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Malky Mackay
Position: Central defender
From: West Ham United - free transfer - August 2005
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: A young John McClelland (possibly)


I don't know why, but I've always loved Malky Mackay's name. The alliteration and the poetic scan of it are very appealing to me. And he had a reputation as a decent player to boot, so when he signed for us, I found myself strangely drawn to him and decided that this season's player sponsorship money was going his way.

Malky started his career at Queens Park where he made seventy league appearances between 1991 and 1993. He then signed for Celtic where he stayed for five seasons without establishing himself in the first team. His best season there was 1996/97, when he made twenty appearances.

It was at Norwich City that his career really took off. He signed in 1998, after a loan spell, and made twenty-four appearances that season and sixteen the following season. However, it was in 2000/01 that he became an established part of the Norwich defence, culminating in his being voted third in the Player of the Season Awards. He had another impressive season in 2001/02, which he finished wearing the captain's armband and contributing two crucial goals, one that got them into the play-offs and another in the play-off semi-final. In April 2004, Norwich won promotion to the Premiership and Malky made his Scottish international debut (he went on to win two further caps). He was also named in the PFA Division One Team of the Year. Despite this, Malky never played for Norwich in the Premiership (not Premier, not a ship). After an injury kept him out of the early season games, he was deemed surplus to requirements and, after a move to Coventry City fell through, he moved back down a division to join West Ham, much to the dismay of the fans in Norfolk.

Last season, he made twenty-two appearances for West Ham, helping them into the Premiership. However, history was to repeat itself and following the signings of Gabbidon and Collins in the summer, it became clear that Malky wasn't going to be a first choice at Upton Park in the top flight. After weeks of rumours, his contract was terminated and he made the move to Watford.

Malky's recruitment to Aidy's New Dawn was a little surprising as he is not in the mould of the early to mid-twenties speed-merchants that the manager prefers. But his debut against Burnley told us all we needed to know about why he had been brought in. The sight of Ade Akinbiyi trying to muscle his way past Malky and ending up on the ground was a thing of beauty. He may not have a great deal of pace, but he has the footballing nous not to get into trouble and the strength to keep forwards at bay. He's added that extra bit of steel that we needed in the centre of defence. While his immediate inclusion was a little harsh on Jay Demerit, you can't help thinking that Jay will learn so much from having him around.

Some Watford fans have already likened Mackay to John McClelland. A young McClelland? What a prospect that is.

Frances Lynn
Last updated: December 2005