Category: Enjoy The Game

Tony Coton: Enjoy the Game Interview

For the second interview, I had a trip to Manchester to cover some cycling. Someone I knew at Manchester United had put me in touch with Tony Coton and he agreed to meet me one February afternoon in 2009.

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Nigel Gibbs: Enjoy the Game Interview

Nigel Gibbs was the third person interviewed for Enjoy the Game. At the time he was on the coaching staff at Reading and so I made the short trip to Berkshire and met him in the canteen at the club’s training ground.

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Richard Hill: Enjoy the Game Interview

Richard Hill was Graham Taylor’s last signing for the club before leaving for Aston Villa. His Watford career was brief. As the fourth interview for Enjoy The Game, it is often the bit-part players who have the clearest view of the drama taking place centre stage.

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Luther Blissett: Enjoy the Game Interview

The fifth interviewee Luther Blissett already knew what I was going to ask, Nigel Gibbs had tipped him off. Luther had three spells at Watford as a player and served as a coach, so there was a lot of ground to cover.

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John McClelland: Enjoy the Game Interview

In early March 2009, I headed to Wakefield to meet John McClelland, who had been one of my favourite players, arguably the finest defenders to ever play for Watford. McClelland was interview number six.

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Steve Sims: Enjoy the Game Interview

Steve Sims was the archetypal strong, strapping centre half who joined Watford amid some fanfare because he’d been an England under-21 and B international while at Leicester City. His adjustment to the Third Division took time but he established himself in the side.

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Jimmy Gilligan: Enjoy the Game Interview

In March 2009, I headed to Barking to meet a man who scored Watford’s first goal in Europe. Having coached at a professional level, I wondered whether Tom Walley’s methods would be accepted today.

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Neil Price: Enjoy the Game Interview

The next interview was another young player who came through Tom Walley’s system. Neil Price was a local lad who played barely a dozen games for Watford but packed a lot in and I found him to be a man with opinions as strong as his tackles.

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Nigel Callaghan: Enjoy the Game Interview

When I first watched Watford, the next interviewee, Nigel Callaghan was one of my favourite players. Callaghan retired from football too early for a man of his talent – and switched to his other passion, DJing.

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Steve Terry: Enjoy the Game Interview

The next interviewee, Steve Terry was another strong centre half who was not afraid to put his body on the line both in attack and defence, recognisable by the strip of bandage to protect the scar tissue on his forehead. A member of the FA Cup final team, he shared the number five shirt with Steve Sims for much of his time at the club.

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George Reilly: Enjoy the Game Interview

For nine months or so, the next interviewee George Reilly’s partnership with Maurice Johnston was one of the most feared in the First Division. It was the classic combination between a big man and a quick striker with an eye for goal and the pair were just as lively off the pitch as on it.

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John Ward: Enjoy the Game Interview

One of the longest interviews was that of John Ward. Ward’s playing days at Watford were relatively brief, but the success in the 1980s was significant because he returned as a coach and was later Graham Taylor’s assistant manager.

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Charlie Palmer: Enjoy the Game Interview

The first interview conducted by phone was with defender Charlie Palmer who broke into the team at the start of the 1983-84 season but then lost his place to David Bardsley. I had thought that Palmer would be a peripheral figure in the story but it was an honest, frank and insightful interview.

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Glyn Hodges: Enjoy the Game Interview

Another trip to the north-west meant I could schedule a couple of interviews back-to-back. First up I travelled to Manchester City’s training ground to speak to Glyn Hodges. He was fun to listen to the first person I spoke to who had not signed for Taylor and so his perspective on Bassett’s takeover was interesting.

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Steve Harrison: Enjoy the Game Interview

For the next interview it was off to Alderley Edge, to meet Steve Harrison at a little tea shop. Steve joined Watford in 1978 as a player and then later Graham Taylor offered him a role working with the club’s juniors. When Taylor left to join Aston Villa, ‘Harry’ went with him, returning to replace Dave Bassett as manager six months later. Steve was great company and spoke at length with the humour and enthusiasm I’d hoped for.

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Lee Sinnott: Enjoy the Game Interview

I met Lee Sinnott at Wooley Edge Services near Wakefield as he headed to an evening training session with his players at Bradford Park Avenue. He is one of only 12 men to have played in an FA Cup final for Watford and at 18 he was the youngest. Sinnott was quick, athletic and versatile, and many supporters will remember his prodigious long throw-in.

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Colin West: Enjoy the Game Interview

Following in the footsteps of Ross Jenkins and George Reilly must have been a daunting prospect but Colin West made an immediate impact after joining from Sunderland on transfer deadline day in March 1985. We talked about the circumstances that led to his transfer to Watford.

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Kevin Richardson: Enjoy the Game Interview

The second stop on my trip to the North East was to Hartlepool, where I met Kevin Richardson. He played just under a season for the Hornets but had played for Everton in the 1984 FA Cup final. He was also sold with indecent haste by Dave Bassett after Taylor left in 1987.

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Wilf Rostron: Enjoy the Game Interview

I wondered how the interview would go with Wilf Rostron. He wasn’t one to keep in touch with his former team-mates, it seemed. He struck me as extremely modest and not one to live in the past. He’d participated in some of the club’s most remarkable days and yet his memory of them was understated.

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