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Gone but not forgotten:
Gary Fisken
Position: Midfielder
From: Watford FC Academy
Record: Played: 19(9) Scored: 1
To: Swansea City - free transfer - June 2004
Career stats: Soccerbase
See also: Past player profiles
He was: Not part of a memorable era

Considering the immense amount of time, energy and hard cash that goes into following a football team for year upon endless year, you'd rather hope that a fair percentage of it would embed itself in your grey matter. It's somehow depressing to think that when you get up early on a Saturday morning to catch a train to heaven-knows-where to watch ninety minutes of football before travelling home again, spending hours of precious leisure time and tens of precious pounds in the process, you do so for no long-term purpose whatsoever. Because you probably won't remember any of it.

So, it transpires that Gary Fisken started nineteen games for Watford. Nineteen. That's roughly, oh, ten or so more than I would've said, if you'd asked me five minutes ago. And I can't remember anything about any of them.

For the sake of fairness, it must be pointed out that this says considerably more about the context than the player himself, for he made the bulk of his appearances during the Luca Vialli season...and so much of that has, mercifully, blended into a indistinct grey blur. In fact, the emergence of Gary Fisken, along with one or two other promising youngsters, was very much the silver lining for that particular cloud, even if we've never really gained much from it in the long-term. But most of that campaign numbed the brain far too efficiently for specific memories.

Well, not entirely. I wasn't being entirely honest a moment ago, for I can clearly recall that solitary goal, a splendidly-realised lob to finish a flowing move at Walsall. That seemed to sum up Gary Fisken - or the potential Gary Fisken, to be more accurate - for he had the look of a bustler about him, yet his touch and vision always suggested that appearances might be deceptive, that he might be a bit more. It was still a matter of guesswork, mind, for some players need a little longer to stamp their personalities on the team and to reveal their true nature.

Unfortunately, he was never afforded that "little longer". Long-term injury intervened at a fairly vital moment, just as it seemed that he was about to become a permanent part of the first-team picture. When he returned, he was unable to force his way back in. Only four of those starting appearances were made in the last two years of his Watford career, and it's probably not unfair to suggest that there were sighs of relief from both parties when Kenny Jackett appeared with an offer of a fresh start. For all that there were serious suggestions that Gary Fisken might mature into a midfielder of real influence and style, it was increasingly obvious that it wasn't going to happen at Watford. Or, at the very least, that we couldn't afford to wait.

As so often, then, an unfinished story. It'll be interesting to keep an eye on its progress, assuming that there are Swansea fans with rather better memories than mine....