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Gone but not forgotten:
Carl Fletcher
Position: Central midfielder
From: West Ham United - on loan - September 2005
Record: Played: 3(0) Scored: 0
To: West Ham United - end of loan - October 2005
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: A bit shouty

I like cheese. I like some other things more, but not very many. Cheese is excellent. Lately, however, there's been an alarming trend involving shoving bits of fruit into the cheese in order to create something unusual for the dinner party table, as if encountering a squashed somethingberry wedged into your Camembert is somehow going to enhance the experience. Future generations will pour scorn upon this idea. I'm pouring scorn on it now.

I'm not about to pour scorn on Carl Fletcher...and wouldn't even if it were merited, for reasons that will be outlined below. Nonetheless, his three games in a Watford shirt, filling in for a while during the absence of Gavin Mahon, did offer a glimpse of a similarly unusual and potentially foolish combination to the whole cheese-fruit nonsense. It didn't quite work, somehow. You wouldn't necessarily write it off as a piece of complete tomfoolery, scrape it into the bin, and cut yourself a lovely slice of unsullied Stilton...but you probably wouldn't go back for seconds either.

On one level, Carl Fletcher is a pretty unspectacular footballer. That's not intended to be a derogatory description: I like unspectacular footballers, and at least one of that type would probably make it into my all-time Watford eleven. It goes without saying that it wouldn't be Fletcher; still, he did well enough, in a win-it-and-play-it-simple kinda way. The mini-career at Vicarage Road peaked with an impressive debut, winning justified plaudits for a very steady, competent performance against Sheffield United, and rather tailed off thereafter, characterised by a quiet but adequate blandness. He didn't do much wrong. He didn't really catch the eye either.

Thing is, the solid, rather grey displays were accompanied by an awful lot of fuss and bother and swearing and shouting. Despite his rather pedestrian to-ing and fro-ing, you wouldn't really want to pick an argument with Carl Fletcher...and even if you didn't, that argument still might pick you anyway. He was booked on two of his three outings, and you wouldn't really say that the bookings calmed his approach very much. He was hardly a shrinking violet in the other game...although none of us were particularly level-headed in the closing stages of that sour, unpleasant encounter with Warnock's shower.

Despite being a curious combination, it didn't amount to very much, in the end. More football and less aggro would've been ideal, really. Whisper it, but Dominic Blizzard gets more work done, with much less accompanying kerfuffle....