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End of Term Report Part 3 20/06/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Rejuvenated and invigorated by kind words of encouragement, we press on….

8- John Eustace

One of the several unpredictable developments of the season was the exclusion and subsequent loaning out of John Eustace. A year ago, Eustace would have probably been cited as the most convincing of the previous January’s recruits, but it seems a long time since both sets of fans derided Rob Styles’ final red card at Vicarage Road as he saw red against Stoke.  By the time Brendan Rodgers discarded Eustace in December his detractors in the stands were growing in number, the widely held belief that his “legs had gone” drawn from performances lessening in authority.  Despite which… Eustace’s showing on returning with an otherwise uninterested Derby side at the season’s end added weight to the suspicion that, wage-bill considerations aside, this was someone who might still have a role.  He’s not even thirty, for goodness’ sake.  Seriously.

Next Season: Minus Jack Cork, probably, and Lee Williamson, definitely, there could still be a role for Eustace.  My guess is not, though.

9- Tamas Priskin

The ugly duckling finally matured into a swan last season, albeit a swan who still got caught offside too often and retained a tendency to aggravate with his diffidence.  The impeccable finishing that had previously been hinted at became a trademark, however, and “dink!” became a text message that conveyed goal, goalscorer and a mental image of the latest developments with supreme efficiency.  The goal against Chelsea, amply decorated by Lloydy’s outside-of-the-foot through-ball and Ashley Cole’s accompanying expression of anguish, was arguably the moment of the season.

Next Season: An asset who would fetch a decent fee, and one of several candidates to be swanning his way to Berkshire.  Kinda hope we hold onto him though… there’s more to come from Tamas, and you can’t teach finishing like that.

10- Grzegorz Rasiak

A very different animal to the previous incumbent of the no. 10 shirt, Rasiak managed to look an effective striker, poacher and line-leader without ever either defining the way we played or imposing himself on games in the fashion of Darius Henderson.  The laziness which Southampton fans in particular grumbled about was never really in evidence, although that Rasiak probably considered himself to be playing for a contract may have been a factor here.  Not someone I’d have associated with spectacular goals before his arrival he nonetheless managed several, not least the Goal of the Season at Charlton, and a memorable curled effort against Palace in the cup… in the end, despite the turbulence of his environment, Rasiak did pretty much what he’d been brought in to do, no more and no less.

Next Season:  Would have been nice to see him back, but that seems to be off the menu;  Malky, in any event, only started him once in four games in his caretaker spell.  Leicester?

11- Jobi McAnuff

Perhaps the most evident beneficiary of November’s managerial change, McAnuff had been a source of frustration and disappointment under Boothroyd. His one outstanding game in four or five epitomised the capricious winger stereotype but at a price tag that demanded far more.  Under Rodgers, suddenly, we had the player that we thought we’d signed in the summer of 2007… potent, consistent, aggressive, and often as big a threat as Tommy Smith;  on occasion (whisper it) even more so.  Like Lee Cook before him alas – although in very different circumstances – we may have seen the best of McAnuff just as he packs his bags.

Next Season:  Having already stated – via his agent – that Rodgers was the only reason for staying at Vicarage Road, his departure seems somewhat inevitable.  A great loss, too, which we wouldn’t have been saying a year ago.  Reading would seem to be candidates, tediously enough.  Sheffield United, too.

12- Lloyd Doyley

If Lloydy has never really exercised the boo-boys at Vicarage Road then there have certainly been a vocal minority who have decried the abilities evident to the rest of us, simultaneously sticking a flag in the same sort of tedious aesthetic high ground that Ipswich and West Brom fans claim to occupy, to the derision of everyone else.  This season, and not before time, Doyley finally seems to have claimed his rightful cult status.  He’s not the perfect footballer, quite evidently… he’d have been in the Premiership long since were that the case.  But he’s a bloody fine defender, a very decent footballer, and long may he man the Vicarage Road barricades.  There are still detractors, naturally… a few will doubtless crawl out from their joyless crevaces in response to this posting.  But last season’s conversion to left back finally swung the debate decisively.  I just want to be there when he finally gets that goal…

Next Season:  More of the same.  Thank goodness.



1. Jeremy Clarke - 21/06/2009

jc here

and it seems I got here first!

……is your middle name “common sense”,Mr MR..damn fine stuff

oh and by my reckoning we will be “safe” by the sheff wed away game

2. Wat4Steve - 21/06/2009

Seriously what is your relationship with Useless Matt?

Some people NEVER actually thought he was any good. Whilst he was suited to AB’s style of ‘ball winner / get rid of it over the top’ type footballer he just isn’t a footballer and was found out when he asked to pass and keep the ball.

A poor man’s Mahan and worst bit of business we did that year twice the wages and half the man, I wouldn’t be worried if he never wore a Watford shirt again and thought he was awful for Derby at the Vic as Rose and Cork danced passed him as if he didn’t exist. Until he reverted o kicking lumps out of the young lads.

An other panic buy and a costly one AGAIN

3. Tim Turner - 21/06/2009

Nothing here I can argue with, as usual. The really worrying thing is that we’re up to no. 12 in the squad (ie what should theoretically be the core of it, though Aidy’s laissez-faire attitude to squad numbering complicates things somewhat) and you’ve only identified two players – Cowie and Lloydinho – who we can be confident of seeing in a Watford shirt come August.

It’s all very well opting for continuity in awarding the manager’s job to Malky, but if there’s a massive turnover in the squad, we’re going to struggle next season. I always reckon that it’s asking a lot to incorporate more than three or four new players into a starting eleven; if avoiding that means giving the likes of Eustace and Sadler another chance, then I’d prefer to go down that route.

4. Matt Rowson - 21/06/2009

Wat4Steve. “Some people” think lots of things. “Some people” voted for the BNP. “Some people” are fuckwits. What’s your point?

Eustace captained Coventry in the top flight in his early twenties. He was clearly well regarded by Stoke. He hasn’t had the most glorious of Watford careers and I agree with the implication that we’d have been better off hanging on to Gav. But “isn’t a footballer” is a grotesque polarisation.

5. Simon in Oz - 23/06/2009

Fine work, MR, and not only due to the fact you use the word “uninterested” correctly in reference to Derby’s performance. Almost all journalists and bloggers nowadays use “disinterested” INCORRECTLY in this context; sending pedants like me completely nuts.

6. Matt Rowson - 23/06/2009

Thanks Simon. I share your frustration.

7. Jeremy Clarke - 23/06/2009

JC here

isnt a pedant something you hang around your neck not your nuts, no wonder you are frustrated!

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