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End of Term Report Part 3 21/05/2015

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

9 – Troy Deeney

Two years ago, I was a little uncomfortable.  Not with the decision to give Troy a second chance, to retain him despite his time inside, fully on board with that…  but with the suggestion  that his retention was a value judgement influenced by how the Pozzos saw him as a player.  Shouldn’t have been about his ability for me, should be a principle thing.  Perhaps I’m naive, and it’s not my money of course, but a young kid on the fringes of the team would have deserved a second chance as much as the team’s figurehead.  Thing is… Troy  wasn’t a figurehead at that stage.  Sure, he had established himself as a regular but 12 goals under Sean Dyche, albeit largely in the second half of the season, was hardly the stuff of legend.  And certainly we were squinting at Troy’s contribution and seeing glimpses of Tommy Mooney, his erstwhile mentor at Walsall, a rugged wholehearted trooper who was gradually refining his game, if not his approach.  Nonetheless… and irrespective of whether his perceived potential should have influenced any decision, the judgement on Deeney was as spot on and as crucial as any with respect to players brought in.  The club accurately judged both his ability and the likelihood of him seizing the chance that was given him.  Eulogies tend to make dull reading;  you know this stuff as well as I do so I’ll keep this brief…  Troy has emerged as a leader and a figurehead worthy of a Roy of the Rovers hero.  A captain, a monster, a terrific finisher, a deft footballer, an extremely likeable man.  Our promotion was on the cards from the moment that the Pozzos took the extraordinary decision to shut the door to all offers for him in August as an auction pushed into eight figures.

Next Season:  Leading from the front. Recent history has seen a few big, physical strikers – Grant Holt, Rickie Lambert, Charlie Austin – come up from the Football League and do well in the Premier League.  Troy compares to any of them.  We could sign Messi and Ronaldo over the summer, Troy would still be the main man.

10- Lewis McGugan

For all that he’s still a Watford player at the time of writing, Lewis McGugan feels an awfully long time ago.  Which, all things considered, probably suits both parties. As this article reflected last year, he scored a lot of goals, played a lot of games and added a lot of flicks and tricks without ever getting the crowd fully onside.  This season he started five league games;  we lost three of them and Lewis only finished one.  What happened to our midfield as he left it demonstrated what his contribution had lacked… a sense of urgency, judgement and purpose.  Watson, Abdi, Guedioura, Munari, Layún all had iffy games at different times, they’re all far more convincing than Lewis was.

Next Season:  Lewis McGugan needs to be a big fish in a small pond… a star in a moderate team.  A workmanlike team in which he’s the star, the bringer of joy, cherished for what he can do more than he irritates with what he can’t.  Sheffield Wednesday may well be that side.  We don’t need a Craig Ramage right now.

11- Fernando Forestieri

If there’s someone you feel for this season, it’s Nando.  The “much-vaunted” Watford forward line that the media have talked about had three names in it, and Nando was the fall guy, the one missed off the end.  That’s the deal, unfortunately… just as those pundits who assessed Norwich, Boro, Derby’s quality in isolation and decided that they would go up automatically because of how good they were missed a crucial consideration, merely being good hasn’t been enough to keep Nando involved in the side in the face of furious competition.  Which isn’t to say that he’s had a bad season…  his five goals and a six assists came over only a dozen starts, only one of which since the turn of the year.  He’s put in performances of great vitality and impudence as ever, his goal against Leeds a thing of joy and wonder, he’s been willing to turn his hand to a number of roles – including  the Abdi job, not unsuccessfully – and got knocks at unfortunate times.  But he’s the forgotten man in the forward armoury, and given that his incorrigible effervescence hasn’t always been a force for good that was somehow inevitable.  For every game that he dominates there’s a game where he looks off the beat.  For every little piece of genius that makes a goal there’s an incident like the one at Wolves (where the much-shared camera angle does him no favours, but them’s the risks you run).  He’s still a piece of magic dust, a get-out-of-jail card to have on the bench, but his ability should demand more than that.

Next Season:  Under the radar perhaps, you’d still back Nando to be an asset in the top flight since nobody else offers that combination of magic boots and bloody-minded tenacity.  Our recruitment strategy might dictate whether he gets the chance.

