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Former Watford strikers Luther Blissett and Paul Wilkinson discuss the art of being a goal scorer
10:39am Thursday 13th February 2014 in Latest Sport
Goals have been harder to come by this season compared to last, when Watford were top scorers in the Championship.
Troy Deeney’s winner against Birmingham City on Tuesday night was his 12th league goal of this campaign, and Watford’s 43rd, but at the same stage last year, the Hornets had already notched 56 on their way to a total of 85.
Finding the target is, arguably, the hardest aspect of the game and in his chapter for Tales from the Vicarage 2, Adam Leventhal of Sky Sports News looks at the art of scoring goals and speaks to some of the club’s most prolific players.
Luther Blissett, who has scored more goals for Watford than anyone else, says that it’s vital to set a target. "My aim was to get to 20 as the minimum," he says. "If you don’t get to 20 you’ve failed, even if it’s 19."
Blissett explains that scoring goals is an instinct, but one that can be worked on. "It’s like your sense of taste or smell. You can make that keener by working at it and understanding it.
"But you can’t be a goalscorer and be worried about getting hurt," he adds from personal experience of having been in some bruising encounters in his three spells at Vicarage Road in the 1980s and 1990s. "The ball needs to be put in the back of the net."
Matej Vydra became the latest Watford player to reach the magical 20-league goal mark, with Deeney not too far behind. After his goal against Birmingham, Deeney can start to think about reaching the milestone and, but for the dubious goals panel, he could claim some where perhaps he hadn’t had the final touch, as some of his predecessors might.
Paul Wilkinson, who was top scorer three seasons running as the 1980s gave way to the 1990s, has no time for the dubious goals panel and believes the strikers should get the credit because it is their industry that creates goals. "All that rubbish, it’s garbage," he says. "If you hadn’t had a shot then nothing would have happened. I’ve had the odd one where I’ve challenged someone and it’s gone in off them but you give it the big un’ because you want that goal."
Danny Graham, who scored the highest individual total since Blissett’s days, says Malky Mackay helped him change his mindset when he was at Watford. He would tell himself: "Everyone misses chances, but let’s make sure I score the next one."
If everyone knew the ingredients that make up the often elusive 20-goal-a-season man, football would be an even simpler game. But for the strikers, the game is about one thing. "I always wanted to score goals because that is what it is all about," says Wilkinson. "You will never get a better feeling for that split-second."
Tales from the Vicarage 2 is available online from www.watfordfcbook.com or Amazon and from Watford Museum and Londis at 91-93 Vicarage Road, Watford, for £10.99.