Opinion: Why Watford shouldn't stand by Deeney
The club will of course not want to wave goodbye to their ~£350k investment but in the light of his sentencing, which is the higher price to pay?
For me, as a family club, who pride themselves on their family and community ties, having a convicted criminal on the playing staff is not right. What sort of message does this send out the young children who support Watford and Deeney? If Deeney continues to play for the Hornets after his custodial spell it sends out the message that a criminal record doesn`t matter; that it won`t affect your future employment. Whilst we would all surely accept that football is a law unto itself, that isn`t the right message to be conveying.
Certainly for every job I`ve ever held in the 'real world` I have had to confirm that I do not possess a criminal record and am not facing prosecution for an offence at the current time - if I met either of those criteria, I`d soon discover that finding work became tricky - why should a footballer, in a privileged position, idolised by many, be exempt from this?
The evidence certainly suggests that Deeney will be dispensed with. Whilst Watford do not have a history of criminals within their playing staff, the likes of Marlon King, Ched Evans and Luke McCormick have all been released by their employers in recent times whilst serving custodial sentences.
I have to admit to a degree of surprise in the sentencing. I honestly expected that in our history of weak sentencing, (not that this is right), as a footballer, with a young child and as a first offence, that Deeney would get off with a suspended sentence at worst.
If it was a youth team player or someone who wasn`t central to the club`s plans they would be out the door so quick their feet wouldn`t touch the floor. In the interest of justice, everybody should be treated the same, regardless of stature.
The club will certainly be examining their legal position in all of this and looking at the damage the news will cause to the club`s family image. We might not hear from the club for a few days until all avenues have been explored but I certainly hope the next announcement from the club is to confirm Deeney`s release.
In the interest of balance and the fact that what always have opposing opinions, chrisgwfc will be putting a piece of his own up in the coming days to explain why we shouldn't move Deeney on.