12 – Lloyd Doyley

For a moment there, you had to wonder…  is this it?  After however many utterly dependable, charismatic years in the first team squad, is this it?  Our promotion season has seen Lloydinho come in at under 10 senior starts for the first time since he broke into the side in 2001, he hasn’t taken to the field in 2015. The 19 non-playing substitute appearances put a slightly different gloss on that and underline the very strong case that would be made for retaining Lloyd were we still in the second tier…  having lots of good players is one thing;  having a good player who isn’t going to kick up a stink at not being a first choice but will work hard and stay positive and be that versatile defensive option from the bench (and tick a home-grown box to boot) is something else.  But in the top flight…?  You’d like to think that there’s still a role in the squad for someone who will come in and do a job diligently and competently.  Premier League squad size restrictions may be a constraint, even if eight of the 25 need to be home grown.  The fact that Aidy Boothroyd, always an advocate of Lloyd’s, started him in fewer than half of our games the last time round, wasn’t in itself encouraging.  Me?  I’d still keep him on.  A solid defender, a Watford personality, part of the glue that holds it all together.  Others will say that Lloyd’s Time Has Finally Come.  Many of them were saying the same ten years ago;  clinging blindly to a position that will inevitably come to pass at some point is hardly prophetic…

Next Season: …but much may depend on just what Lloyd wants.  Will he be satisfied with what might be a peripheral role?  Or would he prefer to move to a club where he’ll be a dogged, charismatic regular and leave us sighing with a little regret at seeing him in another team’s shirt, whatever our own future holds?  Time will tell… but that the club are talking to him about a new contract is yet another sign that something is fundamentally right at Vicarage Road.


1. Lozza - 21/05/2015

FF should be a good impact sub, but more often he is better when starting (or coming on very early). If he could be trusted to make a positive impact in the last 20 minutes then he will be useful to keep…. otherwise I fear not.

2. Tybalt - 21/05/2015

Lloyd Doyley, Watford Legend.

Matt Rowson - 21/05/2015

oh yes.

3. Simon - 21/05/2015

Ah, Lloyd. In many respects I hope he does go as I think his opportunities are likely to be severely limited next year and, at 32, he could offer an awful lot to another club’s first team for a fair few years yet. As you say, much depends on what he wants and what his role within the club is. I suspect that he’s still seen as very important within the dressing room and at the training ground but the question is whether that’s enough when a footballers’ first team life span has a limit. From a club perspective, I’d love to see him stay. From a football perspective, maybe he owes it to himself to play first team football every week in front of fans that will surely take him to their heart much as we have done.

Nick J - 21/05/2015

Completely agree – as much as I love Lloyd as a Watford legend and provider of much enjoyment (and frustration) through the years, I’d prefer to see him in somebody else’s first team than slowly fading into the background with us.

4. Roger Smith - 21/05/2015

If Nando had come on for the last 20 minutes v Sheffield Wednesday, I humbly suggest that we would have been champions.

Matt Rowson - 21/05/2015

If if if. I’d have brought him on too… but I’d humbly suggest that we’ll never know.

Lozza - 21/05/2015

His performance coming off the bench against Brighton, suggests not…

Goldenboy60 - 21/05/2015


5. putajumperon - 21/05/2015

I’ve argued time and again, that footballers whose main asset is kicking an unmoving ball are little more than speciality players like NFL kickers. McGugan would therefore, like Beckham, never make my first eleven.

6. Goldenboy60 - 21/05/2015

I personally feel that Nando will be better and more effective in the Premier League. In many ways he is a much nicer Costa. Belligerent and impish like a little boy despite now being ‘experienced’ in English football. But not nasty. He’s sometimes ‘just a naughty boy’, but always likeable.

If anyone can turn and twist defenders of the highest calibre in and around the opposing penalty area then it’s absolutely him. He is still learning but with his low centre of gravity and quick play and movement, he caused Man City no end of problems in the FA Cup.

Hopefully now a little more mature than 3 years ago, but not too much to take away the fire in his belly and his impish behaviour, for me he is AN ABSOLUTE MUST.

Martin Coupe - 22/05/2015

Have to agree with Goldenboy60, Nando has that little something, the element of surprise that can make the best of defenders look a little bit silly. I think the Premier League could be the stage to which his skills are best suited. Time will tell but I have a feeling Nando could be more of a factor in our quest to stay up than Vydra (should he stay).

As for Lloyd, he bleeds yellow, he is the throbbing heart of this club, he can’t possibly go anywhere else. It’s like expecting a Rhino to survive in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – just plain wrong.

Lewis McGugan – meh.

Troy though, gosh that is exciting. I honestly don’t think the Premier League will know what has hit them. He is a man on a mission and I wouldn’t bet against him scaring the bejesus out of this league.

7. Paul - 22/05/2015

Just as an aside having seen the monstrosity today that is the new home kit, so disappointed, the marketing department seem to have produced a kit which screams ‘relegated’ before we have set foot on the pitch, In the vein of Man Utd’s grey kit, can only hope we have a mid-season re-think and revert to plain yellow and RED shorts. Imposing, classic and clear to see on the pitch. Perhaps the hope is the stripes will dazzle opposing defenders as Matej zips past like road runner! Could someone at the club please read the following helpful prose http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2015/may/12/getting-shirty-classic-kits-winning-teams

Matt Rowson - 22/05/2015

Agree that it shouts “relegation kit” rather loud. Don’t know why so little red (again). Disappointing.

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