In this article, we’ll look at the top 10 greatest Watford players of all time – the legends who helped shape the club into what it is today. From Luther Blissett to Troy Deeney, these players aren’t just local heroes but worldwide household names in football circles.
Each one has made an indelible mark on Watford’s history, whether through their goalscoring exploits or their leadership on and off the pitch.
So whether you’ve been following Watford for decades or are just getting into football fandom now, get ready to learn about some of the club’s most iconic figures.
1. Luther Blissett
You can only talk about Watford legends by mentioning Luther Blissett – he’s like the Beatles of football in these parts. The striker made over 500 appearances for the club, scoring an impressive 186 goals.
He was a key player during Watford’s rise from the Fourth Division to the First Division in just five years under manager Graham Taylor. Blissett’s impact on and off the pitch cannot be overstated.
He was a prolific scorer and a leader who inspired his teammates to perform at their best. His performances earned him international recognition, representing England in 14 matches and scoring three goals.
Even after retiring as a player, he remained connected with Watford FC as an ambassador and continues to inspire young players today.
2. Troy Deeney
When you see Deeney on the pitch, it’s like watching a lion stalking its prey. He relentlessly pursues goals and victory, never backing down from a challenge.
Deeney’s physicality and determination make him a force to be reckoned with on the field. But not just his strength sets him apart; Deeney has shown incredible leadership and loyalty to Watford throughout his career.
He’s been with the club since 2010 and has become a true legend among fans. His passion for the game and dedication to his team have earned him respect on and off the field. It’s no wonder he’s considered one of the greatest players in Watford history.
3. John Barnes
If you’re a fan of football, then John Barnes is like a conductor leading an orchestra with his skillful footwork and precise passes.
Born in Jamaica in 1963, Barnes began his career at Watford and quickly became a star player. He helped lead the team to their first-ever FA Cup final in 1984, scoring a stunning goal against Manchester United in the semi-final.
Here are three reasons why John Barnes is considered one of the greatest players in Watford history:
- Versatility: Barnes was known for his ability to play multiple positions on the field, including left-wing, central midfield, and even left-back. He could adapt to different roles seamlessly, making him an invaluable asset to any team.
- Technique: Barnes had incredible ball control skills and could quickly dribble past defenders. His precise passing also made him a key playmaker for Watford and other teams he played for throughout his career.
- Legacy: After leaving Watford, Barnes had an incredibly successful career playing for Liverpool, winning numerous titles, including two league championships and the FA Cup twice. He was also capped 79 times by England national team.
John Barnes remains one of the most talented footballers that Watford has ever produced, thanks to his versatility, technique, and legacy at club level and internationally.
4. Tommy Mooney
Get ready to be amazed by Tommy Mooney, the former striker who brought passion and determination to the field every time he played.
Mooney was a key player in Watford’s success during the late 1990s and early 2000s, scoring crucial goals that helped secure promotion to the Premier League twice.
He began his career at Southport before moving on to play for several other clubs, including Birmingham City and Swindon Town.
However, it was at Watford where he truly made his mark. He scored 93 goals in 247 appearances for the Hornets, making him one of their all-time top scorers.
Mooney’s work ethic and never-say-die attitude made him a fan favorite and earned him a place among the greatest players in Watford’s history.
5. Nigel Gibbs
Nigel Gibbs, a solid defender for the Hornets and a key player in their success during the 1990s, will impress you. It shows that sometimes it’s not just about scoring goals but also defending with all your heart.
Gibbs played for Watford from 1984 to 2001, making over 450 appearances for the club. He was known for his tenacity and ability to read the game well. Here are some things that will give you an idea of what made Nigel Gibbs so great:
- He wasn’t afraid to put his body on the line, making crucial tackles and blocks.
- His aerial ability was impressive, often winning headers against much taller opponents.
- Gibbs understood his defensive partners significantly, ensuring they were always in sync.
- He was reliable and consistent throughout his career at Watford, rarely performing poorly.
Nigel Gibbs may not have been as glamorous as some of his attacking teammates. But he was just as crucial to the team’s success. It’s no wonder he’s considered one of Watford’s greatest players.
6. Ben Foster
Ben Foster’s impressive goalkeeping skills have been a crucial asset for Watford in recent seasons. The 37-year-old joined the club in 2018 from West Bromwich Albion and has since established himself as the Hornets’ first-choice goalkeeper.
