Defender Jack came through the youth system at Watford and made his debut towards the end of the 2002-3 season. He played 25 games for the Hornets scoring two goals, and is the younger brother of Tommy.
Last seen playing at Wealdstone in 2015, Jack went into partnership with his brother in a Bushey based estate agency in 2014. He spoke to Watford Legends in 2013.
Hi Jack. Thanks for talking to Watford Legends. We all know the story behind you and your brother being Watford boys, but how did your route in to Watford come about?
It was the same as everyone else really, I was just seen playing the local football in the youth leagues, and from there went to training with the club and so on. I just tried to stick with it for as long as I could in order to secure a contract.
Was it a help (or a hindrance) with Watford having Tommy on the scene?
I would say that I didn’t actually have a lot of contact with Tom when I was first at Watford. Obviously we spoke away from the club, but generally we would be training in different places and so on. So it wasn’t a big thing. When Tom broke through to the first team there is a bit more of a spotlight on it. It was just nice we were being able to do something we both loved.
What do you remember of your debut?
I can’t remember a lot! I do remember that it was Brighton away, and I went on with about ten minutes to go when we were four nil down. I had been on the bench a couple of times in the season but hadn’t got on, and this was one of the last games of the season. It was a great experience. After the game everyone was down about the result but I was buzzing from making my debut!
Well you can’t go wrong in that game if you’re already four nil down with ten minutes left!
No that’s true. The only disappointment was that when I came on, Tom had already been subbed off, so we missed our only ever chance of being on the pitch at the same time.
How did you enjoy working for Ray Lewington?
A lot. Everyone knows he is a great bloke, and he always helped the younger players which was great. I would also mention Nigel Gibbs as well who was also a great help.
I guess it helped that a Watford Legend right back was helping you as a right back yourself?
Yes of course. You get to listen to his expertise in certain situations and hear what he would say. In the same way that strikers benefit from striking coaches coming in to help, it’s also good to have that as a defender. So to have Nigel around was great.
You scored a couple of goals. Do you remember them?
Well I don’t score often so I remember all my goals!
I scored twice for Watford and the first one is the most memorable as it was a game that was on Sky away at Sheffield United. I didn’t realise how big a deal it was until I came off the pitch and I had loads of texts and calls on my phone.
The other one was not so memorable against Wimbledon, but it was a nice one to score as it was at Vicarage Road.
Are you still in much contact with your old Watford team mates?
Yes a few. At Millwall and Swindon there are a few Watford connections – Darren Ward, Hameur Bouazza and Jerel Ifil. I’m godparent to Jerel’s children which is nice.
How did you find it playing against your brother?
Yes, it has happened, Watford versus Sunderland. It’s all a bit strange and obviously adds a bit more of a spotlight on the game, but when the game is up and running it goes away.
You were at the club when Ray Left and Aidy came in.
Yes he came in towards the end of my last year. I had a year left to run on my contract but Aidy told me that he didn’t think I would be playing better games. When you hear that you know it’s time to move on. I do wonder about moving now though, as I went to Swindon, where we were relegated at the same time as Watford made it to the Premiership.
So do you regret leaving?
Yes I think I do. Tom told me that Aidy like people who showed a lot of bottle, and maybe I could have stayed, really gone for it in pre season, fought for a place, and then who knows.
I don’t know really! They showed some interest, I liked the opportunity with the manager (Andy King) and thought I’d go for it. They had been in the play offs the year before, so I liked the look of the challenge. I had a good four years there.
I managed to stay in the local area whilst playing there but eventually I moved down for a bit when our working hours were extended.
You’re now working for Kenny at Millwall. Was there a Watford link to your move there?
No, I don’t think so. I’d been released by Swindon and there was not a lot out there for me. My dad knows Kenny quite well so he gave him a ring just to see if I could join the training, just to keep fit. Millwall then had an injury crisis, so I was given a short term deal, and I played every game for the rest of the season. It has progressed from there.
It’s obviously been a good move as you have been there for a few years now.
Yes it’s been good. I’ve had ups and downs, as you do in football, but overall I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve got a year left on my contract and I’m just trying to show in this year that when I am in the team I can do a job. It’s a good club to play for and the lads are great.
What do you expect you will do when you hang up your boots?
I have no idea. I can’t see myself wanting to go in to coaching or management, it’s not something that appeals to me at the moment.
I’ve seen the stress that coaches and managers are under, and I think that maybe I will look to do something completely different.
You never know, though, I might find that after six months out of football I want to get back involved! I might do my badges over the next couple of years, so at least they are there if I need them.
Well thanks for your time Jack.
No problem. Thanks for the interview.
Quick Fire Round
|Favourite Ground (apart from the Vic)|
|St James Park|
|Best Ever Player|
|Team you supported as a boy|
|Favourite Holiday Destination|
|Favourite TV Show|
|Dumb and Dumber|
|Never happier than when|
|I'm involved in winning football matches|
|If I hadn't been a footballer|
|I'd have been an accountant|
|Desert Island Woman|