From: Watford FC Academy
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: What we need
Firstly, let's get this straight. Jamie Hand is ugly. And when I mean ugly, I don't mean mildly unattractive. I mean ugly. But maybe that's a good thing. Jamie Hand is one of those kick-you-in-the-shin-when-the-ref's-not-looking kind of players. And to be one of them, you aren't some pretty boy flouncing around wearing Armani. He's exactly what this club needs. We have finished with the Thursday night te-ta-te's, the six passes along the half-way crap. We're back to the slide tackling, long-ball playing on a wet Saturday afternoon. Hurrah!
You wouldn't call Jamie Hand a Vialli player. He'd as soon pass along the half-way line as he would lick a dog's backside. It seemed his debut was almost generous. A home FA-Cup tie against Arsenal. What better place to start your first team career? Or perhaps it was because of injury. I can't remember and, frankly, don't care.
His next game is at Millwall and he gets his first start. Admittedly, it's not as glamorous as Arsenal but, heh, beggars can't be choosers. Now, living on the South Coast as I do, I couldn't get to that game. But I did get the Watford Observer. And as soon as I saw him on the front cover, rain dripping down his majestic forehead, screaming at Rob Styles as he sent Heidar off, I thought, "Yeah! Jamie, my son, you might be able to sort this team out."
Time went on and Jamie came in and out of the first team. He was often a sub. It seemed that Jamie was Luca's new pet project - Gary Fisken was long gone and now it was Jamie's turn to sit in front of the fire chewing a bone. Of course, Luca played him in some strange places. Right wing, for instance. Let's just say they weren't his greatest performances.
So now it's July 2002. Ray's in charge, and he's been quoted as saying he likes a player with a bit of heart. Jamie's certainly got a lot of that. He's got the potential to develop and plenty of time to do so. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. There are plenty of midfielders at the club post-Luca, all vying for a place. But there's good cause to say he could prosper under the new management. Then again, maybe he won't.*
Only time will tell.
Last updated: July 2002
* Especially if he plays right wing.