His agility, reflexes, and ability to make essential saves have helped Watford secure vital points in their quest for promotion back to the Premier League.
To better understand Foster’s impact at Watford, take a look at this comparison table between his stats and those of previous Watford goalkeepers:
|Statistic||Ben Foster (2018-present)||Heurelho Gomes (2014-2020)|
|Goals Conceded per Game||1.16||1.41|
Foster may have fewer clean sheets than former goalkeeper Gomes, but he concedes fewer goals on average per game. This suggests that while he may not keep as many clean sheets, he is more reliable when preventing goals.
Overall, Foster’s performances for Watford have been solid and consistent, making him one of the top players for the club in recent years.
7. Ross Jenkins
Now let’s talk about Ross Jenkins, a former midfielder for Watford who had a successful career with the club. He played for the team during the 1970s and 1980s, making nearly 400 appearances.
Jenkins was known for his physical presence on the pitch and ability to score midfield goals. He was crucial in helping Watford reach the FA Cup final in 1984.
He scored two goals in a 3-1 win over Plymouth Argyle in the semi-final, which secured their place at Wembley.
Although they ultimately lost to Everton in the final, Watford fans will never forget Jenkins’ performances throughout that cup run.
His contribution to the team during his time at Vicarage Road cemented his place as one of Watford’s greatest players of all time.
8. Graham Taylor
Graham Taylor, who served as a player and manager for Watford, was instrumental in leading the team to its greatest successes in the 1980s.
As a player, he made over 150 appearances for the club between 1972 and 1977. However, his tenure as manager from 1977 to 1987 cemented his legacy at Watford.
Under Taylor’s leadership, Watford achieved back-to-back promotions from the Fourth Division to the Second Division in just three seasons.
They reached the First Division for the first time in their history in the 1982-83 season. They even finished runners-up to Liverpool in their debut season.
Taylor’s innovative tactics and man-management skills were key factors behind these achievements. His contribution to Watford’s success during this period cannot be understated, making him one of the most significant figures in the club’s history.
9. Alec Chamberlain
With his quick reflexes and unwavering focus, goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain. A crucial player in Watford’s rise to success in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Chamberlain joined Watford in 1996 from Sunderland and made over 290 appearances for the club during his ten-year stint.
He played a vital role in helping Watford gain promotion to the Premier League twice, first in the 1998-99 season and then again in the 2005-06 season.
Chamberlain was known for his excellent shot-stopping abilities, making crucial saves that often kept Watford in contention for victories.
His consistency between the posts earned him respect among fans and fellow players. Even after leaving Watford, Chamberlain remained involved with the club as a coach for their academy goalkeepers.
His contributions to Watford, both on and off the pitch, have solidified his place as one of the greatest players in their history.
10. Cliff Holton
Striker Cliff Holton was a force to be reckoned with during his time at Watford, scoring an impressive 86 goals in just 149 appearances. He was signed by the club in 1956 and played for them until 1960.
Holton’s physicality and aerial ability made him a threat whenever he stepped onto the field. He was also known for his powerful shot, which often found its way into the back of the net.
During his time at Watford, Holton helped lead the team to promotion from Division Four to Division Three in the 1958-59 season.
His performances were so impressive that he earned himself a place in the England national team, where he scored two goals in three appearances.
Although he only spent four seasons at Watford, Holton is still remembered as one of their greatest-ever players and a true legend of the club.
Our exploration of the Top 10 Greatest Watford Players of All Time. The Watford Legends – has been nothing short of a remarkable journey through the annals of football excellence.
Each player on this illustrious list has carved their name into the club’s history with unparalleled skill, dedication, and passion for the game.
From the goal-scoring prowess of legendary strikers to the unyielding defensive fortitude of iconic defenders. These Watford Legends have left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans and the sport itself.
Their performances on the pitch have brought glory and success to the club and inspired generations of aspiring footballers.
We celebrate their exceptional careers and the unforgettable moments they have gifted us; it becomes evident that the spirit of these Watford Legends will forever echo through the hallowed grounds of Vicarage Road.
Their legacy is a guiding light for future players, reminding them of the heights that can be reached with talent, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the game.