From: Gillingham - £450,000 - August 2005
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: A travelling target-man
As a consequence of the player haemorrhage at the end of the 2004-2005 season, the Golden Boys managed to find themselves without a recognised striker of any pedigree. As the close season wore on, many fans' nerves began jangling as defenders, more defenders and wingers were signed, with no striker on the horizon. Adie had a substantial amount of Helguson's transfer fee from Fulham to play with in the hunt for the elusive prize of a target man, yet every time a concrete rumour emerged of a possible signing he would be snatched away from under our very noses by more fashionable tractor-related football teams.
Finally, after the false start of signing a player who was not eligible to work in the UK, and having assured one forward berth to the on-loan Marlon King, on August 4th Adie broke the good news to us that another striker would be signing for us from a team in a league below ours.
So it was that Darius Henderson put pen to paper and signed for the Hornets, for the first fee in his six-year career spanning five clubs. He started out as a trainee at Reading in 1999, where he spent a good four and a half seasons, though never really getting the starting berth that he no doubt desired, as evidenced by his tally of a goal every six-and-a-bit games as a "supersub" at the Madejski stadium. A brief loan period at the Withdean Stadium during this time seemed equally fruitless and in January 2004 he was transferred to Gillingham for a "nominal" fee. (A previous nominal fee paid by Gillingham was a bag of training kit to sign Tony Cascarino - this time they were to pay a six-figure chunk of their subsequent fee from Watford).
Strangely, no sooner had Henderson signed for Gillingham than, it would appear, the club were trying to get rid of him. Having been given a few months to settle at Priestfield, former Hornet Andy Hessenthaler decided to give him a stint on loan to Swindon.
Here he was finally able to prove his mettle, Swindon's style obviously suited Darius and he managed to snag the equivalent of a goal in all but one of the games that he played. Unsurprisingly, he was brought back to Kent as soon as his loan period was up, but the departure of Hessie from the helm at Gillingham left Darius out of favour once again. In his thirty-three starts (and six sub appearances) at the White Horse club he hit the back of the net ten times.
Which brings us back to August 2005, when a young progressive manager in Hertfordshire found a tall striker to fit into his system, a striker who can seize on crosses coming in from the wings and either knock down or score himself. With his feet or his head.
A quick "Google" reveals that Darius can indeed score with his head, as he scored two with his head on his Swindon debut. His Watford debut was marked with another headed goal. Though early season form can be misleading, the partnership with Marlon King has resulted in a fine run of form and an early season reputation as a high scoring team. Of course, only time will tell if Darius has finally found the club for him.
Last updated: September 2005