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Ex-Watford right-back chooses the three defining moments from his playing days at The Vic

Defining Moments | Nigel Gibbs

MY DEBUT

I think my first one has to be my debut for the club against Sparta Prague in the UEFA Cup. I think this is a big moment for any player playing at any club, but it was extra special for me because I’d supported Watford since the age of 12.

As with plenty of boys, it was always my dream to be a professional footballer and that was a massive achievement for me, especially coming so early. I got told I’d be playing on the morning of the game and I vividly remember spending the whole day feeling sick!

The whole occasion was incredibly nerve-racking and I only really began to relax once the game kicked off. Even though we lost the game, it was an incredibly special feeling and one I’ll always remember. 

BEATING ARSENAL IN THE FA CUP

I think another one has to be the FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal at Highbury in 1987. Arsenal had a really good team at the time with the likes of Tony Adams and David Rocastle and we were naturally going in as massive underdogs.

We ended up winning 3-1 and when I look back on it, it was one of the best team performances I was part of during my time at the club. I played at right-back and one of my most vivid memories is David Bardsley tearing Kenny Sansom to pieces throughout the game. He was unstoppable that day.

The deciding goal was also a bit of a weird one because the whole Arsenal team stopped as they thought they should have had a penalty and Luther went up the other end and scored.

The away support that day was also amazing and it has to go down as one of my most satisfying wins. 

BEATING LUTON 4-0

As a Watford fan, the 4-0 win over Luton at Kenilworth Road has to make it. This game always had an extra bit of spice to it and it was also a superb team performance. It was one of those days when everything went right for us and we blew them away in the opening 45 minutes.

As much as the game though, I remember Graham Taylor’s half-time team-talk. We were 4-0 up but he didn’t let any of us sit down and made us do another warm-up before going back onto the pitch, as he didn’t want us to get complacent! It’s certainly something I’d never had before and never seen since.

Anyway, it worked and we came out 4-0 winners so that was a special win for me. We hadn’t beaten them in a while either, so to get that sort of win at their ground was a superb result. 

Article first published in The Hornet (Watford FC match programme)

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