The marvellous From The Rookery End pod is hitting ten years old this year, and their latest episode is a terrific discussion about the best ever Watford XI to play in the top tier of English football. Being a bore, I figured I’d have a stab at it, using the same criteria as them, namely – a minimum of 3 players from 1982-88 and 2015 onwards, and two from the single season interludes of 99/00 & 06/07.
So, here’s my line up
From 82 – 88 (an era, I must confess, I don’t remember): Coton, Blissett, Barnes.
From 99-00: Stevie Palmer, Richard Johnson, Micah Hyde
From 06-07: Ashley Young, Marlon King
From 2015 onwards: Cathcart, Doucoure, Holebas
I’ll do my best to justify them; if nothing else there’s a plethora of players who’d be furious with missing out. Foster, Gomes, Page, Doyley, Mahon, Deeney, Deulofeu….
So, I feel like the 82-88 kind of pick themselves. Two of the three are club legends inextricably linked with the era, and too many people think Coton is amazing to ignore in goal…..
So by picking those three, it sort of provides a spine to the team. The back three is a mixture, the pure aggression and will to win of Jose Holebas, the laid back calm of Craig Cathcart and the versatility of Stevie Palmer.
In front of those three, Richard Johnson will be winning the ball back, and then splattering it in from thirty yards in a way I don’t think I’ve seen any midfielder do in a Watford shirt (apart from maybe Daniel Toszer?)
If he’s not able to do that, Micah Hyde and Abdoulaye Doucoure will be running rings around the opposition, making space on the wings for pace and, frankly, #balling skills of John Barnes and Ashley Young.
Up front, there’s just pure, pure goals. Luther doesn’t need an introduction. Marlon never really got going after wrecking his knee, but for being able to find the bottom corner like no other striker, he gets a place.
It’s not a perfect XI, for sure. But I reckon this’d give Teams A & B a bit of a go…..