Tim – McNamee’s cross to the far post for Campana’s header against Gillingham. From the left. But I think your point is well made.

13. Ed - 19/05/2008

Rinaldi’s two games were against Southend and Gillingham (of League One) in the League Cup. Probably not a fair comparison to league games.

14. Matt Rowson - 19/05/2008

you’re right, of course, Ed. But I think Mr.Goss was on the wind-up.

15. Back from Hammerau - 20/05/2008

For neither keeper in a “long-ball” team to get any assists says it all really.
A quick scan at the stats shows that on an assists-per-appearance basis (ignoring the likes of Rinaldi*), Sadler is second behind Smith.
McAnuff may’ve been more productive if Aidy hadn’t abandoned his tactic of previous seasons of getting the wingers to regularly switch flanks.

*I will never be able to take Rinaldi seriously as a player having heard Malky shout “Doogie” at him from the bench at a reserve game. In my mind, Doogie is a name for a precocious doctor in an American sit-com, not a footballer.)

16. Nick B - 20/05/2008

Hornetboy – Hendo’s poor record with headers is only partially about service; in my view he’s too static and lacks anticipation, failing to attack the near post on occasions and generally mix it up. He doesn’t punch his weight in the air inside the box

17. Wrighty - 20/05/2008

1 assist in 2 for MacNamee, 1 in 33 (+8 sub appearances) for MacAnuff proves that King Mc is Lil Antony. We need a campaign, headed up by Matt surely, to return him asap!!!!!!!!!

18. Matt Rowson - 20/05/2008


19. Simmo - 20/05/2008

Matt – Thanks for the stats which support the comment I made after the Hull match report, being, the main difference between us and Hull in the play offs was that their delivery into the box was far more effective. Crosses from both left and right were on to the Hull players head or to feet which lead to at least three of their goals and not just pinged in hoping someone might get a touch. It really doesn’t matter about the style of play so long as the delivery is accurate.

DM and Matt – where I disagree with you both is that MacAnuff is not worth his place in the side. If you enjoy watching footballers who perform tricks, try the circus (otherwise known as Arsenal). I thought football was about scoring goals and whether MacAnuff is on the right or left he just doesn’t produce a final ball for us to score regardless of whether we have anyone to put it in the net. His return of 1 assist and 2 goals, from a creative player, in over 40 games is appalling. Mahon, who was ridiculed for many of his appearances, provided more assists and in his 11 games Johnson scored nearly 3 times as many goals as MacAnuff in a third less number of games.

I haven’t disliked MacAnuff from “day one” but frankly if anyone can say he is worth his position in the team next season then maybe as a portly 45 year old I still stand some chance of signing as a professional footballer.

20. Matt - 20/05/2008

“For neither keeper in a “long-ball” team to get any assists says it all really.”

See your point – but I’ll bet you can find at least one person who sees the lack of assists from the keeper as a “BAD THING” and use it to point out why they think Richard Lee isn’t good enough…ok he’s not Ben Foster but he doesn’t deserve half the stick he’s been getting in the last couple of weeks.

21. James - 20/05/2008

I don’t really think MacAnuff playing on the left is much of an excuse. Ashley Young frequently played on the left and had no trouble slinging a decent cross in. The key is releasing the ball. Far too often MacAnuff hangs on to it and tries to beat his man over and over again.
A bit like Nordin Wooter without the fun.

That said, it isn’t entirely his fault. As Nick B rightly pointed out: movement in the box was severely lacking in the second half of the season.

22. Meldrew - 21/05/2008

Richard Lee is not Kevin Miller let alone not Ben Foster

23. Hornetboy84 - 21/05/2008

Anyway –

More importantly.

When does the season start again?

I’m bored!

24. Glory, Glory Horn - 21/05/2008

Meldrew. Good spot.

Kevin Miller isn’t Ben Foster either.

Come to think of it niether was Pat Jennings or Peter Schmeical.

