Main Menu
Contents
What's New
Search
Comments
BLIND, STUPID AND DESPERATE
 
Gone but not forgotten:
Alon Hazan
 
Position: Midfielder
From: Ironi Ashdod, Israel - £200,000 - January 1998
Record: Played: 16(22) Scored: 2
To: Ironi Ashdod - Free transfer - August 1999
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: A disappointment

Peter Beadle played twenty-four times for Watford, was brilliant for precisely forty-five minutes and left essentially because we couldn't be arsed to keep him. Alon Hazan played thirty-eight times for Watford, was brilliant for only about ten minutes longer than Beadle and returned to Israel "for personal reasons". Spot the difference.

I'm being unfair...but someone's got to do it. A player of absolutely undeniable quality - lovely touch, clear vision, eye for goal - Hazan simply never made a mark at Vicarage Road.

His surprise departure leaves so many unanswered questions. "He'll get more time and space in the Premiership," claimed his numerous admirers, conveniently forgetting that they'd said much the same twelve months earlier as we approached our return to Division One. Thing is, time and space in the English game comes to those who demand it and that's something Hazan consistently failed to do.

So the same Israeli international with sparkling skills and exuberant passion hidden beneath a cool exterior was also the player farting about over-delicately on the right side of midfield to precious little effect. His name will forever be associated with the success of the last two seasons, yet he was rarely more than a peripheral figure. No arguments about his role as a willing squad player, but he had the class to be so much more.

Beadle had his forty-five minutes against Barnsley, after Gerry Taggart trod on his toes. Hazan had his finest moments at Swindon, where he was a majestic, searingly elegant second half substitute. On that sunny afternoon, it was difficult to believe that we could ever do without him again. But, harsh though it sounds, we learnt to do just that long before he left the club.

Ian Grant


 
One of the most naturally skilful players ever to don the Watford shirt....

Of course, if that was the only sentence which could aptly describe Alon Hazanís time in England then the reaction to his surprise departure may well have been considerably more than the underwhelmed whimper it met with in reality.

There is no doubt we have lost a quality player. In the brief glimpses of his best that we were treated to, his touch was composed and his passing jaw-droppingly creative and never wasteful. Certainly I believe that had he opted to stay and battle, he would have added an experience and touch which was always going to be best suited to the top-flight, rather than the lower, less cultured divisions. As was pointed out in the latest player profile there was the remotest chance that the anticipation that preceded his arrival could have finally come to fruition this season. He might well have blossomed in the Premiership, but he has not given us the opportunity to find out.

You wonder how much the decision owed to personal reasons, rather than the "limited first team opportunities" line reported in the press. Certainly, it must have been a surprise to spend so much of last season on the fringes of the first team squad; especially as he was clearly, on an individual basis, head and shoulders above many of his team-mates. But we all know that the last thing GT wants is individuals....

Hazanís superior technical ability was largely cast aside in the name of the greater good. Taylorís adherence to the old adage meant that the boss kept with his well oiled Escort rather than opting for the Jaguar Hazan provided - he was an unreliable luxury we couldnít afford.

There are several factors which contributed to his departure. The exceptional and consistent form of many players and tactical considerations combined to leave him largely overlooked. The abandoning of the 5-3-2 formation which saw us through the Second Division left no central birth to be filled and Hazan without an obvious place in the team. This left him in competition with Micah Hyde, who very rarely deserved to be dropped and whose partnership with Johnson is irreplaceable and the life-blood on which we thrived last term. With the place on the right being more than adequately filled by Nicky Wright, Hazanís contribution were restricted to a minimum.

The player himself might count himself a little unlikely that he never got the run in the side which might have provided a platform, and the confidence on which to consolidate. He, however, lacked the combative abilities which kept others ahead of him and more often than not turned him into a liability.

Eye-brows must be raised when a player opts out of Premiership football, and whatever the reasons, the player himself must shoulder responsibility for not making us regret the passing of his undoubted class. I suspect we might have been more distressed if it had happened twelve months from now.

Unfortunately we will never know.

Ben Soloway