Striker Wayne progressed through the youth system at Watford and made his debut in 1996. He made regular appearances in 1996-7 scoring five goals in 29 appearances, but struggled to regain his place after breaking his ankle the following season.
Since leaving Watford, Wayne has played for more than ten league clubs including Luton Town, which is where Watford Legends spoke to him in 2008.
Hi Wayne. You were an apprentice at the club. How did Watford become your team?
I was from London and played for a club called North Paddington. I was at a school that was very rugby orientated, and even though I was good at football, they wouldn’t let me go to train at Watford, as they wanted me to concentrate on rugby. My team at North Paddington got to a cup final. Steve Perryman’s son was playing against me in the final and after the game Steve asked if I would be interested to join him there. After that the school allowed me to go.
Rob Smith used to pick us up from Watford Junction and we would go training from there. I would go backwards and forwards on the trains, but I suppose that was at a time when as young lads it was safe to do so.
I did a lot of my training under Kenny Jackett and eventually Kenny gave me a YTS contract, along with Robert Page and Bruce Dyer. I remember my nickname with Kenny was ‘Black Flash’ as I was pretty quick! I even get called it sometimes now which is quite funny when I see players I haven’t seen for ages, and they remember it as my nickname. People ask if that nickname means I am a bit ‘big time’, but I just tell them I used to be quick!
What can you remember about playing for Watford?
Initially I got in under Glenn Roeder when I was 17 but then he left and it went from there. That’s when I was playing with Gifton which must have been the youngest partnership in the league. We played against Bournemouth and I came on as a sub.
Then there was the game against Notts County where I scored the last minute winner. I remember I took my shirt off and chucked it into the crowd.
You then broke your ankle while playing for the club.
We had gone to Lithuania for pre season and it had gone really well as had the start of the season and then I got injured. As there were complications I was out for seven months. It absolutely killed me being out for so long. I had two screws put in and then when I was running the bones weren’t connecting properly so I had to have them taken out and start again.
I came back for the Fulham away game where they got promoted and then didn’t really figure in the next season so I went to Cambridge and Peterborough to try and get some first team football.
I didn’t really get on with Barry Fry when I went to Peterborough but he told that he’d got Graham Taylor drunk and asked him if he could take me on loan. It started well as I scored four goals on my debut and then I had a bit of an up and down time there really and then I just drifted.
You played for St Albans, Aldershot and Chesham and scored quite a few goals but did you have to go out and get a job at that time?
No as I still believed I could play in the league. We had just had Chloe so I was basically a house husband looking after her but when we moved to Leighton Buzzard I said to Donna that I needed to be realistic and go and get a job.
I then got a phone call out of the blue from Oldham saying they wanted me as, me and Fitz Hall had been there on trial, so I signed for them and that’s how I got back onto the scene. It took me a while to get back into training everyday and I didn’t get back into the team till after Christmas but then I scored 12 goals.
When I had gone up there I didn’t take the family in case it had gone pear shaped so when the club had financial problems I signed for Colchester.
Did you enjoy your time at Colchester?
It was the most enjoyable time that I had. I loved it there as we had a good steady team. There was about eight of us who lived fairly near each other so we clubbed together and bought mini-van to get to training in.
What made you go to Palace then?
Looking back now I probably wouldn’t have gone but I kept on getting phone calls about it and I was almost spending the money before I had got it. I had pre season with Colchester and then the manager called me in and said that I wasn’t going anywhere. I went down to speak to Palace but Colchester still refused to let me go but I said that if they didn’t let me sign then I wouldn’t be in the same frame of mind that I had been bearing in mind that Palace were in the Premiership. I ended up signing at two minutes to twelve, just before the deadline.
Is it fair to say you had a difficult time at Palace so you went to Coventry?
While I was at Palace I was always in the squad but never playing but he wouldn’t let me go on loan as I must have had about 12 clubs come in wanting to take me on loan. In the end my contract finished and I had the chance to go to Coventry. I had the hardest pre season at Coventry but I was the fittest I had been. The last match before the start of the season I played in the second half and scored but a few minutes later I got smashed from behind and ruptured my ankle and was out for 12 weeks.
I was gutted as I had been in contention for a regular starting place. I ended up going on loan to Sheffield Wednesday which was the best football I had for a little while. I was brought back as I had done well but was put in to train with the kids.
Mickey Adams then ended up getting sacked which I wasn’t bothered about as we didn’t really get on. Iain Dowie came in but I had already gone on loan and he was unable to get me back for a while. Then I had an op on my knee as I had dislocated it while on loan at Bristol Rovers and that was my last season at Coventry.
You then went to Luton Town over the summer.
I was going to sign for Bristol Rovers but as I hadn’t done my rehab on my knee properly at Coventry I couldn’t so I had eight weeks on my own.
Then I went to Luton which was hard as in the space of six months I had gone from being a Championship player to a player at the bottom of League Two but because of my situation with not being fit and not having done the proper rehab on my knee I didn’t have any other options.
The manager hasn’t been playing me regularly either as from his point of view all he is concerned about is getting points so they can try and stay up.
What are your plans now?
My contract with Luton is up now but I’m fit so as much as I don’t really want to go on trial, I’ll do it because of my record over the last few years I have to prove myself to show I’ve still got it.
When football is finally over for you, have you got any plans or anything you want to do?
I could do the coaching badges but I would rather work with kids. Being an assistant manager or something like that would take up so much time and take that time away from my family.
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