Is it the close season?

Whatever happened to the Watford Observer clock by the way?

25. Matt Rowson - 21/05/2008

Nor is he (Big) Tony Coton.

The Clock is in storage at Watford Museum. There, that’s your summer knackered…

26. Matt - 22/05/2008

Is he Perry Digweed? How about Steve Cherry?

By the way Matt, could Jamie Hand ever have been described as a Helping Hand?

27. Nick B - 22/05/2008

More of a Big Clunking Fist or a Walking Caution, Matt

28. Glory, Glory Horn - 22/05/2008

What not even a clock conspiracy theory to string things out for at least a week?

I don’t think Dicky Lee is Steve Cherry although I’ve certainly never seen them in the same room. Maybe Dicky was the thin keeper trying to get out of Steve though. There’s a thought.

However nobody should have to be asked if they’re Perry Digweed.

That’s just plain wrong.

29. DM - 22/05/2008

“I haven’t disliked MacAnuff from “day one” but frankly if anyone can say he is worth his position in the team next season then maybe as a portly 45 year old I still stand some chance of signing as a professional footballer”

What are you doing on July 1st ? I’m sure Aidy Boothroyd will give you a trial at the very least….

30. Old Git - 23/05/2008

Thinking of topics to get us through the close season…anyone else out there remember Brian Owen’s goal against Tranmere in 1969, that went in off the Watford Observer clock?

31. JohnF - 23/05/2008

The end of an uncomfortable season in which it doesn’t feel that we reached the play-offs and itwas all going so well. Next season will be interesting and OK as long as we are not involved in a relegation struggle. It will be particularly interesting to see who goes, who stays and who arrives. We do have some good players but maintaining confidence and getting them to play as a team will be key. Confidence is so important. I just hope that there are no hate figures next season and that we can get back to that positive atmosphere at the Vic, which reflects a sense of hope and humility, recognising that we do punch above our weight and have done so for quite a while. We have some good young players and some interesting players coming back from long-term injury. There is work to be done with some players, I agree with James about MacAnuff and overall there is a need to work on ball control and passing. I see that Aidy has decided that he will not look for a mentor to replace Keith Burkenshaw and has consulted the person he thinks is the best in the world. As long as he wasn’t talking to the mirror maybe that will be OK and he will have learned from the experiences of the past season, as will his quite young coaching team. Some improvements to the pitch and who knows we might well have an exciting and pleasurable season again. I’m already looking forward to it. Have a great summer and enjoy the family Matt.

32. Simmo - 23/05/2008

DM – I’ve found my boots and put dubbin on them. Just waiting now for Aidy to call.

33. Meldrew - 23/05/2008

Knowing Boothroyd he will get rid of Lee and then say he has signed a Chinese trialist who calls himself Lichard Ree.

Cue first game of the season against Arsehole Rovers and Ree comes rushing out of his area allowing the ball to bounce over him and into the net. There then follows angry recriminations from the Watford defence and Bromby then notices something very odd about Ree’s face – it is all rubbery and is a MASK. Bromby pulls the mask off revealing the face of RICHARD LEE who then says ‘I would have gotten away with it if wasn’t for you pesky kids’.

34. Apperley 'Orn - 23/05/2008

So who is this mystery “best in the world” person that Aidy consulted? Harry Bassett?

I notice that the Duke is “allegedly” in talks with Derby. I have to say I think that, were we to adapt our style as promised, Ellington would more than likely be a completely different prospect. Still, we can afford to blow 3.5m on players can’t we? I really can’t see us getting anything close to that for him now…


35. JOHN M. - 23/05/2008

Old Git! Thanks for the reminder of the Brian Owen goal, probably the flukiest goal I have ever seen!

