Position: Left winger
From: Notts County - £130,000 - July 1997
Record: Played: 127(7) Scored: 22
To: Wigan Athletic - £150,000 - July 2001
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: The anti-Bazeley
Think of Darren Bazeley. Remember how his game was based on percentages, how every
dozen crosses might just happen to include one that didn't endanger the fans behind the goal, hit the first
defender, or float pointlessly into the keeper's arms. And how his massive ambition might yield a "goal of the
season" to disguise all the failed attempts.
Now, think of Peter Kennedy. Or, more particularly, think of Peter Kennedy in his first two seasons at Vicarage
Road, after he'd been rescued by GT from the reserves of a Third Division-bound Notts County. It was all about
end product. It only took one perfect cross, one sublime free kick, or one screaming shot to turn a match
that he'd apparently played only a minor role in. He was anonymous for great stretches of games. And, arguably, he
won us more points during the two promotion campaigns than anyone else.
At the start, he was sensational. His enthusiastic willingness to attack defenders evaporated quickly, yet it
was thrilling while it lasted. And there were staggering high-points - two delirious goals in as many
minutes at Kenilworth Road to seal one of the most famous victories of recent years, a quite sublime hat-trick
at Roots Hall.
He didn't ever recreate that form. Nevertheless, the frustrated criticism from some quarters was misplaced. A
quick run through any of the highlights videos from those two seasons will reveal the truth. It's almost
monotonous. Kennedy crosses, somebody scores. Kennedy shoots and scores. Kennedy crosses, somebody scores. Kennedy
crosses, somebody scores. Somebody crosses, Kennedy heads in at the far post. Kennedy crosses, somebody scores....
Certainly, he was no longer a particularly effective player when given possession in deep positions. When
offered the chance to sling a ball into the box, however, he instantly justified his selection. Fast,
accurate, devastating crosses. A striker's dream, a defender's nightmare. And that talent disguised other qualities,
notably a surprising aerial presence for such a small player.
There it ends, though. Brief indications that the Premiership might suit him, followed by injury, complete loss
of form, lack of fitness, injury again, disinterest, sale to Wigan. If there's no bitterness - or, frankly, any
great interest - surrounding his departure, that's mainly because we effectively lost Peter Kennedy about
eighteen months ago. And it was a loss. If you've got a short memory, watch those videos.
A few days before his transfer to Wigan was completed, a friend saw Peter Kennedy in Cassiobury Park. He was
running around in circles - trying to get fit, presumably, and also providing a handy image with which to describe
the latter part of his Watford career. Even more appropriately, my friend was there for an organised "ghost
walk". While Peter Kennedy might not have been as ghastly and ghoulish as some of those in the park that day,
he already belonged to the ghostly ranks of Watford players past.