From: Brentford - £150,000 - March 2002
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Everything we could wish for.
Past Profiles: July 2005, September 2003
Nick Hornby devoted a whole chapter in his first book to the theory of relativity in the shape of Gus Caesar. The Gus Caesar who came through the ranks at Highbury to play for the first team despite his obvious & many limitations; the point of the chapter being that whilst all Gooners of a certain age will testify that the hapless Gus was indeed the worst player to ever represent the Arse he was still at various points during his development the best player available.
I preface my review of the admirable Gavin Mahon with the notion of relativity (and not Gus Caesar, because he was awful) because there is a danger that we cast aside previous accepted concepts of worth/value against the new yardstick of First Division football. Before I conclude this theme letís start with the history.
He arrived at the Vic as one of the unheralded imports during the Vialli year. Initial impressions (and Iím not referring to the ďSideshow BobĒ haircut) were mixed, ranging from promising to a particularly ugly performance at centre half. The following season saw Gav sporting a new haircut and seemingly new physique but, unfortunately for both him and the team, no settled first eleven position as he & Lewington tried manfully to plug the holes created by the previous managementís largesse. A series of unconvincing displays at right back were enough to earn him boo boy status amongst a sizeable minority of the Watford faithful. The next season started with Gav in a central midfield position. A string of excellent performances ensued as he became the glue that kept the team together and away from Division Three football, culminating in him winning the Player of the Season award.
Subsequent seasons have provided empirical evidence that Gavin Mahon is good enough to play in a successful Second Division side in a central midfield birth with a mixture of aggression, passion and no little talent. Had we lost last in May any sensible review of Gav would have classified him as one of the best midfield generals in the league. However, we did beat Leeds so however much I donít want to, we need to consider how Gav will perform in the big playground, in the posh school against the older boys.
Of the 1999/00 team (excluding Gibbs) only Paul Robinson & H were good enough to play in Division One; the rest of them for one reason or another just couldnít cut it. This fact does not mean that the others, most notably Johnson, Hyde, Palmer, Page, Alec & Mooney were bad players, they just were not good enough either collectively or individually.
So, will Gav be a Robbo/H or one of the others? On the positive side he can get up a fair head of steam, is powerful in the air, is as strong as an ox and can play off either foot. Taking off my hornet goggles though, one has to balance this up by questioning his pace over 5 yards, his seemingly medical aversion to scoring and the habit of being caught on the ball in dangerous positions.
In conclusion, whatever happens over the next eight months, Gavin Mahon does everything we can expect of a Watford player. He always gives one hundred percent, is blessed with technical and athletic abilities we can only dream of and can more than hold his own in the second tier of English football. Thatís enough for me.
Last updated: August 2006