Vital Football

Latest Watford FC News

Smith a good signing

Smith a good signing

Tommy Smith is a good signing for Watford, according to the results of our online poll.

Smith returned to Vicarage Road last Wednesday after Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd paid Derby County £500,000 for his services but there is much debate amongst Watford supporters whether he represents value for money and is good enough for the Premiership.

There is no doubting that Smith has ability; he has pace, is quick-footed, and since making his Watford debut as a 17-year-old in the 1997/98 season, has shown an enormous amount of potential during his time at Vicarage Road.

The striker made 13 starts and came of the bench nine times (scoring twice) in Watford`s maiden Premiership campaign but it wasn`t until the following year that Smith`s Watford career took off.

In Graham Taylor`s final season at the club, Smith became a regular in the first-team and formed a formidable strike-partnership (scoring 11 times) with Player of the Season Tommy Mooney. The promise he showed as a much-talked-about teenager was beginning to materialise.

It was expected that Smith would really kick on the following season - not just in terms of goalscoring but also his all-round play. However, the striker could only manage to bag the same number of goals as he did in the previous season.

Watford finished the season mid-table and millions in debt. Along with turning Watford into the Manchester United of the South, the ill-fated Gianluca Vialli promised to turn Tommy Smith into a world-class striker. Unfortunately, neither happened.

Playing in a struggling side full of prima donnas - Ramon Vega, Patrick Blondeau, Pierre Issa, ect - that were destined for mid-table mediocrity, as opposed to a side that were heading for the Premiership until stuttering midway through the campaign and finished mid-table could be used an explanation for the striker not developing at the speed we expected him to.

Things did not get any better the following season. amazingly, post-Vialli Watford - who only avoided going into administration thanks to the players taking a 12% wage deferral - reached the semi-final of the FA Cup under the guidance of former reserve team boss Ray Lewington.

But Smith, who scored a crucial winner at Sunderland (following a re-take) in the Fifth Round and netted against Burnley in the quarter-final, was dropped from the starting line-up in favour of on-loan striker Michael Chopra.

The loanee had scored four against Burnley the week before - in a remarkable 7-4 victory - and was selected by Lewington for his predatory instincts. Smith turned down a new Watford contract and left Vicarage Road for Sunderland in the close-season, having scored nine times in 28 starts during his campaign with the club.

He spent nine months on Wearside, making 22 starts and scoring eight times. George Burley signed smith for Derby County in 2004 and it is at Pride Park where Smith has (to date) played the best football of his career - as a winger.

It was often argued at Watford that Smith was not a fox in the box or indeed had the killer instinct that a striker needs in front of goal to be successful and therefore should be deployed out wide.

George Burley had the foresight to experiment with Smith and play him on the wing - it worked and the Scots successors, Phil Brown and Terry Westly, continued to deploy Smith on the right flank.

He was a provider rather than predator but his goalscoring record did not take a turn for the worse; in his first season for the Rams Smith scored nine times and in his final season he scored 11 times - the same amount as he did in his most prolific season as a striker at Vicarage Road.

Following Boothroyd`s decision not to re-sign Chris Eagles on loan again from Manchester United, the Watford boss was always going to be in the market for another attacking right midfielder.

By playing Ashley Young on the right it left little options on the left-hand side: Bouazza or Stewart. Alternatively Young could have been played on the left and James Chambers -who is not the most attacking of players - could have been played on the right, as was the case in the play-off semi-finals and final last season.

It looks the case that Smith is Boothroyd`s man for the right-hand side role but he is still unproven at Prmiership level. However, the former Academy player believes he is a better player than when he left the club three seasons ago.

"I just hope that I can come back now and prove that I am a better player than I was when I left and that I made the right decision to leave when I did and that I've now come back here as a better player and am a bigger asset to the club than I was before," said Smith.

On the face of it, half a million for a player that only had a year left on his contract may appear a lot of money to pay for a player that left Watford for virtually nothing three years ago.

But with the exceptions of Sietes and Martin Devaney, all of Boothroyd`s Watford signings have, to date, been hugely successful. Smith may not be the world-class striker that Vialli promised but if he proves to be a Premiership winger Aidy Boothroyd will have pulled off another transfer coup.

Poll Results in full:

Is Tommy Smith a good signing?
Yes 69%
No 31%

















Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:
Date:Tuesday September 5 2006
Time: 12:42PM

Comments

0
Good Article - still not convinced on Smith though.
AdamP
05/09/2006 12:45:00
0
Time will tell!
sandgroanun
06/09/2006 23:10:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Watford Articles

Premier League Free Agents 2017

As the summer nears and contracts come to an end, should the club have an interest in any of the following free transfers from Premier League oppositions?

Nigerian Debut Delight For Success

Watford striker Isaac Success has previously been frustrated in his attempts to make his international bow for Nigeria but this finally came on Thursday when he came on against Senegal.

Whose Won The Most Points So Far

Which player has won your side the most points so far in the Premier League campaign of 2016/17?

A Premier League Brexit Breakdown

The numbers have been crunched from the Brexit vote and details have now been given for each local authority to provide an 'idea' of how fans of each Premier...

Archived Vital Watford Articles

Vital Watford articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Watford
Write For Vital Watford
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Crystal Palace MotM
Suggested By:
Gomes2%
Cathcart6%
Kaboul6%
Prodl18%
Britos0%
Janmaat0%
Capoue0%
Behrami0%
Cleverley0%
Niang0%
Deeney68%
Sub-Doucoure0%
Sub-Amrabat0%
Sub-Success0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 28 22 3 3 69 38
2 Spurs 28 17 8 3 59 34
3 Man City 28 17 6 5 57 24
4 Liverpool 29 16 8 5 56 25
5 Man Utd 27 14 10 3 52 19
6 Arsenal 27 15 5 7 50 22
7 Everton 29 14 8 7 50 21
8 WBA 29 12 7 10 43 1
9 Stoke 29 9 9 11 36 -9
10 Southampton 27 9 6 12 33 -3
11 AFC Bournemouth 29 9 6 14 33 -12
12 West Ham 29 9 6 14 33 -12
13 Burnley 29 9 5 15 32 -11
14 Watford 28 8 7 13 31 -15
15 Leicester City 28 8 6 14 30 -14
16 Crystal Palace 28 8 4 16 28 -10
17 Swansea 29 8 3 18 27 -27
18 Hull City 29 6 6 17 24 -32
19 Middlesbrough 28 4 10 14 22 -13
20 Sunderland 28 5 5 18 20 -26
The Vital Football Members League
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Vital Football Comment

Recent Watford Results (view all)

Watford Fixtures (view all)

Apr 1 2017 3:00PM : Sunderland (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 4 2017 7:45PM : West Bromwich Albion (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 8 2017 12:30PM : Tottenham Hotspur (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 15 2017 3:00PM : Swansea City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 22 2017 3:00PM : Hull City (a)
Barclays Premier League
May 1 2017 8:00PM : Liverpool (H)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Daniel Smith12
2.Adewadey1
Write for Vital Football