Jack Bonham become the eighth academy graduate of the season to play for the first-team during yesterday’s 2-1 defeat by Leeds United
AMONGST the disappointment of Saturday’s promotion-dashing defeat by Leeds United was an event which went largely unreported during the drama of it all.
With goalkeeper Jonathan Bond replaced after 24 minutes due to a serious collision with teammate Ikechi Anya after Dominic Poleon’s shove on the diminutive winger, homegrown goalkeeper Jack Bonham made his Watford bow.
In playing for the first team in the league for the first time, Bonham becomes the eighth homegrown player to take the field for Watford during the course of the npower Championship season.
That figure would be at nine if we were counting all competitions, with Ross Jenkins appearing in the Capital One Cup for Gianfranco Zola’s side.
During a season which has seen Watford attacked from all sides due to the well-publicised loan ‘policy’, it’s no surprise that the number of homegrown players we have used has gone unreported.
It just doesn’t fit the media-driven narrative that the nationals want to push.
Of course, that doesn’t extend to our our Frank Smith at the Watford Observer, who recently wrote a very balanced piece in the paper along similar lines to this.
But, if you aren’t a Hornet’s supporter or resident of Watford, you won’t have read Frank’s piece of course.
Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about the whole thing is that during the course of the season, the club have awarded new long-term contracts to Connor Smith, Tommie Hoban, Sean Murray and Britt Assombalonga – four of the brightest homegrown talents to have progressed into the first-team over the last couple of seasons.
So where, out of interest, does that put Watford compared to their Championship rivals?
After counting up all the players in the division to have made a league appearance – be it as a substitute or starter – for the clubs they came through the academy of this season, Watford still come out second.
Only Middlesbrough with an abnormally – but laudably high – 12 homegrown players, have had more homegrown players play in the league for the first-team this season.
Below is the full rundown –
Some achievement for a club which is ‘all that is wrong with the English game’!