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End of Term Report Part 5 05/06/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

OK, so the study situation is that the study’s looking grand but the PC is knackered. Or at least the monitor is playing silly buggers, the power light flicking on and off. Any advice welcome. Meanwhile, this is written on my wife’s laptop, and I’ve only got a half hour while she watches a recording of “Doctors”, so…

21- Lewis Young

It was always a bit unfair. Had Lewis not had a famous older brother, he wouldn’t even merit an entry here… it’s been eighteen months since he had a sniff of the first team, and longer since he looked like having a career at Watford. And yet… big brother exploded into a Premiership star and so we looked hopefully on, watching, waiting. And Lewis went to Hereford on loan, where he was Ashley Young’s little brother again. He needs a run somewhere to get over that… and he’s got something, a bit of pace, a bit of cleverness, but – based on the memory of eighteen months ago – still the frailty that Ashley grew out of. See, there I go again.

Next Season: Will get a pro contract somewhere, Division Four probably, and hopefully out of Ashley’s shadow.

22- Craig Cathcart

I have a ten month old daughter, Sofia. She’s lovely. Bouncy, cheerful, placid. She’s sitting up, babbling, trying to explore. She’ll be crawling before long, and hopefully she’ll have teeth too, goodness knows she’s been chewing her fingers for long enough.
She hasn’t always been at this stage. She was a tiny tot once, 3lb 10oz when she was born. Really, really small. Thing is, I can’t remember her being that small at all. I don’t need convincing that it happened. Babies are born, they are small they get bigger, I get it. Her little red book documents that she was once really very small indeed. I just don’t remember…
Similarly, Craig Cathcart played twelve games on loan from Manchester United at the start of the season. I know that it happened, the match programme says so. But I struggle to remember anything much about it, beyond a sense of being slightly underwhelmed…. Soccerbase tells me that he disappeared injured from Vicarage Road a couple of minutes after that goal against QPR. Okay.

Next Season: Sofia will be walkig by the end of the year. Cathcart will be on loan somewhere. Preston, maybe.

23- Jordan Parkes

Another who we’d not seen in first team action for getting on for two years, Parkes’ failure to secure a loan this season when made available was all the confirmation required that the full back who caught the eye as the youngest member of the team that got to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2005 wasn’t likely to earn a contract extension. His few first team outings were high on exuberance but low on defensive discipline; that wasn’t seen as an insurmountable problem since young players, particularly talented young players, can learn. Jordan evidently didn’t.

Next Season: Like Young, you’d back him to get a contract somewhere. Stevenage again maybe. Or Cambridge.

24 #1- Mike Williamson

Not a lot to say here really, beyond what is blindingly obvious. One, Williamson is a terrific defender who immediately sorted out our back line on his arrival at the start of 2009 and whose dramatic removal from it all but reversed the effect seven months later. Two, a player unprofessional enough to sulk out of an away trip to Swansea because we’re playing hardball over a potential Premiership move for a recently signed, contracted individual isn’t someone we should shed too many tears about whatever the cost to the side on the pitch. I want Watford to do well, and Williamson was certainly an asset, but I want to want Watford to do well far more; I want to like the guys in yellow. Mackay claimed to have made his peace when an unlikely return to the Vic in the wake of Fratton Park chaos was mooted in January, but better offers were always going to be on the table.

Next Season: Good enough to be a solid option for Newcastle in the top flight. Our defence still needs him, or someone like him. Never mind.

24 #2- Martin Taylor

Ultimately Williamson’s replacement both in the middle of defence and in the no 24 shirt, Taylor provided some painfully needed height in the side even if the leadership that his pedigree suggested hasn’t really been evident. In truth, Taylor has looked rusty and fallible at times, although after scarcely 100 games in six seasons at Birmingham (and none prior to joining us at the end of January) perhaps we should reserve judgment until a proper pre-season has been undertaken. Only occasionally rusty however… on his better days Taylor has been commanding and authoritative, and to refer back to the last entry I’ll take honest but fallible over the reverse.

Next Season: One of few experienced players in the squad, we need Taylor to be a fixture in the middle of defence.

