Jordan was Aidy Boothroyd’s first signing, from Leicester City for £125,000. Predominantly a left-back or left-sided midfielder, he played over 100 games for the Hornets and was part of the promotion winning squad in 2005-6. After leaving the club, he signed for Derby County.
Now playing for Phoenix Rising in the US, Jordan spoke to Watford Legends while at Notts County in 2012.
Hi Jordan, thanks for talking to Watford Legends. You were Aidy Boothroyd’s first signing as Watford manager, how did the move come about?
It was all a bit strange and new to be me if I’m being honest. I had been at Leicester for six years and I’d never had a transfer before. The first I knew of it was a call I got from Aidy himself and he told me that they had agreed a fee with Leicester for me and asking if it was possible to meet up to discuss it.
Aidy lives in the Midlands as well so we arranged to meet up and he spoke to me about his ideas to push the club forward. He was a young manager but had a good idea of what he wanted to do. He wanted to play fast, attacking football and score loads of goals. I had a chat with my family after speaking with Aidy and decided to go for it.
With him being a young manager and you being the first signing, did you buy into his plans for promotion and believe it was achievable?
Yes I did. It wasn’t all about promotion; he had loads of different beliefs. He wanted a top six finish as an absolute minimum but he also wanted to change the philosophy of the club as well. As he was so new I didn’t really know anything about him and it might have sounded odd as Watford only just stayed up the year before, but if I hadn’t bought in to what he said then I wouldn’t have signed.
It must have been a strange training ground to arrive at with the number of new signings.
Yes there were quite a few but once you’ve all been in a couple of days you start to get to know each other and people begin to blend in. You are really just building up to playing games so you can see how each of your teammates plays and see their strengths and weaknesses.
Are there any games in the regular season that stand out for you?
To be honest the only real standout games for me were the play-off games, they were incredible. The games through the season were broken down into sections of six games so we were really focused. We would just concentrate on the next six games coming up and as a squad we would set a points target for those six games. If we hit the target then we would be rewarded with various different prizes by the management team. For example, after one of the early batch of games we hit the points target and so we had a plasma screen TV and a PlayStation put in the communal room at the training ground. The prizes got bigger and bigger as we went along.
What was the biggest prize you got?
A few days for the whole squad in Dubai.
Ha! It was good fun. We were still working and we did train when we were out there, but we did also have a night out as well so it was a good balance of work and relaxation, but the whole point of breaking the games up into cycles of six was to keep the focus. If you try and look at 46 games as a whole it can make it difficult to look at the here and now. It was a tactic that worked well for us. Also, if you lose the first two games of a six game cycle then you still have four games to try and make up the points.
But in answer to your question, the games that really stand out for me when I look back are definitely the play-off games; they will live with me forever.
Did we win the play-off final in the tunnel?
We were well and truly pumped up when we went into the tunnel as you will have seen from the footage. We had a psychologist with us in the changing room, and he put together a little montage of motivational speeches from various films such as Gladiator and Any Given Sunday. It only went on for about two or three minutes but we watched it in the changing rooms just before we went out into the tunnel and it had us incredibly pumped up.
By the time we got in the tunnel there was absolutely no way we were losing that game, no way on earth. We were more vocal but we believed in ourselves with it, whereas Leeds had an air of arrogance about them. It was almost like they were saying ‘You do your shouting, and we will do our talking on the pitch’ but we knew we’d beat them. I remember they had a shot that went just wide but then Jay scored to put us one up and we never looked back.
Are there any games in the Premier League that stand out for you?
The one I still remember most is away at Chelsea as we got absolutely dominated by Drogba! When you see him on the pitch he doesn’t look huge, certainly not against the likes of Danny Shittu, but the strength the bloke had was just unreal.
We changed our tactics a bit in the Premiership and I am not sure that was the right thing to do. In the promotion season we were direct at times but then when we got to the final third we did play a bit and we did it well especially with players like Youngy and McNamee running at full backs, but in the Premiership we tried to come away from that and it didn’t work in our favour. You get a lot more time on the ball in the Premier League and we could have used that to our favour as we had the players to do it. The teams that have gone up and stayed up over recent years have all played football.
But from a personal perspective it was great to get some more time playing at that level as I had done a few years previously with Leicester and it was an exciting time.
