Position: Central defender
From: Derby County - free transfer - July 1998
Record: Played: 10 Scored: 1
To: Retired - August 2000
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: A forgotten man
It would be easy to say that Dean Yates' time at Watford was wasted. Having arrived to add his considerable
experience - three hundred appearances for Notts County, another seventy during at Derby - to the defence
following our promotion to Division One, he managed just ten games before succumbing to an eventually terminal
Those ten games showed us enough for him to be missed. He began slowly, looking hesitant and awkward on
occasions, but rapidly found his feet. His penultimate game for the Hornets - a backs-to-the-wall home victory over
Ipswich - drew comparisons with Bruce Willis on these pages, such was his undying determination to save the world even
when disaster seemed inevitable. Clearly, we could've done with some of that on several occasions since.
But, even if he was sidelined as Watford made progress, struggled and eventually steamed into the playoffs, his
influence remained. Although it undoubtedly won't be any consolation to him, his time at Watford certainly wasn't
wasted. We won the Second Division Championship with a back three of Robert Page, Keith Millen and Tommy Mooney. The arrival of
Dean Yates enabled us to break that up, to find a new strategy for a new division. By the end of the season, Mooney
was banging in those vital goals as a striker and Page had formed a thoroughly dependable partnership with Steve Palmer.
Perhaps all that would have happened anyway...but, equally, perhaps it wouldn't.