From where i was watching, (Vicarage Road, directly behind goal) Owens shot hit the foot of a tackling defender —something no-one else seems to have seen— and was the reason the ball climbed almost vertically, until it was above the Observer clock, and above the Rookery roof. The tranmere keeper (can’t remember his name), actually strolled around the side of the goal to collect the ball. I remember a ball boy watching the ball and running behind the goal, presumably also to collect the ball. The ball, as it rose above the stand roof, seemed to stop in the (strong) wind and hang for a second or two, before plummeting down. The keeper suddenly realised that the ball was NOT behind the goal, and scrambled back around the (right hand as I watched) post, and in the panic the ball seemed to glance off his shoulder and into the net (although, due to distance and angle, I can’t vouch for this). The shot was certainly higher than the rookery roof, so if anyone knows it’s height in those days—. I understand the Tranmere keeper swore that the ball was behind the goal line and blew back into play—but then he would, wouldn’t he! Perhaps we needed a goal like this to improve the end of last season—at least we would have had something to laugh at.

36. Back from Hammerau - 24/05/2008

“The Clock is in storage at Watford Museum.”
Is it like the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark?
It’s an artefact of such power that the authorities have decided it should be hidden away so no one can misuse it.

37. Hornetboy84 - 24/05/2008

Its my birthday today.

Instead of going to Wembley I have to go out to lunch with the wife and kids.

Does anyone have the telephone number for a Mr. Friend ?

38. duds - 25/05/2008

such a shame about Leeds tho

39. ramsgate horn - 25/05/2008

End of a season that was ultimately a disappointment,because of expectation levels. I thought we had a shot at the playoffs at the start of the season, but when we got off to that great run at the start it was looking like automatic promotion. but it all fell away,why? 1 king left, he was the one player who had the knack of scoring he may not be as good as he was 2 years ago but still at this level a threat. 2 Johnson going back to boro,i was suprised to see he didnt create more ,but he scored a lot for a winger and made some great runs 3 Ellington, perhaps off to derby for a knockdown fee, on paper he has been one of the most prolific of strikers outside the prem,but fallow for the last couple of years , he didnt do it at West Brom and we couldnt make use of him,shame he never hit form and our tactics didnt serve him the goals he got were all decent but 4 in 18 not enough he became a scapegoat for some.4 Hard to shake the feeling we have wasted a great opportunity this year,now rebuilding on the cards, we need fresh blood, maybe Shittu, Ellington ,Priskin Lee,Demerit and Kabba out ( FORGOT STEWART who is definately going).5 still think boothroyd can deliver again im allready looking forward to the new season, in the absence of an England campaign this summer, im going to make the most of the sunshine, hoping for some great players to join.,Some that may leave ill miss Shittu mainly Demerit although hes not been in great form.6 defeat in the play offs hurt, but weve got to come back All HORNS HAVE A GOOD SUMMER

40. Old Git - 27/05/2008

Tranmere’s keeper on the In-Off-the-Watford-Observer-Clock night was Jimmy Cumbes. I only remember this because he was also a professional cricketer, playing at around that time for Surrey. He later went on to play for Lancashire and Aston Villa. There were quite a number of footballer-cricketers in those days, who would switch sports in the summer. It doesn’t seem to happen anymore.
I miss that clock. I also miss the Shrodells Stand. And Roger Kirkpatrick.
Have to go now, time for my morning nap.

41. Nick B - 27/05/2008

Jeez, Roger Kirkpatrick, had forgotten him. Wish you still got refs that looked like Mr Pickwick (although we’ve got plenty who ref like him)

42. JOHN M. - 28/05/2008

Such memories! Roger Kirkpatrick! Jimmy Cumbes–yes, apart from his Tranmere Chuckle Brother moment he was a decent keeper. Odd, but thinking of Brian Owens goal I realised that I can remember it in detail aqnd full colour, as do I remember Scullions goal against Stockport the year before — but I was at the 7 – 1 win against Grimsby, and I remember the pre match, and after the match, but I can hardly remember anything about the game at all—apart from several fleeting memories of Scullion making the Grimsby full backs life a misery. I expect that full back faded into oblivion. Anyone know what happened to that loser?

