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Players: Tributes:
Ross Jenkins
Career history
By Ian Grant

Ross Jenkins took his first step towards a career in football by training with the Brentford youth squad, before signing up as a Palace apprentice in 1968. He became a professional the next year and made his debut against Manchester United in 1971.

He made just eleven full appearances for Palace, scoring two goals, before joining Watford on 23 November 1972. The 30,000 fee was a club record and the pressure was on the new signing. It didn't go well - George Kirby's side slid towards the Division 3 relegation zone as Jenkins failed to score.

Kirby stood by his new signing but was replaced as manager by Mike Keen, who preferred Billy Jennings. Jenkins was relegated to the reserves, Watford were relegated to Division 4 in 1975.

That summer, Jenkins turned down a move to Huddersfield. It all came right in that season - a re-born Ross hit 19 goals and won the Player of the Season Award.

An injury against Hartlepool, sustained in the process of scoring a hat-trick, brought a premature end to hopes of a repeat performance the next season. Having lost his place, Jenkins asked for a transfer - but Mike Keen was sacked and Graham Taylor arrived. Ross decided to stay.

Despite injuries, Jenkins reclaimed his number 9 shirt and scored 18 goals as the Hornets stormed to the Division 4 title. The famous partnership with Luther Blissett was formed during the next campaign. In an injury-free season, Ross hit an amazing 37 goals, Luther scored 29, Watford went up again. The Player of the Season Award was once more his.

Things didn't work out in Division 2 - a broken ankle ended the first season, poor form spoiled the second. He was instrumental in the League Cup triumphs of 1980 but Taylor transfer-listed the striker and he left to play for Washington Diplomats.

He returned to play a part in the final promotion to Division 1, scoring the two goals against Wrexham that secured the Hornets' place in the top flight.

Ross Jenkins was 31 in his testimonial season - Watford were taking the world by storm but he was suffering from a groin strain. It was the end of the road. Ross Jenkins was given a free transfer in the summer of 1982.

After finally leaving Watford, he played in Hong Kong and Cyprus before settling in Havea, Costa Blanca to enjoy the Spanish life with his family. He is a qualified football coach and owns a half-share in a bar.