"I'm going to ask Digweed for his gloves. I'll do the washing up in
them." That's what my friend Andy said as we waited outside the players'
entrance at London Road, Peterborough, ready to greet our heroes. It had
just been the scene of one of the great Watford nights; spirits were
high, but he still had it in for poor Perry Digweed. With good reason:
in short, Digweed was the most inadequate player I have ever seen in a
Watford shirt - and I've seen Devon White attempting an overhead kick.
How Digweed managed to hold down a regular place in a Watford team
remains a mystery. Perhaps the ineptitude of Mssrs Sheppard and Suckling
bore some reasoning, but this isn't school football. It's not like you
have to pick him because he turns up to practices, his dad is hard, or
nobody else wants to go in goal - this is a professional football club.
And Digweed was to talent what El Fathead is to honesty and integrity.
The catalogue of Digweed's errors is huge. In that 1993-4 season,
Watford were very close to conceding the highest number of goals in the
Football League. Who could forget Leicester away (4-4)? Derby home
(3-4)? Grimsby home (0-3)? Perry rarely made spectacular David James-
style blunders, but he had slower reactions than my grandfather
(deceased), and his competence in marshalling the defence reminded me of
Mrs Cook, a particularly control-less French teacher. When everything
seemed to boil down to that fantastic game at Peterborough, with the
whole relegation issue seeming to hinge on the outcome, Digweed was the
man for the occasion... for Peterborough. Lavin, Drysdale, Page,
Dublin, Millen, Hessenthaler, Ramage, Furlong, Porter, Mooney, Johnson
and Bailey were heroes, putting everything in to secure the 4-3 victory,
setting the ball rolling for Division One survival. Sure, Digweed put
the effort in, but he was still directly responsible for two goals from
a pathetic Peterborough team.
His 'big hair' hairstyle added to the cult of anti-hero that surrounded
Digweed. "Clap Your Hands, Stamp Your Feet" (when it was good) referred to
him simply as 'the bouffant'. A boy at my school relentlessly had the
piss taken out of him because his hair resembled that of Digweed.
The season after that Peterborough spectacle, Perry Digweed played three
times for the Hornets and conceded twelve goals. Kevin Miller played in the
rest and Watford finished seventh in Division One. Draw your own