Monday, 6 July 2015


Bond. It's a (Dr) No from Gino...

We are Premier League. 

Still sounds good doesn’t it? Since that memorable day at Brighton it’s slowly been sinking in, but over the past couple of weeks the realities of being a top flight club have become increasingly evident.

Vicarage Road is undergoing a pre-season overhaul and expansion, we’ve signed players from Steaua Bucharest, Tottenham, Roma and Werder Bremen, have successfully tied down key performers to lengthy new deals and in Quique Flores now boast the most handsome head coach in the Premier League. As we had always suspected, Gino Pozzo means business.

The Pozzo driven transformation at WD18 has of course meant casualties. Dániel Tőzsér has used social media to flag up his apparent departure, but it’s the sale of Jonathan Bond to Reading that has stimulated the biggest debate of the close-season so far. 

Bond started just 22 games whilst at Watford, but his continued selection at International Under 21 level suggested that he was a talent. Allied to this, he was a local lad. One of our own, a product of the academy system of which we are rightly so proud. From Bond’s point of view it’s hard to argue that the move makes sense. He was clearly third choice at Watford, with Heurelho Gomes and new arrival Giedrius Arlauskis set to slug it out for a first team place, but despite this his sale left some feeling understandably flat.

Of course there’s no guarantee that Bond would have gone on to be anything other than an average goalkeeper; Scott Loach is a recent illustration that early promise and international recognition do not a top goalkeeper make, but it strikes me that this is missing the point. Bond is a homegrown academy graduate that is moving on due to lack of opportunity. Is this a dangerous precedent for a club like Watford to set?

There are very few supporters that won’t be welcoming the slew of signings that seem imminent. Staying up this season could be absolutely critical for the club, and shipping in quality, experience and talent seems to be a sensible way of giving us a fighting chance. But at what cost? Are the last remnants of the Watford we knew being swept away in a bid for success?

Investment in the Academy and a subsequent upgrade to Category 2 status would seem to indicate that youth development remains high on the agenda and most will have taken heart and pride in the announcement this week. But amongst the excitement, questions have been asked. so what do you think? Are Watford doing it right, or is Jonathan Bond’s departure a potential cause for concern?

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Come on you Horns!


  1. What choice did they have? Bond (rightly in my opinion) didn't want to sign another contract to sit on the bench, he wasn't going to get past Gomes so with one year left on his contract, all that was left for the Pozzos to do was get as high a fee as possible for him

    Good luck to him, hope he can establish himself as a No.1, im sure we have a buy back clause in there

    1. I think that the move makes complete sense for all involved. The question is whether it's a concern that a homegrown player is having to leave to find first team opportunities? He's third choice as there is quality ahead of him - will an academy graduate ever be "risked" when the prize is Premier League survival?

  2. I think the majority of us probably assumed that Bondy would be loaned out for the season to a decent Championship club and return the better for the game time. That he has chosen to turn down the chance of doing that is, in many ways, understandable if somewhat disappointing. Cause for wider concern though? Not really. Just a case of a footballer having pride in what he does and wanting to put his neck on the block to show what he can do.
    The Pozzos will continue to invest in the academy as that is all part of the grand scheme, especially given that we need to retain a number of home-grown players for our Premier League squad.
    Gutted to see Bondy go, but not unduly concerned by the wider implications.

    1. Hard to argue with any of that, Martin. Thanks for your input. You remain hopeful that Academy graduates can force their way into the first team at Vicarage Road?

  3. If he hadn't been transferred, he would have gone out on loan. Maybe Bond himself opted for a permanent move.

    1. I believe Bond did opt for the move, which is I guess what planted the seed of the question. Is it a concern he felt he had to move to get game time?

  4. I think its the right move all round. However, I also think its worth considering how much football has he actually played over the last three years?. With no reserve team, he's basically been kicking his heels on the first team bench. This can't be good for his or any of our young players development.

    Hopefully being part of the premier leagues under 21 league will help address this.

  5. I think it is too early to judge how our academy is likely to develop under the Pozzo regime. I always thought the plan was to protect our young talent by sending them to Italy to stop them being poached by other English clubs for a derisory sum and to teach them different technical skills required so that when they return to England they would have the potential to break into the first team. However with the upgrade in status (hopefully to Grade 1 in the near future) it may be that the Pozzo's have confidence that our young players will not be poached and can be taught all they need all they need to know while based locally. Whatever the plan I have confidence that Bond isn't the start of the exodus of our young talent who fail to break through at Watford and that in a few years time you will see a new group of U21 players on the fringes and breaking through into the first team. The ethos of the family is still to find talented footballers and to give them a chance to make a name for themselves before being sold at the optimum price. The next crop of young players may not all be English but I am confident they will have the technical skills to go on and make decent careers in the game.