43. Esp - 28/05/2008

Kirkpatrick …he was quite a feature of the 1970’s Big Match wasn’t he? He did amusing things like going for his top pocket after awarding a free kick (making the player think he was taking out his notebook) only to brandish a hanky!

OK he was a bit of an exhibitionist but a lot more pleasing on the eye than Styles, Poll and the current crop of egotists (sorry Mick Dennis if you’re watching)

Finally getting back on topic – the WO on Friday will be featuring letters from their readers about what players should feature next season now that Aidy has belatedly found a new style – has anyone else noticed that Heidar fan Chris Coleman wants to bring him to Coventry. As he is surplus to requirements at Bolton am I the only one who thinks that a Darius/HH partnership would be a mouthwatering prospect?

44. Old Git - 29/05/2008

Ah! Watford 7 Grimsby 1…that’s perked me up out of my afternoon nap! Scully in full flow was a sight to behold. It’s nice to see that there are some other old gits who are able to navigate their way around a keyboard. I can’t help you with the name of that Grimsby full back, John M, but I would like to propose, as some kind of payback for his afternoon of misery at the Vic back in 1967, that the new Main Stand should be named after him.

If anyone remembers his name, can we start a BHappy petition, Matt??

45. simonw - 29/05/2008

grimsby full-back made mincemeat of by scully…. not one g taylor, i sincerely hope…?!

46. markymark - 29/05/2008

Henderson and Helguson =Mouthwatering?

Only terms of scaring/hacking the opposition defenders,collecting yellow/red cards maybe!?
No really,they are too similar plus together have the pace of a couple of 1 legged donkeys.Love em both tho!

47. ramsgate horn - 29/05/2008

Was too young for 68-69, but not by too much,my first game was in april 71 a 2-1 win v Oxford with Wigg and Garbett scoring for us. to secure our second division status for another year, anyone remember Dennis Bonds goal v Exeter in 1976 a cracking volley ,old git lucky for us the mystery man was a better manager than right back!

48. NickB - 29/05/2008

I think the Albert McClenaghan Stand has a nice ring to it

Then when it falls over noone can claim to be surprised

49. Matty McG - 29/05/2008

If Douglas Rinaldi played in more games, he’d have got more credit. This guy isn’t bad, just constantly overlooked. Maybe not a first choice starter, but 2 games against League 1 opposition surely doesnt do him justice, no?

50. Matt Rowson - 30/05/2008

I can’t be bothered.

51. Big Tone - 30/05/2008

I can.

For the umpteenth time, if Rinaldi was any chuffing kop then he’d have been selected.

He’s not, so he wasn’t.

End of.


52. Old Git - 30/05/2008

Yes ramsgate horn, I do remember Dennis Bond’s goal against Exeter, a skidding scudding screamer from outside the box, and from a really sharp angle in front of the Rookery, almost from the touchline, as I recall. One of the most astonishing goals I remember that that end, it ranks alongside Cally’s against Manchester City, Malcolm Poskett’s against Coventry and Damien Francis’s against…erm…Watford.

53. AndyC - 30/05/2008

According to that nost reliable of sources BSaD 😉 GT was indeed the fullback Scullion roasted all afternoon: http://www.bsad.org/tribute/scullion/enter.html

54. DM - 30/05/2008

If my Granny had gonads, she’s be my Grandad !!!

55. Adam J - 30/05/2008

Anyone have any idea what type of money we are looking at for the loan fee from nathan?

56. markymark - 30/05/2008

Well done Boothroyd ………………..not!
Another sh*te transfer deal!
Can you believe this one ? Ellington to Derby on a one year loan!Ok they pay his £1 million pound a year wages but then he signs for them on a free if they want him.
What if he scores 20 goals for them,us WFC fans will be tearing our hair out knowing they ot him for nothing when we paid millions!

