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End of Term Report Part 2 17/05/2012

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

No Lloyd, then.  Hodgson out.

5- Martin Taylor

It’s hard to believe that many second tier squads can match the Hornets for centre-back strength and cover at this point in time.  Three strong, senior, experienced men going for two places, and in Bennett, Thompson (surely) and Hoban, a lot of potential bubbling under.  Despite which, it’s hugely heartening to have Martin Taylor’s name on a contract again, albeit only a year’s extension.  Whilst the recruitment of Nosworthy mitigated against the effects of his injury last season, you nonetheless noticed his presence immediately when back in the side.  Commanding, calm, comfortable in possession, he still feels like a bit of a steal, as if sooner or later the Premier League will notice that we smuggled him off whilst their backs were turned and come looking.  With his new contract expiring as he approaches his 34th birthday, the Premier League may come looking too late. One can’t help but feel that it’s his inherent niceness, his refusal to bully his opponent, that denied him a further opportunity at the top level.

Next Season:  Dependent on Mariappa’s future, either a fixture or part of an almighty tussle for a starting place.

6- Adrian Mariappa

Player of the Season by a country mile by any reckoning, it seems extraordinary that not so long ago folk were still arguing that he might be better employed as a full-back.  Astonishingly consistent, not least during January when rumours rattled around about his future and Alan Pardew (manager of the year, but still an odious wanker) tried to turn his head northwards without going to the trouble of making an offer, at times Mariappa’s performance was simply on a different plane to those around him.  His acceleration, anticipation and leadership were such that he made it all look horribly easy, like a lad playing with his kid brother’s mates.  My earliest vivid memory of Mariappa was of him frustrated and inconsolable following the defeat of the U18 side that he captained to the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup.  His tears were not for himself, quite obviously, but for his team, a leader and a winner even then.  Logic dictates that centre-back is the department in which we are best able to lose a star man.  You’d rather it wasn’t Mariappa, undoubtedly the best complement to either of his senior rivals… but alas, big bucks only tend to get paid for your better players.

Next Season: It would be nice to imagine that Adrian might still be around in August.  If he is,  none of the scouts in the Premier League are doing their jobs.

7- Mark Yeates

The problem isn’t that Yeates didn’t create goals for people.  It’s clear from the Helping Hands article that he did just that, and on more occasions that anyone else.  The problem was that the team just didn’t function very well with Yeates in it, or rather didn’t function with him carrying such a creative burden early in the season.  Yeates created goals, particularly but not exclusively from set pieces.  But we just didn’t score very many of them.  We didn’t pin teams back, we didn’t frighten them enough that they worried about committing players forward themselves.  Harsh to hold Yeates solely responsible for that, but the stats do lie in this case; ultimately Mark has been a disappointment, too often a passenger, too often ineffective.  Although it feels as if he hung around the squad for much of the season despite the emergence of Sean Murray, he only actually saw match time in three games following the youngster’s reintroduction against Spurs in January: once when Murray was injured, and twice following the unscheduled departure of Alex Kacaniklic.  When Prince Buaben showed signs of being able to function effectively out wide, Yeates was dropped like a stone and didn’t even make the squad for the last five games of the season.

Next Season: The story is that Yeates turned down an extended Spurs contract when he chose to sign for Colchester five years ago.  After a few false starts since, he needs to establish himself somewhere badly.  It looks dreadfully unlikely to happen at Vicarage Road.

8- Josh Walker

There’s no more to say than there was last season, really.  Despite owning a “first eleven” shirt for two seasons, Josh never started a League game for Watford.  A celebrated former skipper of a successful Middlesbrough Youth team, reportedly signed by Malky Mackay in the face of competition, the suggestion is that Walker needed rather too much time on the ball.  It’s a suggestion that the majority of Watford fans never got to evaluate themselves.

Next Season: Josh signed for Scunthorpe in January, effectively;  the rule that prohibits being turning out for more than two clubs in a season (he had already been loaned to Stevenage and played an hour or so for us over two games) could only be navigated by taking advantage of the absurd interpretation of emergency loans, which are exempt from this rule.  His formal transfer takes place on July 1st.  You feel obliged to wish him well, but he never left enough of an impression for that to be heartfelt.


1. Pete B - 17/05/2012

Excellent stuff as always. One wonders if a first 11 squad number has ever been so underused? My other issue with Yeates was his lack of ability in providing an outlet for, or helping, the defence. Actually maybe it was as much lack of pace as of ability.

Oh and I think you meant ‘militated against’ 🙂

Matt Rowson - 17/05/2012

wasn’t the notorious Sietes a no 11? Surely he wins, even if only based on a season

Pete B - 17/05/2012

and Andy Ferrell…

Matt Rowson - 17/05/2012

Nonetheless Andy Ferrell played AND scored. Although you would have been forgiven for missing it, League Cup R1 vs Cambridge. Perhaps Josh Walker wins after all then. He made one start plus six as sub I think, and yet nobody remembers any of it.

petebradshaw - 17/05/2012

I saw Ferrell at Reading… and he nearly scored there, causing the own goal

2. Johnnyboy - 17/05/2012

Think I remember Sietes walking round the pitch once – grey suit, white shoes. Never seen Walker

3. Nicholas Chainey - 18/05/2012

Whilst I agree with your comment about Tiny’s inherent niceness, and “refusal to bully an opponent” it does make you reflect on the horrible coverage he received post-Eduardo…..

Matt Rowson - 18/05/2012

Absolutely, that goes without saying. Perversely inappropriate.

4. Frank T - 18/05/2012

Agree on Tiny, you just have to meet him to realise he is a lovely bloke and actually considerably brighter than most. A real reader who is into all sorts of subjects and I believe would like to be a teacher later in life. Really not a natural bully at all despite having the physical equipment.

Having said all of that I am delighted he has signed up again albeit only for a year. Him and Nosworthy fit is a combination that may not win you this division against the few quality quick strikers around but will for sure help keep you in it.

5. Roger Smith - 18/05/2012

Mariappa: “it seems extraordinary that not so long ago folk were still arguing that he might be better employed as a full-back”.

I don’t find it extraordinary at all. You rightly laud the pairing of Taylor and Nosworthy, so why wouldn’t you use a tall but athletic player of Mariappa’s quality at full back? Alternatively, you could play him in front of the back four in a 4-1-3-2 formation.

Matt Rowson - 18/05/2012

A few reasons; firstly, he was regularly out of position defensively as a full back, dropping inside as Wayne Brown often did when played at left back. Secondly, it would mean playing our best player in something other than his best position. Thirdly, Mariappa’s pace complements the strength of either Taylor or Nos. Fourth, I suspect he ain’t going to be around for this to be pondered on in any case…

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