In the second part of the task of picking an all-time Watford XI we look at the right-back position. And boy is there some tough competition.
There must be something about the famous yellow No 2 shirt as three of the club’s top ten appearance makers have all filled the right-back birth. Duncan Welbourne once went six-and-a-half seasons without missing a game (what value he provided for £1,300 from Grimsby) and was rightly inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. In those days, in the mid 60s early 70s, Welbourne got £2 for a draw and £4 for a win.
It took Watford a while to find a long-term successor to Welbourne when he headed off to Southport but they eventually found one, on their own doorstep, in the redoubtable Nigel Gibbs. After growing up on the terraces at Vicarage Road, Gibbs nailed down the right-back spot during the golden years under Graham Taylor in the 80s and again in the second Taylor-inspired rise through the divisions. The archetypal one-club man, arguably Gibbs’ finest performance in a Watford shirt came when he played in the unfamiliar position of left-back in the unforgettable playoff semi-final win over Birmingham City in 1999.
David Bardsley was more of a right-wing back than conventional right-back and it is doubtful whether he played a better game in his career than the 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final win at Highbury in 1987. Darren Bazeley was more like Bardsley than he was like Gibbs and spent ten years at Vicarage Road, his career peaking with a hat-trick against Southend United and one of the penalties in the shootout win over Birmingham. Watford dithered in awarding him a new contract during the promotion-winning season to the Premier League and lost him, on a free to Wolves.
Another unwaveringly loyal right-back was Lloyd Doyley. He played under 11 different coaches in 14 years before he became a free agent in the summer. His goal against QPR, his first in 269 appearances, was a ‘I was there’ moment.
We here at WD Sport love nothing more than a good ol’ debate and amid another golden period in the club’s rich history, we’ve decided to create an all-time Watford FC XI based on the votes of you, the fans.
Now it’s time to vote for your favourite. You get one vote only on each position so use it wisely.
The voting is still open to select your goalkeeper. Click HERE to register your vote