As we all know now we dropped out of the Premier League, did you believe that we would go straight back up?
Yes I thought we could do it and when we started the next season we were on fire, but then I don’t know what happened after that. We went through a bad spell and just couldn’t regain it. From a personal point of view it was tough as talks had started about extending my contract and there were some inaccurate things appearing in the paper about me asking for ridiculous amounts of money and they were just wrong. That made life difficult for me and was the beginning of the end of my Watford career I suppose. But from a club point of view we still had the players to push us up but I’m not sure why we couldn’t regain it.
For a lot of Watford fans, the game where we lost 0-3 to WBA was a turning point and it’s been mentioned by other players that was when the booing started by the home crowd as well. Was that a talking point in the squad?
Not with myself but there were a few times I thought the crowd were on our backs when we were losing or not playing well and that was when we needed them. I try not to focus too much on the crowd during a game but I know it can get to some players who do listen out for it a bit more.
West Brom are a very good team and we were well beaten that day but I’m not so sure it was that one game that was a turning point, I think it was across a few games in all honesty. We tried to regain the early season momentum but it just didn’t happen.
The team seem to have the crowd against them generally but you seemed to be a boo boy in particular.
Yes think that was down to the gaffer saying I was asking for too much money in the local paper. I was one of the lowest paid players in the squad. I wasn’t asking for the same money as the likes of Kingy, just an average wage that was comparable with other members of the squad and I don’t think that was unfair.
I went to see the gaffer about it three or four times and we couldn’t agree on it so in the end I said I’d rather forget about talking about it for now so I could concentrate on my football and we could discuss it at the end of the season, and that appeared in the paper and was misconstrued by a few people.
There were also rumours of a bust up between you and Aidy at half time during an away game at QPR – care to set the record straight?
Yes of course. I think it was 0-0 at half time and I was up against Gareth Ainsworth. He had won a few headers against me in the first half but I thought I was doing OK dealing with him. We got into the changing room at half time and my groin was a bit tight so I was having some treatment on that in a side room just off the main part of the dressing room, and I could hear Aidy going mad at the rest of the players in the main part of the room. He then asked where I was, came into this side bit where I was and ordered me back into the main part of the room. I explained I wouldn’t as I was having treatment and we ended up having a massive argument.
It was a big bust up but after the game I got changed as normal and we didn’t speak. He called me in on the Tuesday and apologised, which I accepted. I don’t hold grudges and certainly not over something like that so it wasn’t a problem to me and he was good enough to apologise.
There were rumours Jay DeMerit had to step between the two of you during that bust up.
No, that’s not the case. As I was in a separate bit of the room there were no other players in there. It was a big bust up and slanging match but it was just verbal. We weren’t in each other’s faces and it was never going to turn into anything physical so rumours of other players having to step in simply aren’t correct.
What made you leave when you did?
I went through a phase of playing and then he signed Mat Sadler and he was playing him. Then we lost a few games and he put me back in the team and we started doing OK again. Then one Friday we were doing some shape work as normal and I wasn’t involved. I went to see him and he told me it was largely in preparation for the following season and that I wouldn’t be there so it was pointless me being involved. I thought I should have played as I had been playing and playing OK and so I should be in on merit but he disagreed.
Then it came down to the fact he wasn’t going to play me and didn’t want to keep me on so there was no point me staying around for the sake of it.
We were playing an away game that weekend, away at Scunthorpe it might have been, but he told me to not travel and that we would have a chat when we were all back in on the Tuesday about where we go from here. I said again that if he wasn’t going to keep me or play me then I should go and he agreed and told me I could go straight away so I collected my stuff and left. From there I went on to join Derby who had been trying to get me for a while.
You are currently at Notts County, enjoying your time there?
Yes it’s good other than the fact I’ve got an injured hamstring at the moment! It’s a good club though and a good place to be about. The emphasis is on good football and you can get out of this division by playing good football.
Gavin Mahon is here with me as well so we share the traveling as he doesn’t live far from me. My contract here is only until the 1st of January and after that – who knows? I had a few trials in America over the summer so if things don’t continue at Notts County then I might end up in America yet. I’ve also got my new clothing line, Lescott Stewart, which I run with Joleon and Aaron Lescott so I am keeping myself busy at the moment.
Thanks for talking to us Jordan, and good luck for the future.
Thank you fellas.
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