Position: Left back
From: Elche, Spain - free transfer - December 1998
Record: Played: 8(2) Scored: 0
To: Retired, due to injury - March 2000
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: The least patient player ever
Well, it was certainly never dull. Matt Rowson's description of Ben Iroha as "the least patient
player ever" is still the most accurate summary of his short-lived Watford career.
During his lengthy, and ultimately terminal, injury lay-off, many fans have prayed for his return as a
steadying influence on the left. Which only goes to show that people have short memories - the idea that
Ben Iroha could be a steadying influence on anything is ludicrous. He was great precisely because he was
so clearly incapable of getting his head down and just doing a job. Think of him as the anti-Gibbs, and you won't
be far wrong.
He came within inches of scoring a fine own goal with a diving header in the first few minutes of his debut. He
simply thundered past Sol Campbell in the opening seconds of an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane, causing complete
mayhem which ended with Richard Johnson scoring and delirious celebration. He was given a traditional welcome
by members of his Nigerian tribe before one home game, and proceeded to play like a small kid trying to impress
his parents. He kicked thin air when offered a great opportunity to score a last minute equaliser at Ipswich, which
would've completed a miraculous comeback from three-nil down. When Ben Iroha's name was on the teamsheet, you had
no idea what you were going to get...and neither did the opposition.
The sad irony, of course, is that the least patient player ever was forced to sit out the final months of his
career in the stands. Even then, the injury was appropriately bizarre - he was plagued by bunions. However, any initial
comedy value rapidly disappeared as time passed and still he was sidelined. Fate played one last cruel trick - eventually
bunion-free, complications from a routine operation finally forced him into retirement.
Rarely has a player made only ten appearances for the Hornets and been so memorable for so many reasons. Logically,
we didn't see enough of Ben Iroha to miss him...but we'll miss him anyway....