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Gone but not forgotten:
Johann Gudmundsson
Position: Midfielder
From: Keflavik, Iceland - £200,000 - March 1998
Record: Played: 8(18) Scored: 2
To: Keflavik, Iceland - free transfer - January 2001
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: Forlorn

Here lies
Johann Gudmundsson

He scored
two goals
on his debut,
you know.

Really, what else is there to write about? On his first appearance in a Watford shirt, Johann Gudmundsson twice ghosted into the Port Vale penalty area to score. In twenty-five subsequent appearances, he failed to do anything much at all.

Perhaps it's not quite as black-and-white as that. Reading my report on that Vale game, I was raising doubts even then - it was difficult to see how he could be integrated into the system we were playing, since he was forever drifting in from his wide position. Like Alon Hazan and Nick Wright, he seemed more likely to be happy in the Rosenthal role behind the front two...which, unfortunately, no longer existed.

That, essentially, was his problem. From the start, he didn't quite fit in anywhere. Although he didn't lack talent - when he asserted himself, he was capable of looking like a fairly nifty little player - he appeared completely unable to find a way of exploiting it. It would be unfair to judge him on some thoroughly dreadful performances, particularly bearing in mind that Nick Wright was equally capable of being rubbish on a bad day. More often, Gudmundsson was just nothingy.

He had plenty of opportunities to impress. Each time, he provided Graham Taylor with no compelling reason to keep trying. In the end, the manager took the hint. The Icelander was relegated to the reserves, and brought out only when injuries had reduced the available selections to a bare minimum. He became an increasingly forlorn figure, hitting rock bottom with a substitute appearance against Cheltenham in the Worthington Cup - he came on at half-time, ambled around pitifully for half an hour, and was unceremoniously recalled to the bench.

He was on his way. After a loan spell at Cambridge, it became a case of waiting for his contract to end. Out of sympathy for a player without prospects and with chronic homesickness, Graham Taylor released him back to his old club, with a fifty percent sell-on clause.

Those two goals seem a very long time ago.