25- Nathan Ellington
Good God. I mean, really. Greece. And a team sponsored by Skoda; I know that being bought up by Volkswagen means that the old jokes don’t really carry any traction any more. But really. What a bloody disgrace of a career. This is a man, remember, who Manchester United wanted to sign from Wigan until he got injured. Who somehow became a guy who completely failed to make an impact at, if we’re honest, a fair-to-middling-on-a-good-day second division side and then got packed off on loan to the only buggers who’d have him. One telling contribution to this season was a late, late equaliser at Ipswich. Not nearly enough.

Next Season: Accounts differ as to whether Skoda Xanthi signed him for the calendar year or for the season. Either way, he’s a year left on his contract and I can’t imagine that a mid-table Greek side is stumping up his full salary. Ironic really; the manager who signed him was very keen on encouraging us to “move on” on his arrival. Eighteen months and two managers after his departure, his legacy prevents us from doing so.


1. JohnF - 06/06/2010

Matt, An interesting and, in some cases, depressing group. Jordan Parkes we all had hopes for as we aren’t overly supplied with left-footed players. Shame. Ellington, a disastrous error, a man who has lost the desire to play and makes supporters lose the will to live but honorable? No because he clearly isn’t bothered but still is happy to take the money.
I don’t think that Craig Cathcart was as anonymous as you indicate. He is still very young and defensively wasn’t as solid as we would want but he did have ability to pass the ball and was responsible for setting up many of the attacks during our purple patch. I think we missed that when he was injured. Granted the arrival back of JDM resulted in a different approach and the desperate need for a target man up front as the ball suddenly became a lot more airborne. Still we watch his future with interest and Ellington’s with trepidation.

Matt Rowson - 06/06/2010

Fair enough John, apologies if I was harsh on Cathcart. I think he was built up by expectations such that we expected him to be brilliant when, as you suggest, he’s a youngster, albeit one with pedigree.

straightnochaser - 07/06/2010

I think JohnF is a little harsh on JDM. Under Rodgers & Malky his distribution has improved considerably not to mention his preparedness to control with feet or chest rather than resorting instinctively to the hoof or header clear. My recollection of Cathcart was pretty much the inverse at times albeit he showed fleeting glimpses of a decent touch.
I think it was the testimony of Argyle fans about his Championship performances the previous season that raised our expectations as much as his ‘United starlet’ status. Young players are wont not to maintain such performance levels season on season as we know only too well…..

2. nigel - 06/06/2010

what load of rubbish

Matt Rowson - 06/06/2010

sharp insight nigel. concise, pithy, and general enough to be beyond dispute. good work.

3. Flippo Galli - 07/06/2010

Yes, thank you Nigel. You argued your point very well. Have a sticker.

4. DM - 07/06/2010


Try gloryhorns.co.uk

5. daft_evader - 07/06/2010

Thinking back to Young’s appearance against Bristol City 18 months, a few things stick in the mind. No one, with the exception of Jenkins, appeared willing/able to give Young sympathetic passes to his feet – he appeared utterly unable to compete for balls with a defender.

Also, late in the match he did receive a nice ball (from Jenkins I think) midway into out own half in a counter attacking position breaking from a Bristol City corner or throw. He only had a couple of defenders in front of him and I thought (hoped) he might try to run at them and open things up a bit. Instead he stopped and played a pass back inside and the momentum was lost.

I thought at the time that the lack of passes to him showed that no one else had any confidence in him, whilst the cop out when he could have countered was a result of a lack of self-confidence. The writing was on the wall then, had his surname been different he would have been gone last summer, if not earlier.

6. rousman - 07/06/2010

In the twelve games Craig Cathcart started we won 5 drew 3 & lost 4. I thought he did ok (after all Man United do not have many bad players) Of the rest well I think you have said it all.

7. markymark9 - 07/06/2010

John F : Jordan Parkes is not left footed alas! He played left back on his debut and used his right foot all the time like LD.

JohnF - 09/06/2010

Thanks for that. I could have sworn he was using his left when he played for us in the league cup down at Southend but I defer to you on this one.

NickB - 09/06/2010

If he had a nightmare that night, he wasn’t the only one. Strong candidate for worst team performance of the Noughties, I’d venture

8. Dave Jackson - 10/06/2010

worst performance, perhaps, but some excellent singing from behind the goal!

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