Friday, May 25, 2018

Boothroyd is back – Hope the Colchester fans know what they’re getting!

Just a very short while ago Adrian Boothroyd was one of the hottest young managers around. His remarkable success in a short time at my beloved Watford made him a most sought after boss.

Sadly for Boothroyd it all went wrong almost as fast as it all went right and he has been unemployed since November last year when he was sacked by Watford.


Now Aidy is back in the game having taken on the job at League One Colchester United. They have made a decent start to the season with nine points from their five games but were hit by the loss of manager Paul Lambert to Norwich City and were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint trophy the other day by League One strugglers Gillingham.

Few managers can have had a more dramatic start to their managerial career. After retiring from the game at the age of twenty-six through injury Boothroyd worked as a youth team coach at Peterborough, West Brom and Norwich, before progressing to the position of first team coach at Leeds.


In March 2005, at the age of just thirty-four, Boothroyd was appointed manager of Championship Watford. Like most Watford fans I was terribly disappointed by this appointment and regarded it as nothing more than a cheap option for a club that was certain to be relegated.

However, in his few games in charge that season he took a team who had been incapable of winning a game and gathered enough points to help Watford avoid the drop.


At the start of the 2005-06 season Boothroyd told anyone who bothered to listen that he aimed to take Watford to promotion to the Premier League. Like everyone else, I just assumed that he was certifiably mad.

Unbelievably, Boothroyd led us to the end of season play-offs and victories against Crystal Palace and Leeds took the club to the promised land of the Premier League and established Boothroyd as a great young manager.


At that stage it looked as though Watford had found their own ‘special one’ and that he could do no wrong. The fans realised that Watford had been playing a very direct type of game and that it may not be ideal for the purists but the results justified the means.

Unfortunately, Watford struggled in the Premier League and with one or two notable exceptions their results were poor. Premier League teams had no trouble dealing with Watford’s somewhat one dimensional style and it started to become apparent that Boothroyd had no ‘plan B’. Despite relegation, Boothroyd led the team to the FA Cup semi-final.


After finishing bottom Watford started the next season well back in the Championship. After twelve games they found themselves nine points clear at the top and once again Boothroyd was being hailed as a genius. The only people who were not so sure were the Watford fans. Whilst he will always be a hero at the club for what he achieved in his first season and a bit, the style of play was beginning to get people down. Fans began to refer to the boss as Aidy Hoofroyd as his only tactic seemed to be to whack the ball forward and chase it.

Once the Championship sides realised that Watford had nothing else they started to deal with their style as comfortably as the Premier League sides had. Despite only getting one win in the last fourteen games Watford clung on to a play-off spot but were humiliated by Hull City in the semi-final.


Many people expected Boothroyd to go that Summer but he stayed on. A poor start to the following season saw him leave in November. After his great start at Watford he ended with just twelve wins in his last forty-eight games in charge. That was a sad way to go.

There is no doubt that Aidy Boothroyd has a lot to offer and I am really pleased to see him back in the game. I just hope he has worked out a ‘plan B’ because if he hasn’t, the good folk of Colchester will have to quickly get used to seeing the ball in the air!


Graham Fisher



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