Midfielder Matt joined the club in 2005 from Leeds United, having previously played for Luton Town and scoring against Watford in a League Cup tie. He scored eight goals in 45 appearances in just over a year at the club.
Now playing in non-league, Matt spoke to Watford Legends while at Charlton in 2009.
Hi Matt The only question to kick off with is have you ever forgiven yourself for scoring that goal against us for Luton?
Ha how do I answer that! Its just one of those things I suppose. It is probably one of the best goals I have scored. Scoring against Watford and then ending up at the club was a bit strange but that’s football.
You were at Leeds when Aidy signed you for Watford, but given your history with the enemy from up the M1 did it play on your mind at all when deciding whether to sign for us or not?
No not really. I think it would have been a bigger deal if I had gone directly from Luton to Watford but having a year elsewhere helped. People did mention it but it didn’t bother me at all to be honest. I knew why I was going there to do so it made no impact on my decision whatsoever.
The Watford fans seemed to take to you quickly and you had your own chant pretty soon.
Yeah they did, it was nice. That was the first time I’ve had my own chant as well! Like you say they did take to me quite well and that was good.
How would you say you enjoyed your time overall at Watford?
Yeah it was excellent, absolutely excellent. I loved it at Watford. I’m not just saying that because this is for a Watford website, I can genuinely say that my time at Watford is so far my happiest time in football. I was gutted that it didn’t last longer than it did.
Boothroyd has publicly stated now that he felt he let you go too early.
Yes a friend of mine saw that on your website and told me to have a look so I did but I’m still not too sure how it made me feel. It was a nice thing to say and it was nice that he acknowledged it and that he wanted me there but on the other hand you are gutted that he feels he made an error because if he hadn’t have done then I could have stayed for much longer. So it was a bit of a weird feeling but it is done now and you just have to move on.
You had effectively one full season at Watford, but what a season it was.
On the pitch it was excellent and of the pitch it was excellent as well. It was just a really good season for me, the team and the club. It has been the best season of my career and a really enjoyable one.
Are there any particular games that stand out for you during that season?
Obviously the ones I got goals in! The three games in the play offs were great as well. It was so enjoyable the whole way through though, I learnt so much that season.
Out of the goals you scored for Watford, what would be your favourite if you had to pick just one?
It would have to be the play-off semi final one against Palace with my left foot. Going into the home leg 3-0 up is obviously a lot different to going into it 2-0 up. If we did go into the game 2-0 up I still think we would have won it but getting that third goal gave us a big boost and made it just that bit better for the home game.
I think before the home game not many people would have bet against us seeing the job out so yes, that goal against Palace was the most important and my favourite.
When we got to the Premiership did you feel you would be given a fair crack of the whip?
I think when Aidy said what he did to you it shows how it should have been. I did think I deserved a chance. It is one of my biggest regrets now that I didn’t get that chance. I think minds were made up before a ball was kicked as to what the team was going to be and I don’t think it was ever going to matter how I did in pre-season, I wasn’t going to play. That bothered me a bit and hurt me a bit but I just had to get on with it but the final nail in the coffin was when Aidy said he was going to let me go.
We all know now that you ended up back at Luton but where there any other clubs in for you?
Yes there were. Forest were interested as were Norwich. I only went to speak to Norwich though but it wasn’t quite right for me and so I ended up making the move I did. It wasn’t right for me to re-locate my family then so although it wasn’t a great move it suited me at the time.
Did you get much stick off the fans when you went back?
No not really, it was ok. There was a section of the crowd that were never going to forgive but it was ok.
You are now down in south London plying your trade for Charlton, how are you finding that?
Its ok, I just really need to be playing regularly though. My contract is up in the summer so that will obviously have to be addressed by me sitting down with the manager and see which way he thinks things are going. If we get promoted and wants to use me then great, if we don’t and he doesn’t then not so great!
I’m not keen on moving too many more times as I need to settle somewhere. I’ve moved too much in the past couple of years so I need to get settled somewhere, get my family settled and then concentrate on my football.
Would it bother you staying in League One for whatever club?
Ideally I would like to play in the championship. I know I can play at that level and obviously you want to play at as high a level as you can. If something comes up where I know I’m going to enjoy it and that is in league one then I don’t mind having a look at that. Now I’m getting towards the back end of my career I just want to start getting down and playing football as well as enjoying it.
Good luck with the rest of your career Matt.
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