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Clarke Carlisle
Position: Central Defender
From: Leeds United - 100 000 - August 2005
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: About to give us the best years of his career.


Back in the early summer of 2003, when the England Rugby team toured New Zealand and Australia on their victorious run-up to the World Cup, a Kiwi journalist was moved to describe the England pack as a bunch of "Orcs on Steroids", such was their imposing demeanour.

Fast forward to now, and the realisation of one of Adrian Boothroyd's plans for the team is that when Watford get an attacking set-piece, be it a free-kick or a corner, it looks like a group of yellow orcs on steroids are lining up to attack the ball.

Our new manager has gone for pace where he can, and size as well. In Darius Henderson, Malky Mackay and Clarke Carlisle (and I suppose Dom Blizzard too) he's got that size, and boy is it making a difference already. From being a team last season with not a single player over six foot in the regular line-up, Watford have four players of over six foot two, and this is simply causing chaos at every attacking set-piece, and making it a lot easier to defend set-pieces at the other end.

My opinion is that for 100,000, Clarke Carlisle is the best signing of all of them. He is a real leader. Tall, quick, comfortable on the ball, and up for the battle at both ends.

Let's not gloss over his past. Carlisle is probably a Premiership quality defender, but he hasn't made it yet and that is partly due to having to fight an alcohol problem, which got so bad that he had to check into Tony Adams's Sporting Chance clinic to rehabilitate himself.

We are lucky because we are getting someone with something to prove, and he looks like he's going to prove it with us. That winning goal at Derby will not be his last.

Paul Goldsmith
Last updated: September 2005