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End of Term Report Part 3 09/06/2013

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

I’ve got hay fever.  I’ve never had hay fever before.  It’s a bastard.

10- Chris Iwelumo

Another one who seemed to leave a long time ago in spirit and essence, Chris spent most of the season on loan in League One with first Notts County and then Oldham.  In fact he was involved in first team action as late as October (just about), scored the first of the many Watford goals of this freewheeling season,  and in the period between Taylor leaving / Eustace being injured and the new-look defence establishing itself his value as a leader and an organiser, coming back to call the shots at set pieces, was not insignificant.

Overall however his time at Watford has to go down as a disappointment. He was never signed as a goalscorer, not really, but his return in that department was miserly… and as a facilitator, a maker of space, a holder-up and an occupier of opponents he didn’t have the impact we’d expected.  It’s easy to forget that two years ago, on his arrival, he felt like a bit of a coup… a player with significant experience at the top end of this division who’d caused us no end of problems over the years.  In the end, with his first season slowed down by early injury, he only approached that level of fearsomeness briefly and late on… and even his tour de force at Elland Road was eclipsed by what would happen there in the same fixture a few months later.

You always wanted Chris to do well.  He always came across as a very decent chap, a good guy to have around.  Unfortunately we may have gotten hold of him a year or two too late.

Next Season:  For all that Chris spent the entire season on loan from November onwards, he was involved in as many League games for us as for either of his loan sides for whom he made nine starts in total.  Little surprise that he’s dropped through to League Two, where he’ll play under his former Burnley boss Brian Laws at Scunthorpe.  Good luck to him.

11- Craig Forsyth

Such an odd one, this.  A player signed “for the future”, Craig was the very essence of a development player based on his outings under Sean Dyche.  There was plenty to like there… his height was useful, if an annoyingly lazy target for a long ball, decent with the ball at his feet, a glorious strike with his left boot.  And there were plenty of rough edges too, some wobbly-legged awkwardness, occasions when games just passed him by or tossed him around like a carrier bag in a gale.  The frustration then is that we probably don’t get to see – at first hand – how the story ends.  At this point in time, based on the evidence we’ve seen, it could go either way (though 24, Craig has only been playing at this standard for a couple of years now)… but he will probably neither get to be a success nor confirm his inadequacy at Watford.  It’s like watching the first episode of a two-parter and then forgetting to record the finale.

Craig’s two league games under the new regime came between his loans at Bradford and Derby in January;  apparently well-suited to the wing-back role he looked tougher and focused.  Competent, certainly, and no worse than a decent back-up option in that position (albeit that neither at home to Huddersfield nor at Ipswich was he put under any great pressure).  Instead he disappeared on loan to Derby County, and that was that.

Next Season: A permanent move to Pride Park seems nailed on; we’ll watch Craig’s progress from a curious distance.

12- Lloyd Doyley

It’s not a surprise any more.  Not to anyone who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention for the last twelve years or so.  Like a tired, recycled soap opera thread, we had a new landlord moving into the Vic and… oh no, what’s to become of the pub’s likeable potman?  Surely he won’t be swept away by this swish new broom, surely not, but his face can’t fit can it…..  ahhh, but look he’s won the new guy over.  They strung that storyline out a bit though didn’t they?

The greatest testament to Lloyd’s Watford career is that he has finally, indisputably, achieved cult status.  Nobody, not even a grumbling minority, seriously questions Lloyd’s value any more, nobody bothers arguing that his limitations somehow outweigh his benefits.  Admittedly, the change in formation suited him down to the ground giving full air to his defensive discipline and speed on the cover, and always offering a simple pass to limit the impact of his traditional “area for improvement”. If he was occasionally isolated and exposed in the air – as against David Nugent versus Leicester, there was invariably an unperturbed masterclass like the play-off final around the corner.

Next Season:  Out of contract.  Whatever.  More of the same.

13- Steve Leo Beleck

The real question here is, how many kids find themselves signed to five clubs in three different countries before they’re out of their teens?  And then… how many go from playing in the Greek top flight to a loan at Stevenage within eight months or so?

Steve Beleck’s Watford career to date consists of thirty seven minutes’ of League action (spread across five games, so plus injury time) plus the League Cup defeat to Bradford.  He wasn’t completely awful, he showed the odd flash of something in the very limited opportunity that he was given, but never looked like challenging for a first team spot when the extent of our attacking riches became clear.  Based on what we’ve seen, it’s questionable whether Beleck would be ahead of the likes of Assombalonga or the much whispered about Mensah in the pecking order.  He’s barely six months older than Sean Murray himself, but failed to pull up any trees at Stevenage – indeed, he hasn’t scored a competitive goal for anyone since 2011, and there’s several more curio stats in there somewhere.  Big strikers often take a while to look the part, you wouldn’t want to judge him yet… but the “being loaned out whilst on loan” thing sort of sums the situation up.  Odd.

Next Season:  With that career trajectory, your guess is as good as mine.

14- Ross Jenkins

Yup, still about.Yup, only 22.

Brendan Rodgers’ spell seems eons ago, and yet Ross Jenkins played and impressed through much of it.  Since then… he’s never quite got going, always looked decent but not quite enough.  Tough, disciplined, aggressive and tidy Ross looked a good player, let alone a prospect, five years ago; that he’s still a prospect, still not established is down to his brittleness as much as his increasingly limited opportunities.  His loan at Plymouth had the locals cooing, but was brought to an end early by a groin injury….  later in the season he was impressing again at Barnet, scoring an overhead kick on his third and final start for the bees.  He played alongside Edgar Davids in the midfield in that Accrington game incidentally, a midfield that you really wouldn’t mess with. And after his month he was back on the sidelines at Vicarage Road.

His only action for us this year was in the League Cup tie with Bradford.  Whilst you’d like to think that his level is higher than League Two he really needs to shake these injuries and get some games in somewhere if he’s going to sustain the career that seemed to be laid out for him.

Next Season: Still a year on his contract, but it would be a bit of a turnaround if he featured much.  For me, based on ability alone, you wouldn’t completely rule it out.  The injury record is the big question mark.



1. Esp - 09/06/2013

Doyley “The pub’s likeable potman” and Forsyth’s “like a carrier bag being blown in a gale”

Bloody Genius!!

Matt Rowson - 09/06/2013

thank you sir. the forsyth one may be borrowed from ig, it rings a bell somewhere.

Sequel - 10/06/2013

I think that the young Ryan Giggs was once likened to a greyhound chasing a paper bag in a gale, so maybe there was a bit of subconscious paraphrasing going on?

2. AndyW - 09/06/2013

Hay fever -I sympathise. Had had it for years, can only a agree, an utter bastard

SteveG - 09/06/2013

Having emphasised to my year 9 science class the easily overlooked fact that pollination is an illustration of sexual reproduction, an eager hand shoots up and says “so does that mean that hay fever is a sexually transmitted infection then, sir?” Genius.

JohnM - 12/06/2013

Wonderful. Hay fever a sexually transmitted disease. I just have to use that one—-.

3. Andrew J - 11/06/2013

Try locally produced honey for the hay fever, and bee pollen tablets. And even raw garlic seems to help. Strange but true. I sympathise.

4. Weymouth Orn - 11/06/2013

No problem with hay fever today – it’s raining!
Anyway, try New Era Hay Fever and Allergic Rhinitis Tablets from Holland and Barratt, a fiver for four hundred. Take a handful whenever you need them. Magic!!

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