From the Summer of 1987 to the Summer of 1997, many crap Watford managers
went out and bought many, many crap players. Just look through your old
programmes. There are literally hundreds of 'em. But Richard Flash was
going to be different. Okay, so he only ever played for Wolves reserves. And
yes, we got him on a free. But look at his credentials - GT recommended him
to Kenny Jackett, and erm, he had an excellent name. How could he fail?
Watford had been relegated to Division Two but we'd kept the side together
and we had two new signings - Flash and Steve Talboys. We were going to
storm this division. Or not.
Our first season back in Division Two started and, after the exciting and
brilliant Taylor/Jackett/Blissett period at the end of the previous season
which almost saw us do the impossible and stay up in Division One, this was
bad. This was just so bad. But it was going to get better, I mean,
we still hadn't seen the sheer brilliance of Richard Flash.
And so the months passed, and Richard Flash was, well, anonymous. Injury
crisis followed injury crisis. Young players were drafted into the first
team. Clint Easton, Gifton Noel-Williams and even Steve Bloody Talboys got
games but not Richard Flash. As Spring approached and Richard Flash was
still nowhere to be seen, this optimistic fan started to think that perhaps
this Richard Flash wasn't quite as good as he'd have hoped. Never mind -
where there's life there's hope and, assuming Richard Flash was actually a
living breathing human being rather than a tax fiddle, he still may get into the
first team and prove to us all what a star he was.
The last game of a disappointing season came and there he was - Richard
Flash. He may have only been on the subs bench but there he was, he'd
finally made it into the first team. At some point in the game (I can't
remember when) he came on. And he looked.... average. I don't remember him
doing anything bad, but I don't remember him doing anything good either. In
fact I don't remember him doing anything at all. This isn't a totally Bad
Thing as I remember many, many things that players such as Roger Willis,
Trevor Senior, Devon White, Paul Franklin, Mark Watson, etc., have done for
the Golden Boys.
For the next season Graham Taylor took charge of the team and, if anyone was
going to get the best out of the boy Flash, it was going to be him. Just as
in the previous season, Richard Flash was AWOL from the team. But unlike the
previous season he didn't get a game. Not one. Not even from the subs
Richard Flash was released by the club that summer with the record of:
Seasons - 2; Appearances - 1; Goals - 0. Where he went to nobody knows and
At the start of this article I was talking about all the crap players
Watford had in the '87 to '97 era. If you were to compile a squad of 22
players for a Watford's Worst '87-'97 squad, Richard Flash would not be in
it. And 44 players? You'd still be hard pressed to find a place for our
Richard. Why? Well, you see all the players in those four elevens you've got?
They've all got one thing in common, haven't they? Yes, they've all played
games for Watford (note the plural). They've all had several
opportunities to prove just how bad they were. They've been memorable
because of their crapness, not because they made one substitute appearance in
two full seasons. Although, unlike Richard, all those players have also had
something, enough that the Watford manager at the time has thought "That lad
deserves another chance."
It is very unlikely that Richard Flash is still playing football somewhere.
When a manager has the choice of playing you or playing Steve Talboys and he
chooses Steve Talboys, it really is time to choose another career.