Duncan Welbourne: Club Legend Passes Away

Watford Football Club are deeply saddened to learn that club legend Duncan Welbourne passed away this morning, aged 78.

Our thoughts are with Duncan's family and friends at this difficult time.

Duncan Welbourne (1940 - 2019)

Appearances: 457
Goals: 25

Only Luther Blissett has made more league appearances than Duncan Welbourne's 411 for Watford

Duncan’s association with Watford Football Club started in November of 1963, when he was signed from Grimsby by Bill McGarry for the sum of £1,300.

During his debut season at Vicarage Road, the Hornets missed out on promotion from Division 3 after they finished two points behind Crystal Palace. Duncan had made an immediate impact though and his presence was missed during the final run-in, as an ankle injury forced him to miss the crucial last seven games of the campaign. 

Throughout his time at Vicarage Road he was known as a tough-tackling wing-back or full-back and he achieved a fantastic accomplishment by playing in 280 consecutive league games, breaking a 35-year-old club record.

Duncan Welbourne pictured with Sir Elton John, who became Watford chairman in 1976

Considering his reputation as a tough-tackling, all action player, who always gave 100 per cent, the record is perhaps even more impressive. “It’s the only way I know how to play the game,” he explained in Oliver Phillips’ The Golden Boys book.   

He went into his consecutive run a wing-half and came out an established full-back - under the guidance of manager Ken Furphy, who took over in March 1964.  

Born in Scunthorpe, Duncan actually signed for neighbours Grimsby, aged 16, from under the noses of Scunthorpe, while then Second Division Liverpool were sniffing around the youngster, but they were eventually too late as he signed for the Mariners.

Welbourne was inducted into Watford's Hall of Fame in 2011

His time at Watford wasn’t just restricted to wide areas, in fact Duncan believes he played in at least eight positions for the Hornets. So, he occupied unaccustomed places in the team – including centre forward – and in total over his 11 seasons he netted 25 goals.

Duncan was part of the Hornets’ Division 3 promotion-winning side in 1968/69, playing in 52 fixtures in all competitions that season, and he also appeared in the club’s first-ever FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at White Hart Lane in 1970.

His 457 Watford matches rank him behind only Luther Blissett (503), Nigel Gibbs (491) and Gary Porter (472) in the club's all-time appearances list, and having served at Vicarage Road from 1963 through to 1974, Welbourne was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame at the 2010/11 End of Season Awards.

Rest in peace, Duncan.

Ladies 14/01/2019

Ladies Report: Cardiff City 1-0 Watford

By Chris Smith

It wasn’t the return to league action that Watford FC Ladies would have wanted as Cardiff City Ladies won a tight encounter 1-0 at the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence.

The Golden Girls enjoyed good periods of possession in the first half, but chances were at a premium. Cori Williams’ penalty after 20 minutes gave the hosts a one goal lead at the break.

A red card for Georgie Edwards midway through the second half saw Watford at a numerical disadvantage. It was one that couldn’t be overcome as a stubborn and solid Cardiff defence held firm and prevented the Hornets from taking any points home from South Wales.

Head Coach Armand Kavaja made two changes to the side that was victorious at Middlesbrough last time out. Laura Baker came in at left back in place of Kat Huggins, while there was one personnel change to the front four as Leanne Bell replaced Andrea Carid.

Watford began well and were on top of proceedings but were struggling to test Laura O’Sullivan in the Cardiff goal.

Alysha Stojko-Down showed some lovely footwork to create an opening but she couldn’t get her effort on target.

In the 19th minute, Cardiff were awarded a penalty. The tussle between Edwards and Grace Horrell began outside the box with both at it, but the contact continued inside the box and the referee deemed that the Watford defender had brought her down.

Williams stepped up to take it and she wasn’t put off by Weronika Baranowska, slotting it to the keeper’s right and putting her side in front.

Cardiff then had a glorious chance to double the lead, but Kavaja’s side were let off as Horrell shot wide from a great position.

The best chance of the half for Watford fell to Katie O’Leary after a good interchange between herself and Helen Ward. She got plenty on the strike, but O’Sullivan made a fine save to preserve the hosts’ lead at the interval.

It really should have been 2-0 early in the second half but Baranowska came up with a fantastic save. Williams was unmarked inside the six-yard box and got good contact on her header, but the Watford keeper managed to keep it out from point-blank range.

That fine stop could have been a key moment as the Golden Girls created openings down the other end shortly after. Bell’s cross came back off the bar, then Ward’s deflected effort hit the side-netting, and from the resulting corner Stojko-Down forced O’Sullivan into action but she held onto it well.

O’Sullivan then had to make her best save of the game just after the hour mark. Ward played O’Leary in and she tried to place it through the Cardiff keeper’s legs, but she managed to keep it out.

In the 67th minute of the game, Edwards was shown her second yellow card of the half. The Watford defender was trying to prevent an opportunity for Kylie Nolan, but she narrowly missed getting contact on the ball and the referee was left with no choice.

Nadia Lawrence got the resulting free-kick on target but Baranowska held it. There was now a little over 20 minutes to play to try and find an equaliser with a player down.

That could have arrived when a teasing near post cross from Ward was played towards Adekite Fatuga-Dada, however O’Sullivan just managed to get their first. Chances were proving hard to come by and O’Sullivan was only really called upon to make a save once more when Hattie Kettle had a shot from distance in the final minute of the 90.

It wasn’t to be for Watford as Cardiff held on to secure all three points. The Hornets will go again next Sunday as they travel to Plymouth Argyle Ladies.

GOLDEN GIRLS | Baranowska, Hallsworth, Edwards, Hill, Baker (Kettle, 70), Scanlon (Afuakwah, 86), Stojko-Down, Fatuga-Dada, Ward ©, Bell, O’Leary (Carid, 64)

BLUEBIRDS | O'Sullivan, Greenway, Guard, Nolan, Isaac (Rogers, 59), Emma Jones (Miles, 64), Williams, Horrell (Simpson, 90+1), Cerys Jones, Lawrence, Davies

Goal | Williams (20 – PEN)

Attendance | 175