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End of Term Report Part 6 12/06/2010

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Right. One new monitor later the PC is sorted. Meanwhile, the World Cup appears to have started so I’m going to rattle this lot off…

27- Mat Sadler

Another without a first-team game for eighteen months, Sadler played twenty games on loan for a Stockport side that sank from Division 3 without trace – messageboard accounts unanimously underwhelmed. One does wonder what’s gone on here, since Sadler never looked quite bad enough to fall that low. It’s quite conceivable (though not confirmed, to my knowledge) that further appearances in yellow will trigger an extra payment to Birmingham. If so, we have a player on a high salary who won’t be doing much to earn it for another season.

Next Season: One imagines that a settlement might be discussed. It would seem unlikely that Sadler’s going to be walking into a similar contract when his current one expires.

28- John Eustace

Few comebacks have been as comprehensive or compelling as John Eustace’s resurgence last season. After a reasonably convincing first half-season at the Vic, Eustace fell out of form and favour under Brendan Rodgers. Popular consensus was that “his legs had gone”, and many of us mentally consigned him to the same “on his way” bin as so many of his contemporaries – including, significantly, Leigh Bromby and Mat Sadler, all three having been signed to plug the gaps in the doomed 2008 promotion push. Eustace departed on loan to Derby and returned on the final day of the season with his temporary employers. The nauseating memory of the Russos and Rodgers parading around the pitch – nauseating in hindsight, merely uncomfortable at the time – is the standout memory from that day. But we also saw a lithe, mobile, very-far-from-knackered Eustace getting Derby’s consolation and looking the part. As this campaign started he was expected to be peripheral, but once news broke that he had volunteered to renegotiate his contract to make pitch time more viable Eustace was definitively back in the fold. He went on to provide drive, aggression and, yes, leadership from the centre of the pitch. His penchant for dinked through balls might still demand a little patience, but you won’t find many complaining that of all those on high, expiring salaries John was the one we tried to keep.

Next Season: Having turned down Leeds to sign a new contract, John’s elevation to cult status is all but guaranteed. Good job, we’ll be relying on him heavily.

29- Michael Bryan

The vast majority of Michael’s cameos having come away from home (five minutes at home to Scunny the extent of his Vicarage Road career to date), I must confess that my infant-restricted away attendance leaves me judging Bryan largely on hearsay and reputation. Being a regular on the bench all season even when he went a long time without getting any action marked him out as one we had hopes for; he isn’t the first young winger to have looked tricky and impish and encouraging, many of his predecessors failed to become any more than that. A new contract and an international cap of all things (albeit for an injury-ravaged Northern Ireland) suggest that he could be one to watch though.

Next Season: Minus Cleverley and Harley, Bryan’s involvement is likely to be upped still further.

31- Marvin Sordell

Having emerged with a promising youth team reputation into the first team picture at the start of the campaign only to be packed off on loan to Tranmere (and a disappointing one goal in six starts), it seemed that Sordell might be going the way of Theo Robinson… a striker whose limitations had been noted internally, quashing our baseless expectations before we’d had a chance to judge for ourselves. Instead, Sordell was afforded a couple of games at the end of the season and, whilst still raw, did more than enough to suggest that there’s something to work with. Fast, awkward and aggressive are all things we could do with more of.

Next Season: Sordell would appear to be very close to a first choice pick given the current squad. One assumes it won’t stay that way, but either way Marvin’s another who one suspects we’ll be seeing more of.

33- Lee Hodson

Yeah, sure, there are limitations. Like getting exposed in the air at the far post, like occasionally being caught out defensively, like not quite being up to a 46+ game season just yet perhaps. Big deal. He’s eighteen, he started 31 games last season and on that basis he looks bloody ace. Quick, positive, one of the best crossers of the ball in the squad. Hodson might end up playing a very large number of games for Watford.

Next Season: At eighteen, already an established member of the squad.

Right. With due respect to the likes of Rob Kiernan, Eddie Oshodi and Gavin Massey, not to mention the almost mythical Ryan Noble, that’s yer lot. Now where’s my remote control…


1. rousman - 12/06/2010

I think there is a chance we may be paying Sadler’s wages for the next 12 months as he will never get another contract like he as at WFC unlike JE he does not seem that bothered if he plays or not at the moment. Sordell has a lot of pace which at this level could be enough ? Hodson did very well but it was a big ask at his age to play the number of games that he did. As for Bryan not sure his path to WFC was strange to say the least, released by QPR then to Hayes & Yeading would as a rule say he may come up bit short as far as what is needed, Massey could be the dark horse even at his age for the new season.

2. Jon - 13/06/2010

Imformative, astute and entertaining as ever. But what, I ask, of Will Buckley? He surely deserves a mention. So here it is:
The type of player will be trying to sign in the future. Raw, but with talent to work on and above all cheap. There was enough there to suggest that we’ll see plenty of him next season. But that depends on fitness. It was worrying that he arrived injured and seemed to take an age to get fit. Then when looking good he gets injured again. Fingers crossed that it’s not a sign of things to come.

Matt Rowson - 13/06/2010

Good grief. Thanks, Jon. Only thing I’d add is that I much preferred the brief glimpse of Buckley as a striker to the glimpse of Buckley as a winger. His clever movement, allied with pace, was a clear asset, and lost when tied to the flank.

3. JohnF - 13/06/2010

Well Matt, I guess most of the world cup opening games have been an encouragement to finish this until you actually watched them. Sadler, I never thought he was worth a big salary and he was never more than adequate but left for dead too frequently. Surely somebody wants him, but who and what has happened to his form/ability I cannot even guess.

John Eustace – if he does what he did last season he will be the leader we need. Great season and a man of both honour and character.

The youngsters looked to be taking their chance and a bit of pace is so valuable as Sordell showed, even if it is just to scare the hell out of opposition defenders. Hodson will have his off days and I just hope the boo boys leave him alone, generally a very cool head on one so young. I’m already looking forward to yours and Ian’s thoughts on the games next season, have a great summer.

4. Wrighty - 14/06/2010

What is a Mat Sadler? I thought I saw one once, in Sheffield, but I might have been mistaken

5. Johnny Boy - 14/06/2010

Thank you Matt,IG and all contributors for your musings, reports etc over the season which always light up the winter months and which I tend to agree with.
A couple of thoughts,wishes and observations:
– Agree that Eustace has had a good season and has deserved all the praise especially when you think of the age of the other midfielders. My only worry is that in the past Watford have had other players of similar ilk, around the 30 age, had a good season and when they don’t perform the next soon become targets of the boo boys – Gavin Mahon being a case in point so lets hope we all remember what John E did for us this season.
– Liked the look of Will Buckley, a young Tommy Smith i.e. can play on the wing but better inside. Just needs to read the game like TS and we will have a top class player or have I given him the kiss of death! Regarding ‘kiss of death’, I saw Malky in our local supermarket just after he had been appointed and wished good luck etc………there were a couple of times when I wished I hadn’t but along with everyone else I think the boy done good.
– Finally some thoughts on our defence, which with Adrian and Lloyd now as ‘senior professionals,Taylor hopefully being a good acquisition – based on a Birmingham supporting friend telling me that who, to give him his due,also told me Mat Sadler was rubbish -, youg turks like Hobson and Bennet coming thru we could be strong there – or have I given it the kiss of death.

6. Esp - 15/06/2010

Mat Sadler is an anagram of:
Smart Deal …….which it most certainly wasn’t 🙂

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