Club Connectors: Dave Watson
We look at the former Goodison Park and Carrow Road favourite.
In the first of a new series for the 2013/14 season, we take a closer look at former Blues great Dave Watson.
Ahead of each match, the focus will be on one specific player who made a name at Everton and the Blues' forthcoming opponents.
Watson is the first 'Club Connector' as preparations intensify for the Premier League opener at Carrow Road this weekend...
November 1980 – August 1986
August 1986 – May 2001
A BLUES LEGEND
Only Neville Southall and Brian Labone have made more Everton first-team appearances than Dave Watson, the former Blues captain who was a colossal presence in the Toffees' defence for well over a decade.
He was recruited by Howard Kendall in 1986 as a replacement for Derek Mountfield and initially struggled to settle in the team. But his strength and bravery ensured he soon developed into a Goodison Park favourite, playing alongside skipper Kevin Ratcliffe. He got his hands on the First Division title in 1987 and took possession of the captain’s armband following Ratcliffe’s departure in 1992.
He played alongside David Unsworth, Craig Short and Richard Gough in the latter stages of his Blues career, a journey which came to its conclusion when he hung up his boots in 2001.
Watson was capped 12 times by England but undoubtedly his greatest-ever Wembley moment came on 20 May 1995 when he lifted the FA Cup.
Paul Rideout’s match-winning goal grabbed the headlines but the Blues skipper was named man of the match after keeping Mark Hughes, Brian McClair, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at bay.
At the time, he was one of two – the other being Neville Southall – surviving members from Everton's previous major trophy win – the league title eight years earlier.
Manager at the time, Joe Royle told evertonfc.com: “We couldn’t get the cup off him for three days. Everyone in Warrington had their photo taken with Waggy and the cup. But he really enjoyed it and he deserved to because he was outstanding.
FOR THE OTHER SIDE
Equally as popular at Carrow Road as on Merseyside, Watson joined from Liverpool as a fresh-faced 19-year-old for what proved a bargain fee of £50,000 in 1980.
Unproven at the time, he soon became a mainstay in the heart of Norwich’s defence and seldom missed a match during his six-year stay in East Anglia.
On the pitch, it proved a turbulent era for the Canaries as they were twice relegated from the top flight but they did enjoy success in 1985 when they lifted the League Cup with a 1-0 win over Sunderland at Wembley – an achievement Watson later described as his finest in a Norwich jersey.
FROM THOSE THAT KNOW HIM BEST
Former manager Howard Kendall: “I needed to sign a centre-half. I didn’t think I would but Derek Mountfield picked up injuries and I went for Dave when he was at Norwich. He turned out to be a magnificent signing and a magnificent leader. The manager of Norwich Ken Brown said to me that losing him was like cutting his right arm off and I understood what he meant by that after a short while with Dave.”
Former teammate Ian Snodin: “He wasn’t the greatest on the ball and he couldn’t ping a 40 or 50 yard pass but give me Dave Watson to mark somebody out of the game any day. He is a born winner, no matter if you are doing a cross-country run or a sprint. On that football field there was nobody as brave or as hard.”
Former manager Joe Royle: “He had the uncanny knack of playing to the peak of his considerable ability every week and doing the simple things extraordinarily well. Head it, kick it, clear it, he could defend and he was a great guy with a wry sense of humour. He may have started on the wrong side of the park but ended up very much a Blue.”
I felt safe when he was in the centre of defence. Not blessed with pace but was good in the air and had the heart of a lion.
Stephen Lyon @ClassicsMan
He scored the winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup replay in 1991 after the first game famously ended 4-4.
Martin John Graves @marty_mcfly27
My last ever away game with my dad, sitting in clock end at Arsenal. Waggy stuck it in with his left peg from 35 yards!
Matt Traynor @Shiok_and_Awe
He was always a good bet for first or only goalscorer!
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Watson joined the backroom staff at Newcastle United’s academy in 2011 and has since occupied the position of Under-18s chief for the Magpies.
He first made the step into coaching by taking up the managerial reins at Goodison for a short spell when Joe Royle resigned in 1997.
He later managed Tranmere Rovers for 14 months and worked alongside Graham Barrow in the reserve team at Wigan prior to switching to the north-east two years ago.