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Gone but not forgotten:
Matt Langston
Position: Central defender
From: Youth team
Record: Played: 0 Scored: 0
To: ??? - Free transfer - February 2003
He was: Overlooked

Matt Langston was the last player that came to Watford on the recommendation of the late Dick East. Having grown up in Sussex, Langston joined Watford in his mid-teens on the strength of a glowing recommendation from East. Aged just fifteen, he featured in the then Under-18s side, dominating the defence alongside Darren Ward who was a couple of years older, rarely looking out of his depth in a side that also featured Tommy Smith and his fellow Sussex-born players, the Johnson brothers.

Matt progressed into the reserve team and excelled in the higher standard, as despite occasional positioning problems, he was a decisive ball winner and a promising presence at attacking set pieces. But with the unbreakable Page and Palmer combination throughout the Division One promotion season, and the introduction of Mark Williams and a much-improved Darren Ward in the Premiership year, chances to move into the senior squad were limited. Even during Taylor's last year in charge - and the horrific spiral down the league - Page, Palmer and Ward were largely unchallenged in their defensive roles, as Langston fell victim to the first set of niggling injuries that were to play such a predominant part in his last seasons at Watford.

Perhaps a new manager in Luca Vialli would promote Langston as he did Doyley, McNamee, Fisken and Hand. Page, Palmer and Ward had left, Vega was out of favour, Galli often became injured, and the less said about Issa the better. This was his chance. Alas, another knee / ankle injury prevented the long overdue promotion to the first team, and Ifil - although yet to make his debut - took the place on the bench, when such a place was open to a defender.

In his final season, Langston finally made a senior appearance, but for Aldershot Town. The Shots seem to fill a significant amount of their team with free-agent experience, with Karl Reddy and Ronnie Mauge amongst others involved on a short term basis for the Ryman Premier club. But despite scoring in an early game of his loan spell, he finished by being sent off and returned to Watford the next day. Meanwhile the reserves that Matt so often captained are flying high in the Premier Reserve league. That is not luck, as the team is filled with talent, but I've no doubt that given Matt's ability, he could have made it at Watford. But the cruel injuries and financial problems across the game suggest that he will be hard pressed to make a living from the professional game.

Always a really pleasant individual, I am sure that there are many who will miss the generous personality of Matt Langston, and it is not inappropriate to say that there will be few who will not wish him a very good future indeed.

Good luck, Matt.

Pete Fincham