Of all the bargain signings that Norwich have made over the years,
none can surely rival the purchase of 19 year old Liverpool reserve
team defender Dave Watson for £50,000 on 29th November 1980.
The Norwich fans thought that manager Ken Brown was mad to buy an unproven defender especially
as neither he nor his assistant Mel Machin had seen Dave in action. Reliant on the reports
of Dave Stringer and Doug Livermore, they took a gamble and awarded Watson
his football league debut against Ipswich on Boxing Day 1980.
The gamble paid off and Dave made 256 appearances at the heart
of the City defence. A club captain, he led them to the Milk Cup
victory in 1985 and the Division Two championship in 1986. At
the Norwich City Centenary dinner, Dave described winning the
Milk Cup as his greatest moment at Carrow Road.
He gained 6 England international caps whilst at Carrow Road,
making his debut in a 2-0 victory against Brazil at the Maracana
stadium in June 1984. Failure to make the England squad for the
Mexican World Cup of 1986 encouraged Dave to respond favorably
to offers to perform on a higher stage with a bigger club. He
became Norwich's third £1 million departure when he returned
to Merseyside to play for Everton for £1.23million in August
1986. In addition to another six international caps, Dave won
the League Championship (1986-87) and the FA Cup(1985) as well
as a FA Cup runners up medal (1989). Dave was club captain for
many years, and took over the caretaker manger's role in March
1997 following the resignation of Joe Royle.
He held this post until the end of June 1997 with the appointment
of Howard Kendall. At the end of the 1996/97 season, Dave had
made 369 league appearances for Everton scoring 23 goals. He was
granted a testimonial against Rangers on 16th July 1997 which
Everton won 3-2.
The Daily Mirror speculated on 17 December 1997 that
Watson might join Manchester City in a part-exchange for Georgi
Kinkladze. However Watson's short term future at Goodison Park
seemed assured with him signing a new one year contract in March
1998. With Mike Walker's departure from
Carrow Road at the end of April 1998, Dave was linked to the Norwich
manager's post with Norwich apparently approaching Everton for
permission to approach Watson. However the position was eventually
given to Bruce Rioch and Bryan
Hamilton. Along with Ian Rush and Mark Wright, he has also
been linked with the vacant manager's spot at Wigan as its previous
incumbent John Deehan quit to team up
with Steve Bruce at Sheffield United.
Dave was by now the oldest player in the Premiership but had also
moved to fill the first team coach position for Everton. Dave
was named by Teamtalk as
a potential successor as Norwich City manager following Bruce
Rioch's resignation on 13th March 2000. The Sunday Mirror
repeated this story on 2nd April 2000. The following year saw
The People name Watson on 22nd April 2001 as favourite
to manager newly relegated Tranmere Rovers. This speculation was
accurate as Watson was appointed the new Tranmere manager on 4th
May 2001. His spell as first team coach at Goodison may not prepare
him for life in Division Two.
Dave was sacked as Tranmere manager on 2nd August 2002 following
their 7-0 pre-season friendly defeat against Birmingham. Chairman
Lorraine Rogers complained about the lack of passion and pride
on the pitch and announced that the club was up for sale. Dave
is now scouting for Birmingham City, managed by former teammates
Steve Bruce and Mark
In September 2004, Liverpool Schools football received a boost
when Dave agreed to coach their Under-14 team. "I represented
Liverpool boys at primary and secondary school level and I just
feel I would like to get involved and develop the youngsters,"
said Watson. "I feel I have wide experience as a player
and a coach to offer the lads something new and I also feel I
could put something back in the game at grass roots level."
Watson joins a highly successful coaching team that already includes
former Tranmere Rovers star Kenny Irons, who has helped guide
the last three teams he has been involved with to English School
After Steve Bruce moved to Wigan, Watson did some scoutng for
him before being appointed as youth team coach on 23rd April 2008,
replacing David Lowe. Speaking on his new role, Watson said: "You
have to take these opportunities when they come around, and I'm
very excited about joining what is clearly a club going places.
I think we have a very healthy crop of youngsters here, who have
obviously been well coached in the past."
Watson was appointed as Under 18 Coach at Newcastle United on
7th November 2011.