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Farewell and Good Riddance

Tuesday 2 August 2016 by

Following the departure of fans’ favourite Almen Abdi, From the Rookery End took to Twitter to ask fellow supporters to name the players that they had been happy to see the back of. There was no need to ask twice, as fellow Hornets delved into their deepest, memories to recount those players who, in their minds, should never have worn the sacred yellow shirt. It’s pretty clear that Almen Abdi will always be welcome at WD18. There plenty who would seemingly do well to stay out of the country, let alone the stadium…

Perhaps surprisingly, you only have to look back to the class of 2015/16 for one of the entries into the hall of shame. It’s impossible to say that the departure of Jose Manuel Jurado was met with an outpouring of grief, but despite his name cropping up an indecent number of times, it seems a little harsh to mention the fluffy haired Spaniard in the same breath of some of the others on this rogues rundown.

Take for example Nathan Ellington. The ex-Wigan striker was bought for £3.25m – a club record. After baling everyone and everything but himself for his lacklustre performances and laughable goal return, the only record he holds now is that of one of Watford’s worst ever pieces of business.

Another striker, Trevor Senior, also featured highly. He arrived from Reading with an incredible number of goals under his belt, but for the majority of his Watford career looked like he had come direct from Reading Festival instead of Reading FC. Senior would go on to joke that he was “useless” which raised a few wry smiles, but his inability to score and an inextricable link to Dave Bassett means there are few followers of the Hornets that won’t wince at his name.

Jamie Moralee was another frontman that failed to deliver, making him a regular name in the list of doom. he had a footballer’s haircut, but that was about it and the fact that he cost £450,000 during a time where paying the electricity bill was a stretch ensured that Moralee was and remains one you’d rather forget. Others came without the burden of a hefty fee, but were still reviled. Mick Quinn arrived looking like he had eaten his old teammates, and played like he’d devoured the reserve team too. Useless was an understatement, and Quinn’s later criticism of the WD18 crowd cemented his place as a Vicarage Road villain.

Whilst strikers featured prominently, there was generous representation throughout the positions. Former England U21 goalkeeper Scott Loach came in for some stick, whilst there is clearly no love for Gary Chivers, Matthew Briggs or Ramon Vega, the latter a chilling reminder of the financial carnage and footballing hell that unfolded under the stewardship of another man that features heavily on the list; Gianluca Vialli.

More contemporary names to feature included Lewis McGugan and Andros Townsend, but there was one name that generated more seething resentment and vitriol than any other. A man that shouldn’t be allowed to hold a shirt in the club shop, let alone be paid to play in one. Usually supporters would be happy to see a former England striker sign for their club. Not when that man is Kerry Dixon.

Looking back, the singing of her who shall not be named was an indication as to just how desperate Glenn Roeder, the manager at that time, was to bring in new faces. He will have known that the former Luton striker was one of THE most hated figures amongst Watford supporters, but knowing the backlash he’d face, signed him anyway. You could argue it was brave. It wasn’t. It was horrific.

Those of a slightly younger vintage might be forgiven for thinking of Matthew Spring. He used to be a scummer but was quickly alright now. Could Dixon not have done the same? No. No he could not. Dixon was the living embodiment of Luton Town, a real life representation of that vile mob up the road and here he was in a yellow shirt. It was inconceivably grim.

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