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End of Term Report Part 6 31/05/2012

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Over the crest, all downhill from here…

21- David Mirfin

The accepted wisdom, of course, is that Mirfin is a bit of a duffer.  Given a few games (four, all defeats) in the wake of Martin Taylor’s injury he certainly didn’t stake a strong claim with the result that Nosworthy’s signing wasn’t long in coming.  Packed off back to Scunthorpe on loan in January that would appear to have been that.  Except that by all accounts Mirfin impressed again at Glanford Park, contributing to Alan Knill’s side pulled away from the bottom of the third tier.  Yeah, OK, only the third tier.  But he’d looked very decent in the second tier against us last season too.  My theory is that Mirfin, in the model of the likes of Gavin Mahon, for example, needs to be playing to maintain his fitness – he’d looked slow during his run in October.  Which means he needs to be playing for a side in which he’s going to be a regular starter.

Next Season:  No doubt with half an eye on Aidy Mariappa’s future, Sean has reportedly informed Alan Knill that Mirfin will be with us next season. It would be… inconsistent of the manager’s approach thus far were he to go into next season with only two experienced centre-backs.  I’m yet to be convinced that a backup role suits Mirfin.

22- Sean Murray

Well, where to start. Actually… I’ve sort of written this piece already this summer, albeit in rather more words.  And what more do you need me to say?  It could be argued with some justification that Murray should have been introduced earlier to a side desperate for creativity from wide positions.  Whatever.  He came in, he was instantly vital in every meaning of the word, and the clock is already ticking.

Next Season:  Sean will be an absolute star.  Next season could plausibly be his only full season in yellow.  Let’s enjoy it.

23- Piero Mingoia

What do you say, on the basis of no match action?  Piero had a bit of first team involvement under Malky Mackay and looked neat and tidy but possessed neither pace nor physical presence.  You feared for him, frankly.  A loan to Brentford in January was quietly brought to a premature close without any suggestion of first team involvement at Griffin Park; he spent the end of the campaign with relegation-bound Hayes and Yeading United in the Blue Square Premier forming an unlikely midfield partnership with Jamie Hand.

Next Season: I wrote a year ago that Piero needed to either be better at what he does well, or work on his (largely physical) deficiencies.  We’ve been given no evidence of either.  Out of contract next summer, another for whom this will be a make or break season.  Has a lot of convincing to do, one suspects.

24- Matt Whichelow

I don’t think anyone would have predicted that.  Involved in 20-odd games last season, almost all of them to positive end, Matt was one big reason to be cheerful this time last year, a reason to look forward to the new season.  Positive, clever, inventive, with a couple of stunning finishes suggesting a poacher’s touch, this was the season in which Matt should have established himself in the first team squad. Instead, by all accounts, Matt came back from the summer… suggesting a rather lackadaisical attitude.  Dismay at his being loaned out to Exeter and Wycombe was tempered by each loan ending prematurely and ingloriously – albeit the bottom end of the third tier isn’t the easiest place for a young attacking player to make an impact.  A bubbly fifteen minutes at London Road was like hearing a song that you used to like but hadn’t heard for a while.

Next Season: One can only hope that Matt gives it some welly this summer.  If he doesn’t, he’s an idiot and we’re maybe better off out of it.  If he does, he might just remind us all of what we were missing last season.

25- Joe Garner

My Dad is convinced that Joe is about to embark on a goalscoring spree.  He’ll argue this until he’s blue in the face.  He’s been convinced of this all season.  It hasn’t happened yet.  Signed by Forest from Carlisle for a decent fee, Garner never quite established himself at the City Ground and it’s not difficult to see why;  he’s not quite anything really, he doesn’t perform any job well enough.  Clearly not a goalscorer, despite the feeling in Dad’s water, and despite his scoring record at Forest not being quite as non-existent as at Vicarage Road.  Kind of creative, occasionally has a game where he’ll look like a reasonable foil but isn’t clever enough and doesn’t do it often enough.  Has games where he runs himself into the ground but again, has games where he disappears so he’s not a workhorse.  Most of all he’s just not very likeable, and his willingness to take a tumble over tackles has become an in-joke.  Would be funnier, or easier to tolerate, if like previous Watford players with such a proclivity, there was a positive contribution to go with it.

Next Season: Garner has remained involved in matchday squads despite his inconsistent impact, but it’s inconceviable that he’ll remain as involved without contributing rather more.


1. Dave Jackson - 31/05/2012

Agree about Whichelow. The number of times we were treated to Yeates ineffective mediocrity, and turned to each other to ask what Whichelow had done to be behind him for a place in this team… and then at Peterboro, it showed us we hadn’t been dreaming, he really is a talented, exciting and home-grown player. Baffling.

2. Harefield Hornet - 31/05/2012

Great comments – agree re Murray and hoping to see Whichelow prove he has a future with us this season. I can see Garner leaving – could turn out be be another Will Hoskins. Going off brief – slightly anxious to see GT depart yet again. I’m well aware it was only supposed to be a short term thing etc etc and he has other commitments but I can’t help wondering whether we’ve settled down enough for him to think he can slip out without causing too many ripples, or whether there is something more worrying behind his departure. We appear to be hearing the right noises but only time will tell I suppose. On ex managers – interesting to see Mr Rodgers has now landed himself one of the top jobs in football.

Matt Rowson - 31/05/2012

Bottom line, GT was kinda reluctant from the start. Whatever the background, heaven knows he’s earned a break, and our blessing. I don’t see it as particularly sinister personally (although I’d much rather he wanted to be around. And was 30 years younger. And so forth)

Harefield Hornet - 31/05/2012

Fair enough he deserves a break but his presence at the club was a comfort blanket to many I suppose, me included. Just hope the dynamics of the way the club is administered don’t shift enough to put us back into a downward spiral again. There’s still no clear indication of whether his role will be filled by someone else (God knows who?) or whether the owner will assume total responsibility and start making random decisions. Without Taylor’s calming influence that could be bloody disasterous – I think that’s probably my major concern.

3. Roger Smith - 01/06/2012

I’d be a little more charitable re Garner. What he does is to win back possession by harrying the opposition into mistakes. However, he then tends to thinks job done. What he should be doing is becoming part of a creative Watford attack, either getting into a scoring position himself or drawing defenders away from someone who is. I too was impressed by Whichelow at Peterborough, but in this league consistency is everything. Let’s hope he gets the message.

Matt Rowson - 01/06/2012

Garner I would say makes the sort of positive contribution you describe on a good day. On others he doesn’t get involved at all.

Whichelow… thing is, his first team action for us HAS been pretty consistent, particularly for a younger player. It’s what’s prevented him having more of it is the concern.

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