Position: Left midfielder
From: Newcastle United - free transfer - July 2001
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Part of the system
"You've got to have a system", so says Harry Hill. Also, so says Steve Eustice while we're relaxing in Italy during the pre-season fun. And the system for our new Scottish left-winger seemed simple enough. Stephen Glass? Bunch of arse. Or so it seemed....
Signed on a Bosman from Newcastle United, he came with a warning from friends in the North East. "Likes to gamble". "Don't we all?" I respond. "Likes a drink," they retort. "Don't they all?" says I, recalling a bad night in Watford when I met a somewhat worse for wear Charlie Miller slumped across a bar. And Stephen's early showings in pre-season were not encouraging. Hugging the touchline like a child with a security blanket, every time he got the ball it was on its way back to Robbo before you could say "hot potato". What the hell had we signed? The fact that he was nowhere to be seen as the season kicked off was explained away by a particularly vague injury. More memories of Watford players past as thoughts of Mark Gavin, similarly tricky, similarly Scottish, similarly left footed and always bloody injured, came flooding back. A worry, for sure.
Then came his overdue debut in the home game against Wimbledon. A few nice touches here and there and a hand in Marcus Gayle's goal. Could the early synopsis be proved wrong? Categorically, yes. In every first team game since, the left foot of Stephen Glass has been a potent attacking weapon. I'm no statistician, but his crosses have accounted for a good number of our goals since he broke into the team. In the resurgent displays against Bradford and Sheffield Wednesday, he has been one of the key players. He can beat his man and deliver the ball with that wand of a left foot almost at will. One of my favourite goals so far this season evoked memories of Tommy Mooney as Glass refused to let Heidar Helguson's cross go begging, threw himself at the ball and unleashed a diving header past the Birmingham keeper. There's nothing better than a diving header, and the picture from the Watford Observer still wallpapers my PC at work.
When we won promotion from this division two years ago, it was the left foot of Peter Kennedy that supplied the bullets, now it's the left foot of Stephen Glass. If he can maintain the consistency he's shown in the last month then he will become a major asset for us. The "bunch of arse" nickname is wearing away and there's a new system in place.
Stephen Glass? Touch of class.
Long may it continue.
Last updated: October 2001