57. JOHN M. - 01/06/2008

Ramsgate horn—can’t remember the Bond goal you mentioned, but I do remember several of his goals in his first period at Watford. A player who should have had a far better career than a reserve at Tottenham.
Anyone remember the Northampton match when Barry Dyson played them on his own and scored four in a 5-1 win?
On a slightly different point, I saw Pat Jennings playing for Watford in my first ever match (Brentford!). How many other World class players have played for Watford BEFORE the tail end of their career? Can anybody add to the list!

58. MARKYMARK - 03/06/2008

John Barnes

Potentially Ashley Young ?

Can’t think of any others……but :

Helgusons’ heading is world class
Macca’s quick feet at times were world class ( IMO!)
Callaghan’s crossing abilty
Luther Blissett’s uncanny ability to miss open goals !?
Henderson penalty v West Ham & in play off final were world class

59. Paul Wiggins - 03/06/2008

Depends what you call world class, in Pat Jennings’ league only John Barnes, at England international level David James, Tony Currie, Luther Blissett. You could possibly add John McClelland to the world class list. Apart from these I’m not sure. Not a very long list and not likely to lenghthen much now that youth team players disappear before they make the first team. I wonder if we found a new John Barnes how long he would stay with us, certainly not 6 years probably nearer to 6 minutes.

60. Mick G. - 03/06/2008

John Barnes

61. Old Git - 03/06/2008

So that unlucky full back was GT, was it? My goodness, it makes my wild suggestion that the new stand should be named after him seem not so wild after all…although upon reflection NickB’s suggestion of the ‘Albert McClenaghan Stand’ should be given serious consideration.
John M you must be a Very Old Git. But yes, I remember Barry Dyson against Northampton, which I think was on Good Friday 1968. He arrived like a whirlwind from somewhere (I can’t remember where) but fizzled out fairly quickly and went off to the Orient, shortly before Ken Furphy unearthed Barry Endean.

62. MARKYMARK - 04/06/2008

Shittu’s ability to scare the sh*t(tu) out of opponents could be world class!

63. Simon in Oz - 05/06/2008

Old Git, John M (presumably not my brother as he cannot type) and Wiggins are my type of posters! Memories, memories!

Yes, I also saw ‘Basil’ Dyson score those 4. I thought it was Easter Saturday – but who cares? He brightened the end of a colourless 67/8 season that preceded the great promotion. He was an entertainer – like Billy Jennings (though we got more money for him).
That Easter was a couple of months after Bonser sold Tony Currie for about 30k quid after 20 games for us. I agree with Wiggins; he would be my pick for the “World Class – [What if]” section. Sadly, due to a birth defect (ie. born circa 1950) he was expected to run around all day and not display his skills. He played a few times for England, but was, like Hudson and Bowles, shunned by the work-rate fashion of the era. Peter Storey played in midfield for England for goodness sake! Instead of Tony.
As your BHappy Oz reporter I must report that:
Adam Griffiths (with WFC in 2005 – made it to the WFC bench in 1 game – not used; released later that year) made his Australian International debut against Ghana in Sydney last month.
David Carney (Sheff Utd – plays occassionally for the Blades) is a great attacking left back (converted winger – good cross – good shot) who plays for Oz national team now with great success. Well worth a look by Aidy if he wants an attacking left back.
Another Sydney FC Player, Mark Milligan, has been trialling with Arsenal. If, as so many do. he falls at that hurdle, we would do well to get him. He has that calm authority at the back that you want and he’s only 21/22.
As with, I’m sure, many others, I say, “Thanks” to Matt for doing this site this year. I love visiting it. A lot of the other WFC-interested sites are so full of unpleasantness and angst, it’s good to be in a place that views our shared obsesssion as a glorious, yet vain stupidity..(but glorious all the same).

I think the Bobby Svark Stand has a lot to go for it.

