He went on to join Cardiff City, where Watford Legends spoke to him in 2012.
I wasn’t getting on with the manager of Middlesbrough at the time, Gordon Strachan, we didn’t really see eye to eye. For whatever reason he didn’t believe in me and I didn’t believe in him. It got down to the last day of the loan window and to be honest I was desperate to get out. My agent rung me and told me Watford were interested and asked me if I would go.
What a lot of people don’t know is that I had to take a decent pay cut to go on loan to Watford. A lot of people think footballers are just in it for the money but I wanted to play that much and wanted to get out of Middlesbrough that much that I took that pay cut.
I was of the understanding that when it comes to a loan move then the club taking you will pay a percentage towards your wages and your parent club make up the rest, meaning you get all of your wages.
That is what happens normally but Middlesbrough refused to pay me the full amount of what they were left to pay after Watford’s contribution had been taken into account. So my choices were to either stay at Middlesbrough on full money twiddling my thumbs or not get my full money but be able to play football and start enjoying it again, which I did.
And how did you find it when you got to Watford?
I loved it. I really enjoyed my time there and enjoyed working with the staff and the players; they made me feel really welcome. The fans were great as well, but just to be back playing football again was the best thing.
You played in 19 games for Watford in total, do any of those in particular stand out for you though?
Yes a couple do. The game where we went and beat QPR 3-1 at their place on the telly was a big day. I also remember well my last home game against Portsmouth which again was on the telly and we got a good win, and I will always remember it well as it was my first ever goal.
It was only a little tap in though! In all seriousness, as a first goal in professional football they don’t come much better than that.
Ha ha yeah it wasn’t bad was it?! It was on Sky, we won the game, and it was my last game at Vicarage Road. It was a really good day, very memorable.
And you mentioned the QPR game, which was an outstanding performance and result.
I think they were unbeaten up until that point and going really well. Everyone was talking about them and how they were going to win the league and what have you, yet we went there and absolutely destroyed them. Anybody watching must have thought that we were the team that was unbeaten and top of the league. That was a big game for me personally and for the team as well.
A lot of players we speak to talk fondly about the changing room at Watford and seem genuine in saying there are no cliques, was it easy to settle into?
The players were absolutely brilliant. I was lucky as I already knew Danny Graham and Josh Walker well from my time at Middlesbrough, but even the rest of the lads were genuinely great. Everybody got involved with everything, there were no cliques and it is just generally a really friendly and well run club.
You ended up back at Middlesbrough to finish the season off, and strangely ended up scoring against Watford when we played at the Riverside.
Yes it was my first goal for Middlesbrough but it was a bit of a weird experience!
Did the Watford players give you any stick for scoring against them?
Ha nothing too bad! I had a bit of banter with Loachy about it after the game but nothing too serious. I went into the Watford changing room after the game to say hello to everybody and they were all fine, it’s just one of those things in football!
It is widely known that Watford were in for you over the summer but you ended up choosing to go with Malky and sign for Cardiff.
Yes I had a decision to make in the summer. I was out of contract at Middlesbrough and a few clubs were in for me and it boiled down to wanting to work with Malky again.
What other clubs were in for you?
There were a few that said they were interested but some needed me to wait. The only clubs that were prepared to do a deal straight away and I spoke to were Middlesbrough, Watford, Bristol City and Cardiff. Like I said it just came down to wanting to work with Malky again and that is why I signed for Cardiff. Before I came to Watford on loan I spoke with Danny and Josh and they spoke very highly of him. He was new into management so I didn’t know much about him but I went and loved working with him, and not just him to be fair but all the staff as well including Dychey. I really enjoyed working with Dychey and thought he would be coming down to Cardiff as well but obviously a better offer for him came when he got the chance to manage Watford and it’s great to see him doing as well as he is.
With Malky I love the way his energy and enthusiasm rubs off on players. He is very meticulous in his planning and he wants everything doing properly. He’s a good manager and it is a good set up to work for.
When you came back to the Vic on Boxing Day, Don got a bit of stick but you got a decent reception from the fans.
Yes it was nice. Obviously I was hoping they wouldn’t give Don or me any stick. If I’m honest I wasn’t really expecting anything. I gave every game 110% when I was there and was all set to join permanently if it wasn’t for a few bits that couldn’t be sorted. The fans were great with me whilst I was there. It is a family orientated club but they are all very passionate about their football. Watford were tipped to go down all season and they done well, they seem to be doing well this season as well and hopefully that will continue.
Whilst talking to you I must ask you about the Carling Cup final against Liverpool, you put up one hell of a fight.
Yeah we did. Funnily enough I’ve only just finished watching it again about five minutes ago! It was an unbelievable experience right from Friday when we set off for London. We went to have a look around Wembley and then had a few days in the hotel. Then the big day finally came and it is quite surreal looking back on it now. You know how big an occasion it is but you almost dismiss that in a way as you are so focussed on playing the game. Looking back now at the size of the crowd and what have you is quite strange. It was a bit of a shocker to lose the way we did. We went there hoping and believing that we could win. We were massive underdogs and Liverpool were the huge favourites but to come so close to winning and then not was hard to take. We can look back on it though with pride and we can be happy with the effort and performance that we put in.
And three days after 120 minutes on a big pitch have your legs recovered yet or not?!
Ha ha just! I was a bit sore this morning still and a bit stiff walking about but we’ve had an easy day today, another recovery day, and we will all be 100% and ready to go against West Ham on Sunday.
Thanks for talking to us Andy, all the best.
No worries, cheers lads.
Quick Fire Round
|Favourite Ground (apart from the Vic)|
|Best Ever Player|
|Team you supported as a boy|
|Range Rover Sport|
|R & B|
|Favourite Holiday Destination|
|Favourite TV Show|
|Never happier than when|
|Desert Island Woman|