From: Brentford - £150,000 - March 2002
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Transformed
Past profiles: February 2003
The story of Gavin Mahon's Watford career is a long and bumpy ride.
He arrived from Brentford at the tail-end of the Vialli campaign, full of enthusiasm and hair. Then he got crocked and came back as a bit of lump, bald and sluggish. That was where we left him, in February 2003.
It continued like that for a while - the lowlight being an absolute 'mare of a game in the FA Cup semi-final, where he was deployed at right-back as part of Ray Lewington's infamous experimentation in that position. His fairly horrific form in the back of 2002/03 can be largely put down to his playing out of position - a right-back he was not. Nor was he a right-winger, where he occasionally found himself, clearly baffled at his lack of suitability for the role.
Having ended the season in terrible form and under attack from various members of the Watford mongery, his future at Watford did not, to say the least, look particularly bright. But the summer clear-out of 2003 helped Gavin Mahon's Watford career enormously. With the departure of various established midfielders, Mahon suddenly found himself in the centre of the Watford midfield. Where he was supposed to be.
And, boy, did it show. Bang in the middle of Watford's worst start to a season in a generation, Mahon displayed the grit and tenacity that was so desperately needed. Like a Marcus Gayle the season before, he shrugged off the boo-boy tag and hurled himself into the fray.
It continued throughout the year, as Mahon showed what a truly excellent midfielder he is. With ruthless efficiency, he rumbled round the park, an essential intervention here, a last ditch sliding tackle there. Never has the song about "being f**king everywhere" been more true. I can't recall seeing a player tackle efficiently as Gavin Mahon does. He, quite deservedly, collected the "Player of the Season" award at the end of the year.
His 2004/05 continued in much the same vein, although he was somewhat dogged by injury. One can't help but wonder whether March's outcome would have been different had Gavin Mahon (amongst others) been fully fit. Actually, there's no doubt in that at all, for a Gavin Mahon at his peak controls the central midfield.
He has limitations, obviously. He's not too fast - well, not in the traditional sense anyway. He does, however, have that Steve Palmer style bulldozer run which invariably ends up with the trademark crunching challenge. Oh, and he can't shoot for toffee, although it doesn't stop him doing it, bless him. To be honest, it's hard to believe that he's scored one goal for Watford, let alone, um, two - although one of those was the second goal against Chelsea, one minute after Gudjohnsen's equaliser was supposed to have ended our little insurrection.
But the benefits far outweigh the gains and with a contract that runs until 2007, we can expect to see him prowling our centre circle for a long time yet, something all Watford can be thankful for.
Last updated: July 2005