64. Simon in Oz - 05/06/2008

John M
Almost forget it in my excitement. Looking for a World Class Player who did it for WFC before strutting the World stage?
Step forward, Mr Mike Gatting. Played for WFC in the SE Counties League in the late 70s /early80s, I think, before concentrating on cricket and becoming World Class in batting, captaining England and being embroiled in umpiring controversies.
His brother, Steve, played for Brighton and, sadly, Arsenal (possibly, but not definately, in Luther’s game at Highbury in March 87).

65. JOHN M. - 05/06/2008

I don’t mind being another old git, but not sure about the ‘very’–my Zimmer is fitted with wheels, so I can move at a speed slightly greater than Matt Jackson at full speed. I remember Barry Dyson scoring a succession of spectacular goals (15, I think) over half a season, most of them from outside the penalty area, but he never reached such heights after that. I particularly remember against Northampton he not only scored four, but had one shot blatantly handballed off the line, at least two more cleared off the line, and I think he hit the woodwork at least once—all (but one goal) in the first half. I’m not sure, but I think the fifth goal (a penalty) may have been for a foul on him, too—but I may be wrong about that!

I agree about Barnes–debatably world class. Agree Ashley Young may make it, too. Tony Currie should have been, The much (often unjustifyably) vilified David James could be. You are spot on, Paul Wiggins. Any outstanding youth player would be stolen, by the premiership, from the academy before they would be out of their nappies.

66. ramsgate horn - 05/06/2008

world class not too many Barnes,Ashley Young will i think prove to be. Mo Johnston at his best i agree Mcclelland, Coton England class, if not world class Tony Currie, BLISSETT scored at the highest l;evel, CALLAGHAN when on his game BARDSLEY possibly best right back ive seen at Watford

67. scotshorn - 06/06/2008

The more I think back on last season the more despondent I become – 1 win in 16 ( and that was undeserved against Coventry) – who would have picked Stoke and Hull to finish above us at the halfway stage – what decent players are going to want to join us – will they believe AB when he says no more Hoofball? – when the Derby’s, QPR’s, Birmingham’s etc are competing aganst us for their signature with money to spend. Is Malky Mackay now head of our Sales team? We bottled it big time last year and I fear we are set for a struggle to reach the playoffs again

68. Esp - 07/06/2008

Barry Dyson …a whirlwind?? In years to come they’ll name a vacuum cleaner after him surely….or am I talking hot air?

69. Tapps - 11/06/2008

For many years my only memories of my first visit to Vicarage Road was sitting high in the East Stand, Watford winning 5-1 and Barry Dyson scoring 4. With the advent of the ‘net I was able to discover it was a Good Friday, opponents were Northampton and I would’ve been 8 years old. Recently I saw a programme on ebay for this game but the cover indicated it was a 7:30 KO. This baffles me as I could swear it was light…and my parents weren’t the type who would approve of a delicate young thing being out to all hours. Are any of you really ‘old gits’ who were also there able to confirm?


70. JOHN M. - 15/06/2008

Somewhere in my mothers house (yes, she is incredibly old) is the programme for this match—I’ll have to look for it! My memory is of a bright sunny day (but then all the best matches are sunny in my memory!). However, I have a strong memory of watching Dysons fourth goal having walked through to the Rookery from the Vicarage end (we could do that in those enlightened days), and that was definately in broad daylight. I am sure it was a 3.00 pm kickoff. One further memory returns—when the penalty appeal for the handball (see previous) was turned down, Dyson ran across the penalty area to kick hell out of the penalty spot. I havn’t seen that one before or since. Incidentaly, its the Late Barry Dyson, he died at the young age of 52.

