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Gone but not forgotten:
Bruce Dyer
Position: Striker
From: Barnsley - free transfer - July 2003
Record (03-05): Played: 46(32) Scored: 14
Record (total): Played: 82(34) Scored: 23
To: Stoke City - free transfer - June 2005
Career stats: Soccerbase
See also: Past player profiles
He was: Surplus to requirements

Interesting one, this.

The release of Bruce Dyer has been one of the less controversial events of the summer of 2005, merely mentioned as one of a surprisingly large list of releases that came at the end of the season. It wasn't unexpected: even though Danny Webber and Heidar Helguson were heading out the door, Adrian Boothroyd had already been noted as one to value youth Bruce turned thirty in April and verve over solidity. Bruce Dyer, you imagine, was just not his sort of player. Mind you, as a senior player (and thus a largish pay packet) without a regular starting place, you can see how inevitable his departure actually was.

Bruce's return to Watford came in the summer of 2003, the first member of Watford's new-look (and cheaper) forward line. Somewhat overlooked after the surprise arrival of Danny Webber, he was, nevertheless, a welcome addition to our squad. He was a typical Lewington signing: pragmatic, cheap and experienced, and a healthy, if not spectacular, goals record boded well for his second spell at Vicarage Road, as did a high-scoring pre-season.

It did not turn out so well, however. A training ground injury, which Bruce apparently thought not worth mentioning to the physios, meant a quick curtailment to his pre-season form. Slow and awkward, his confidence tumbled; no doubt he was not helped by the dark mood that caused the disastrous form of early 2003/04.

By while others recovered, Bruce did not. Out of the side by October, he became the boo-boy of the moronic section of Watford's support. His starts were infrequent only four from October until April when, finally, he got a run in the side, netting two goals in the process and showing signs of a return to form.

This continued into 2004/05. Whilst still not given a regular starting position, he did well coming off the bench and slotted into the side when necessary. Not a conventional target man, he nonetheless brought coherence to the forward play, often laying off balls for other players rather than choosing to turn and shoot himself.

His eleven goals - a superb total considering the number of starts he was given - were scored mostly in purple patches in autumn and spring when he had to deputise for the injured Webber and Helguson respectively, and were a vital and massively overlooked contribution to Watford's survival.

And now he's gone, the first of Betty's summer clear-out.

Adrian Boothroyd clearly has a specific way of doing things. He likes a certain style of player, of staff, of play. And that's not necessarily a bad thing hell, it could do wonders - but I fail to see the logic in letting Bruce Dyer go. He may not be fashionable, or lightning-quick, or whatever, as his replacements are. Players with flair, flamboyance but also with that element of risk. He was dependable, able to come into a forward line and bring cohesion where there was previously mess. Pop a goal in here and there.

I find it difficult to imagine that a squad like ours doesn't require a player like that.

Mike Peter