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Jerel Ifil
Position: Central defender
From: Watford FC Academy
He is: The future. Possibly.


Jerel Ifil, Jerel Ifil. When it comes to looking to the future, Jerel Ifil's name is always there somewhere. As I write this, Ray is, along with the fans, already looking forward to next season. Planning, preparing. It's what happens every season. People start to pick their "team for next season" as soon as the list of players out of contract is published. And for the past few years people have been talking about Jerel Ifil.

But I am beginning to wonder whether Jerel is our future at all. He must have become a professional in, what, 1999/2000? And he's meant to be okay. But every year we hear about his place in the future plans for the club. Yet he hasn't made one appearance, not even as a sub. Players have been brought in ahead of him: Williams, Cox, Galli, Dyche, Brown. And the youth players that have over taken him: Panayi, Doyley, hell, even Jack Smith has popped up on the bench and we're hearing good things about Ben Herd.

I think perhaps the most significant moment in Jerel Ifil's career at this football club was the signing of Wayne Brown. Before Wayne arrived, he was a fringe player. Admittedly he had Dyche, Cox, Doyley, Gayle and probably Robbo and Mahon to get past before he got into our central defence but at least he had a chance. But Watford, a club in pretty dire financial measures despite the upturn in past month or so, still risk their cash on another central defender.

Now what does that say about Jerel Ifil's future at this club? With so many people ahead of him and several people getting awful pushy behind him, he should be worried. He's just been packed off to Swindon to gain some first team experience. Hope the houses are nice down there, Jerel....

Mike Peter
Last updated: February 2003