71. JOHN M. - 15/06/2008

Ramsgate Horn:- Mo Johnston — how could I have forgotten Mo! Yes, touching world class at his best. Tony Coton—I’m not sure about world class, but if he were 20 years or so younger he would be an England regular. I always felt it was a crime he never played a full England match.
Well before my time, but when at Arsenal, Cliff Holton was considered strong England material, but did not progress as he did not wish to become a full time professional—he stayed part time throughout his career. I think he could have been another ‘might have been’. Met him once at his engineering works–a big man with a big presence. Only saw him on the pitch during his second spell—I am told just a pale shadow.

72. JOHN M. - 16/06/2008

Sorry, it’s me again. Just a thought. With all these memories returning—is there anyone out there with a contact at the BBC? Do the old Match of the Day archives still exist from the sixties and seventies? I would pay GOOD money for a DVD with those old MOTD black and white highlights—Watford usually managed an appearance or two every season, and somewhere in those files Dyson, Scullion et al are still playing—I am sure there are other old farts like me who would also pay good money. I believe there was one rare match broadcast from the Vicarage in the late fifties, too. Probably, like many BBC files, they were destroyed but—!?!?

73. Nick B - 19/06/2008

Dyson v Northampton was probably about my fifth game, definitely a pm fixture; he was awesome that day. Funny, I remember that and the subsequent (promotion) seasons better than than the one just finished

Interesting thought from John M, the first coverage I remember was the Rotherham game where the fans claered the pitch of snow and only four games took place across the country, so we got half an hour that night.

I’d also like to see again the terrific cup performances at West Ham and West Brom early in the Taylor era, the first should have been on MOTD with Coleman commenting, but was shelved owing to a technicians strike

74. Simon in Oz - 19/06/2008

Dear John M
BBC tapes? Surely, most of the greats would be on the LWTV Big Match records?
Among the best would be the match in c1970/71 (?) when we got 2 goals at home in the last 3 minutes to beat Leicester City 2:1.
Endean scored the winner, I think. The wonderful Brian Moore would surely have been the commentator.
All those memories……and I’m only 48!
Keep smiling!

75. Old Git - 19/06/2008

All this nostagia has prompted me to think up a Dream Team to rival the BSaD All-Time Team. Sadly, I have been unable to find satisfactory quality in very recent times, so only one player from the last few seasons makes my selection. It is interesting to speculate about how the two teams would get on, should they ever be able to play each other in some ideal Platonic universe.
I envisage them in an attacking 4-2-4 formation with the two wide forwards being able to cut inside to devastating effect. I’ve only nominated one sub…and have not named a manager because that would be simply too obvious.

Gary Plumley

Gary Chivers
Ramon Vega
Pierre Issa
Patrick Blondeau

Steve Talboys
Harry Willis (capt)

Nathan Ellington
Brian Greenhalgh
Trevor Senior
Jamie Moralee

Sub: Peter Beadle

76. ramsgate horn - 20/06/2008

JOHNM- I would love a a dvd of old Watford games, i remember a match in 1972 when we played notts county, John Farley was brilliant that day and scored generally running rings around them in a 3rd division game.i cant remember any of 4th div championship games being on,but remember the 3-3 draw against Brentford at griffin park being on the big match in 79 also i think a 2-2 draw v rotheram was on motd, I Expect footage from the cup runs is available ,I have lots of video footage from about 1985 on different tapes i have a big football video collection but not a lot of dvds, any recollection of games from yesteryear that were televised ?, I KNOW OLD RERUNSOF THE 1970 CUP QUATER FINAL V LIVERPOOL HAVE BEEN ON SKY AND THE CHELSEA GAME.

