Defining Moments | Tommy Smith
SCORING AGAINST QPR
A lot of people will probably remember their debut or a debut goal, but a defining moment in my early Watford career was scoring against QPR at Loftus Road in the second half of the 1998/99 season. I’d made my debut the previous year but that was actually one of my first appearances that season under Graham Taylor, and I came off the bench to score in front of the Watford fans.
We were in a good run of form at the time and I think I was only 17, but I came on with about 20 minutes to go when it was 1-1 and managed to score with my first touch. It was just such a special moment and a massive step for me in terms of my whole career.
I think it really catapulted me from being a reserve player into the first-team fold and I was involved for the rest of the season. I’ve still got the cut-outs from the newspapers after I scored and it was a massive step for me both at Watford and in my career as a whole.
RE-SIGNING UNDER AIDY BOOTHROYD
I think I left the first time under a little bit of a cloud and I don’t think many people understood why I’d left. It was such a shame because it was a club I’d come through the system with and enjoyed so many good moments with, but my career with Watford just sort of ebbed away.
So it was great for me to get the opportunity to re-sign early on in the 2006/07 season, and when Aidy Boothroyd called I knew straight away it was the right thing to do. I was on the verge of signing for Sheffield United, but it was an 11th-hour call from Boothroyd and the chance to come back and prove myself was too good an opportunity to turn down.
All my friends and family are Watford fans and I just wasn’t happy with the way things had ended previously. I knew this was the right move for me at the right time and I made the decision in about five minutes! It ended up being a great decision and I’m really pleased with how things worked out the second time around.
WINNING PLAYER OF THE SEASON TWO YEARS IN A ROW
Football is a team game and I was always about working hard for the team and helping us to win games no matter what, but to get recognition individually amongst all that was really big for me. To be able to do that in back-to-back years was even more special.
Football is hard work and you put a lot of time and effort into it. It can be quite draining both physically and mentally, so to get that appreciation back from the fans is so rewarding. To win it the first time in 2008/09 was a massive honour, but to win it two years in a row is something I’ll look back on with massive pride.
In your career, there aren’t too many individual moments you remember, it’s more team achievements, but that’s certainly something I will always look back on with fondness.