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John Watt

John Watt 1985 86John Watt first made his mark on the game when signing as a professional for Watford. He made his debut for the Hornets when coming on as a substitute during a 2-2 League Division Two draw with Norwich City on 29th April 1972. The attendance at Carrow Road was 22,421. It proved to be his only First team appearance for the Vicarage Road club.

Leaving Watford in 1974-75, he signed for Isthmian League side Maidenhead United. After making 155 appearances for the Magpies, he joined fellow Isthmians Chesham United in 1978. From there he went to Oxford City, Hillingdon Borough and then Marlow.

John was signed from Marlow, where he’d spent just six weeks, by St Albans City manager John Butterfield towards the end of an unsuccessful battle against relegation in 1982-83. Nonetheless, he went onto be one of the most popular and inspirational captains to have represented the club.

He made his debut during a 2-1 win over Aveley at Clarence Park on 5th March 1983. It was one of 13 games in which he appeared that season, but only four were won as City slipped into Division Two of the Isthmian League.

Butterfield was joined by John Mitchell as joint manager for the early weeks of the 1983-84 season but, by the end of October, had moved on due to business reasons. Mitchell was now in sole control and formed a formidable partnership with John Watt, who had been appointed club captain at the start of the season.

With a side based on local players – such as Paul Mayles, Steve Oliver, Rob Smale, Gary Keen, Terry Benning and returning goalkeeper Mark Pearson – the Saints stormed to promotion at the first attempt. Mitchell’s side scored 100 league goals and picked up 96 points but were just pipped to the title by Basildon United. Midfielder Watt, born north of the border in Airdrie on 23rd November 1954, appeared in 51 games and scored six times.

St Albans City 1983-84

1983 84

Neil Dudman, Rob Smale, Mark Pearson, Dave Leonard, Terry Benning, Paul Marriott

Steve Oliver, Laurie Ryan, John Watt (Captain), Steve Pattison, Ray Tucker, Gary Keen

For City’s first season back in Division One of the Isthmian League, John, in addition to being captain, was also named as player/coach at Clarence Park.

 City looked to be on course for a second successive promotion in 1984-85 when a poor run early in spring saw the side slip to sixth in the table. John Watt celebrated his 100th game for the club with a 1-0 win over one of his former clubs, Maidenhead United, but it came after a run of one point from four games as City drifted out of the promotion picture. It was a successful season for him personally though, as he picked up the Player of the Year award and scored 14 times in 46 games, only Rob Smale outscored the midfielder.

1984 85 John Watt POY with Ken Hill 1

John Watt receives the 1984-85 Player of the Year award from the City president, and former Mayor of St Albans, Ken Hill.

Mitchell strengthened the side during the close season but the 1985-86 season kicked off with City out of three cups before a ball had been kicked in the league. City’s F.A. Cup exit, away to Woodford Town, saw Watt have a last-minute penalty saved – it was the only penalty that he failed to tuck away in the twelve that he took for the club.

City shrugged off those disappointments and by the turn of the year were second in the table to Wembley. The following month saw five players sent off when the two clubs met at Clarence Park and, in losing 1-0, the Saints promotion bid was in some doubt.

A run of seven wins and two draws put City strongly back in contention and John, with three goals in as many games, to go with scoring in four successive games earlier in the campaign, played his part to the full. Promotion was secured on the final day of the season when Steve Perrin scored four times during a 7-1 win at Lewes. Watt and Mark Pearson were ever present in all 51 games played during the season.

Watty scored on the opening day of the 1986-87 season as City defeated Hitchin Town 5-0 in the Herts Charity Cup. The season closed with John captaining the side to victory over Boreham Wood as the cup came back in the Saints possession for the first time in 15 years.

City celebrate winning the Herts Charity Cup at Broughinge Road

1986 87 HCCf a

Nigel Johnson, Mark Pearson, Rob Smale, John Lacy, Martin Gurney, Steve O’Neill, Steve Perrin

Terry Benning, John Watt, Allan Cockram, Noel Fletcher, Mark Biggins, Warren Kelly

St Albans spent most of the season in the lower reaches of the Premier Division but, as John Mitchell brought in more experienced players, a move to safety was achieved with City  finishing in 14th place. Pearson was again ever present with 57 appearances while Watty scored nine goals in 53 games.

At the close of the season, John Watt led a St Albans party for tournament in Alzey, West Germany. The Saints finished fourth after losing out in a play-off for third place.

John Watt scores penalty v Koszeg Hungary a

John Watt scores in a penalty shoot-out against Hungarian side Köszeg.

Mitch stood down as manager at the end of the season and John Watt, after scoring 46 times in 214 games, also moved on. Of Watty’s departure, assistant manager Ted Goldney said, “John’s departure is a great shame, his influence in and around the club was tremendous, particularly in the dressing room. I don’t think I have ever met another player with his kind of ability to get his team-mates going.”

John returned to Chesham United after leaving Clarence Park. He also had a spell with Slough Town and his two goals in 30 games for the Rebels included one against St Albans. He returned to his former club Maidenhead United as manager during the 1990s but had his time at York Road terminated in the summer of 1996.

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John Watt's playing record
Season Started. Used Sub. Goals Yellows Reds
Season 1982-83 13 0 1 0 0
Season 1983-84 50 1 6 0 0
Season 1984-85 46 0 14 0 0
Season 1985-86 51 0 16 0 0
Season 1986-87 52 1 9 0 0
Total 212 2 46 0 0
By season | In opening squad | Substituted in | Goals | Yellow cards | Red cards

John Watt's full debut
05.03.1983 at 15:00 Isthmian League Division 1 H Aveley 2 - 1

Latest opening squad appearances (max.10)John Watt started
30.04.1987 at 19:45 Herts Charity Cup / Final A Boreham Wood 2 - 1
28.04.1987 at 19:45 Isthmian League Premier H Worthing 2 - 1
25.04.1987 at 15:00 Isthmian League Premier A Tooting & Mitcham United 0 - 1
23.04.1987 at 19:45 Isthmian League Premier A Bognor Regis Town 0 - 2
21.04.1987 at 19:45 Isthmian League Premier H Croydon 0 - 0

Latest matches where player has scored one or more goals (max. 10)John Watt scored
28.02.1987 at 15:00 Isthmian League Premier A Carshalton Athletic 3 - 1
15.11.1986 at 15:00 Isthmian League Premier A Hayes 5 - 0
04.11.1986 at 19:45 Isthmian League Premier A Harrow Borough 3 - 1
01.11.1986 at 15:00 FA Trophy / 2nd Round Qualifying A Chesham United 3 - 0
28.10.1986 at 19:45 Herts Senior Cup / 1st Round H Hertford Town 4 - 6
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