Position: Creative midfielder
From: Derby County - stlg 90,000 - February 1994
Record: Played: 113(6) Scored: 29
To: Bradford City - free transfer - May 1997
Career stats: Soccerbase
See also: Tributes (for a bit of balance)
He was: A brain-dead genius
Probably the most talented player to pull on a Watford shirt this decade, it's
no coincidence that Craig Ramage is also the player who arouses the fiercest
debate among Hornets fans.
When he arrived from Derby for a miniscule fee, we gasped at Glenn Roeder's ability
to prize valuable players away from their clubs without spending any money. Ramage's
first full season was almost entirely glorious. He had the skill and vision to single-handedly
control the attacking side of the team and he did so, conjuring up moments of
magic at every opportunity. The sight of Rams, always far more eager to show off than
to become part of the team, swerving and swaying his way past opposition tackles or
sweeping outrageous passes around the field to set our attacks moving was utterly
memorable. He wasn't a luxury player, he was one of the main reasons why we finished
And then it all went horribly wrong. The warnings of impending doom from Derby fan Karen
Sherlock turned out to be true as Ramage returned from his summer hols as an
overweight, mardy git. He fell out with Glenn Roeder and proceeded to prance
his way through most of the season, contributing precious little as we slid down
the table. Just as the memory of his first season will linger long, so will the
thought of the nightmare midfield of Ramage and Caskey, two arrogant posers farting
about on high wages.
The arrival of Graham Taylor brought a brief renaissance, including a fine hat-trick in
the 6-3 thumping of Grimsby, but it didn't take long for things to deteriorate. Although injury (self-inflicted as it
happens - he hurt himself diving pathetically for a free kick) disrupted Ramage's last season at Watford, there were few signs that he was consistently willing to
play for Kenny Jackett. He ended his penultimate Watford game by getting himself sent off
for two stupid, petulant fouls.
I'll admit that I despise Craig Ramage - ironically, that's
mainly because I admire him as a footballer so much. Somewhere along the line, he
fell so in love with the idea of being a playboy footballer that he forgot that you've got to be a footballer first; somehow,
the Ramage that glides arrogantly around tackles is also the Ramage that would rather
dive for a free kick than bother to glide arrogantly around tackles.
I've said it before - when he's about 35, Craig Ramage will look back on his
career and realise that he's blown it. He's a Premiership-quality player, yet
he'll be lucky if he gets a contract with a Second Division club.
What a f***ing waste.