One night in Millwall
After Troy Deeney hits his 99th Watford goal, we take a look at a pivotal moment in his Watford career.
31st January 2012. Watford are about to play Millwall on transfer deadline day, and back in those days, transfer windows were the opportunity for Watford to sell off their top stars to stay afloat.
Marvin Sordell had started the season well, with ten goals so far in all competitions during the 2011/12 season, and there was interest from a host of clubs. Then owner Laurence Bassini was offering players to clubs left right and centre to try to get a bit of cash in the bank and pulled Sordell from Sean Dyche’s Watford squad that night.
Watford were struggling regarding goals that season and after their top scorer was pulled from the squad they were left to play Joe Garner, who hadn't scored all season since his move from Nottingham Forest alongside Troy Deeney, who had scored four times since his 500k move from Walsall in the summer of 2010.
There was a lot of pressure on Troy Deeney after an Elton John fundraising concert had paid for his transfer to Vicarage Road and so far he hadn't delivered. He was stuck behind Danny Graham and Marvin Sordell amongst others in the pecking order at Watford, and it wasn't until Bassini’s decision to pull Sordell from the squad that night that Deeney hit his stride.
Both Deeney and Garner scored for Watford that night, in a 2-0 win for the Hornets but it was Deeney who went onto great things at Watford. He scored nine goals in the final 17 games of the 2011/12 season, including the goal of the season vs. Ipswich Town, which is remarkably similar to his recent goal at the London Stadium in a 4-2 win over West Ham.
If it wasn’t for Marvin Sordell’s transfer that night then who knows what would’ve happened to Troy Deeney. He wouldn’t have got his chance to play in his best position and score the goals that made him Watford’s top scorer that season, and when he was sentenced to 10 months in prison in June of that year, new owners may have simply cancelled the contract.
Before that night in Millwall, Deeney had made 69 appearances for Watford, scoring a total of 5 goals. But since he step foot at The Den that cold January evening, he has pulled on the yellow of Watford a total of 181 times, scoring 94 times, scored the goal that was subject of the greatest counter attack of all time, led Watford to promotion, scored at Wembley in a FA Cup semi-final and been the subject of transfer offers of upwards of £25million.
He has already cemented his place as a Watford legend but if he scores his 100th goal in Watford’s next game, away to Swansea on 22nd October, he will be just the 5th Watford player to do so, with Luther Blissett, Tommy Barnett, Ross Jenkins and Cliff Holton currently being the only players to do so for Watford.
And what became of Marvin Sordell? After a failed move to Bolton Wanderers, he has had spells with Charlton, Burnley and Colchester United and is currently trying to reignite his career at the Ricoh Arena with Coventry City.