77. JOHN M. - 01/07/2008

Old Git! What a team! It sent a shiver down my spine! Well, maybe not a shiver, and maybe not my spine. It did occur to me that they might have put up a better hand over the last half of last season—then I looked again, took some Phillosan (remember them?), had my nurse tuck me into bed and felt better.
Ramsgate Horn/Simon in Oz. Quite right, much old material would be from LWTV. I do remember an LWTV that featured an early John Barnes (“A player for the future”) and an interview with Elton, but I can’t remember the game. Another match was a 2-0 win with Roy Low and Dyson scoring, but I can’t remember the opposition. I think I saw the goals from the 2-1 cup win against Man. U. on a news programme at the time. I am sure there were at least 2 games from the Furphy promotion season shown. I also remember the Leicester Match–I agree Endean scored–I also remember that Leicester dominated the first 87 minutes. Yes, and it was Brian Moore! I can also remember a furphy match (opposition forgotten) that was televised due to it being only one of a handfull of matches that survived snow—Watford scored 5, and the centre half scored two—a young lad from Scotland—his name escapes me. So many memories. I wonder how much will remain from last season in supporters memories in thirty years from now. One further memory–Does anyone remember the one season when Ron Saunders was centre forward? I do remember with absolute clarity Saunders shoulder charging a ‘keeper into the net complete with ball and the goal standing—wouldn’t happen now!

78. JOHN M. - 02/07/2008

Just a brief note re. last message. The young Scotish centre half was Walter Lees. Wonder what happened to him?

79. Esp - 02/07/2008

John M – if you have access to cable or sattelite channels the best place for re-runs of old Watford matches from the 70’s and 80’s would be ITV 4. Normally Big Match Revisited is on Midday and 4pm on Thursdays and repeated on Fridays but you would have to check the TV guides as it is not consistently on. Failing that another good channel for nostalgia is Sky chanel 442 ESPN Classic which occasionally does good biographies of teams and managers and repeats old European tournament matches. Often they are exact copies of BBC or ITV coverage. As for you finding old MotD highlights I wouldn’t trust BBC archivists to sit the right way round on a lavatory seat. They wiped the first series of the classic Not Only…But Also with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and also a lot of old Steptoe episodes as they wanted to re-use old tapes in those days for economic reasons. The last 25 years of MotD may be available – if you are on the wml try and ask Jeff Bartrop who is a BBC employee who mahave details – I have his mobile if you want to contact me privately

80. JOHN M. - 02/07/2008


Thanks for that information. Unfortunatly, at present, work and other matters leave me little time earlier than 11pm. But I think that, once time is free, I’ll may well try to source some old footages. I have heard about the half-wits at the BBC and their file destruction–I am slightly aquainted with a Dr Who fan who has dedicating 25 years, with others, trying to recover original Dr Who episodes—apparently most of the first few years were destroyed, and many existing, surviving episodes were recovered from other worldwide (and very obscure) sources.

81. Esp - 07/07/2008

So many old William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton B&W Dr Who episodes were exterminated John? I have my suspicions as to who may have done it 🙂 With apologies to BHaPPY for going wildly off topic; Matt called this thread Helping Hands and the Daleks only had a grabber and a sink plunger iirc. If anyone has seen early Eddie Izzard videos that image may bring back memories of a brilliant routine from the great man himself

82. Old Git - 10/07/2008

It was against Rotherham in the snow that Walter Lees scored twice. And Tom Walley scored with one of his trademark piledrivers, it would be great to know that one of those had survived the BBC’s ‘wipe everything good’ policy.
We no longer have a player of the sort who used to be described as ‘having dynamite in his boots.’ Ian Bolton was another one, I suppose that Johnno was the most recent. Oh yes, and Gavin Mahon, once, against Portsmouth.
I think the other match in the Furphy season to be shown on MoTD was the home derby against Luton, which was won by a single early strike from Roy Low.
Roy, of course, is distinguished by being the Watford player with the shortest ever name, narrowly beating Ron Wigg and Ray Lugg. When I get my breath back after writing this very long post, maybe I shall try and compile a team of shortest-ever-name players. That’s three to start, any way.
And Esp…I think Daleks have either a grabber OR a sink plunger, not both. And there was a sublime Spike Milligan sketch about mixed marriages, when a Pakistani woman married a Dalek. I expect that’s been wiped too.

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