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End of Term Report Part 4 30/05/2016

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

14- Juan Carlos Paredes

I didn’t see Paredes’ debut at the start of last season, a 3-0 win over Bolton. Beppe Sannino was still in charge, we played three at the back (Angella, Ekstrand, Tamas) and Mathias Ranégie was an unused sub. To the hills of Snowdonia word arrived of a rampaging, devastating performance from our new Ecuadorian full-back.

It’s fair to say that that game proved the high point of Paredes’ two years’ at the Vic to date. A regular starter in the promotion campaign, he nonetheless lost his place to Marco Motta at the end of the season and whilst a regular on the bench he’s only started a handful of games this term and only once made consecutive starts as Quique favoured Allan Nyom (and latterly Craig Cathcart) in the right back role.

Whilst Paredes’ buccaneering up the right flank has often seen him caught behind, and his distribution has sometimes been wanting I like Juan Carlos, and wouldn’t object to him being in the squad. His combination of speed and bullishness makes him a decent shout when we’re chasing a game against leggy opponents, and it may well be that he’s better suited to a 3-5-2 that would make more demands of his strength and fitness and less of his defensive discipline.

Next Season: …however the rumours suggesting that Paredes is unhappy at his lack of game time have been pretty persistent, and since it seems likely that we’ll look to recruit in both full-back positions, it’s hard to see Juan Carlos still being here next season.

15- Craig Cathcart

It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch.  Craig Cathcart’s signing at the start of last season was, as this entry described a year ago, hardly a stand out trophy recruit in an era of exotic foreigners and unprecedented player turnover.  Once promoted, on the back of an excellent debut season in which he’d been introduced to the side relatively late and with half an eye on the home-grown quota it was no surprise that Cathcart was retained and was prominent.

But he’s managed more than that.  Craig has joined the likes of Alec Chamberlain, Steve Palmer and Gavin Mahon in Watford folklore; players who slipped quietly in through the back door, the new guy in meetings who you assume that everyone else knows, and then established themselves as a pillar, an icon of the side through sheer unflashy competence.  The difference with Craig of course is that he’s pulled off this trick in the top division and whilst his performances haven’t been flawless it was no surprise at all that he made the top three in the Player of the Season reckoning.  His performance at Arsenal in the Cup, coming back after injury, was utterly monstrous.  Bona fide Watford hero.

Next Season:  Great defender, good footballer, will have no problem being part of a back three.

16- Nathan Aké

The fact that we’re now dining at the top table doesn’t distract from the fact that a lot of Modern Football is, without doubt, Rubbish.  It would be wrong to argue that everything were better in the old days, that’s not true either (remember the loos on the Vicarage Road terrace?).  But when Chelsea’s youth team is made up of kids hoovered up from, in this case, Feyenoord at the age of 15 who then can’t get a game and is pitched out to us on loan.  Yes, yes I know it’s a high standard that kids need to reach and we’re hardly doing a flawless job of bringing through the kids ourselves.  But really.  This is wrong, isn’t it?

Aké’s form dipped alarmingly towards the end of the season, but just as when we borrowed Nathaniel Chalobah from Stamford Bridge three years ago we got far more than we could possibly have banked on.  Tough, elegant, disciplined and, for the most part, composed…  such was his relaxed, on-top-of-everything air that his occasional rushes of blood, manifested more than once in recklessly aggressive challenges, caused a double take.  Nonetheless, a hugely impressive season from a very fine footballer.

Next Season:  Chelsea were bloody silly to loan him out once.

17- Adlène Guedioura

Biff.  Adlène will, undoubtedly, have wanted to have been involved more. His performances, full of energy and positive thinking, nonetheless occasionally betrayed why he hadn’t been a first choice… possession can be more cheaply disposed of in the Championship. Despite which the moment of the season, arguably the most dramatic single moment since Troy’s goal against Leicester, was that goal at Arsenal. Words can’t do it justice. And given its wholeheartedness there was nobody more suited to scoring it. Well done that man.

Next Season: A top flight squad needs players like Adlène… troopers who will be ready to do a job even if they’re not starting every week. He won’t start every week next season, but we’ll be better off for him sticking around.


1. Roger Smith - 30/05/2016

Many thanks for the clip, and for awarding Adlène’s goal the status in Watford’s history that it deserves. Like you, I do hope that he stays. However, for the reasons that you acknowledge, I fear that starts will be few and far between. So whilst he will always give his all as an impact sub, and can be a game-changer, the question is whether he is prepared to spend most of the season warming the bench.

2. Old Git - 30/05/2016

Thank you for making me laugh. Yes, I do most certainly remember the Vicarage Road toilets!
My dear friend Paul, who died in 2011, spent a whole match in there…bless him. We were still laughing about it forty years later.

3. Stuart Campbell - 30/05/2016

Yessir… Excellent review. Particularly admired your likening of the excellent Cathcart to Messrs Chamberlain, Palmer and Mahon. There should be a special award category for heroes like them. A yellow plaque perhaps bolted to the GT stand walkway. And thanks for the opportunity to see that goal again. And again and again and… Hasn’t half cheered up a chilly, grey Bank Holiday in the East Midlands

4. Ramsgate Horn - 30/05/2016

Agree with comments would like to have seen Guedioura get more game time. May be tough next year given possible new additions Cathcart is one of those who were unheralded signings but excellent I Quite like Parades but cant really imagine he will stay too much longer for the same reason
Best hope of us getting Ake is if they are intent on new bigmoney signings and will loan him out again unlikely but you never know He wants to test himself but unlikely to be a starter for them

5. Nick B - 30/05/2016

First time I’ve seen that clip; love it when the young lad shouts “shoot” – most prescient!

Matt Rowson - 30/05/2016

Ig said “biff” at about the same time. I make a fleeting appearance in that clip just as it pans back to the right. I look composed.

6. Howard Moon - 02/06/2016

Ee bye gum – that Parades, ‘neither nowt n’summat’, as my Grandad would say – by way of translation for those south of the Trent, not effective as a defender, nor a wing back. As a full back he was found wanting defensively leaving gaps in behind, as a wing back never delivered a decisive final ball, running out of ideas two thirds of the way up the pitch. One that would do better elsewhere at a lower level and moved on this summer.

Cathcart, a solid cup o’tea in a new world of exotic Cappuccino and my man of the season.

Thanks to both Matt and IG for another erudite and comprehensive effort this season, a comforting garden shed oasis in a rapidly changing world. Awaiting the BHappy leather bound volumes.

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