The English football system is a cruel and unforgiving machine that chews up and spits out prospective talent at an industrious rate, something former Arsenal and Leeds player Sanchez Watt will know all about.
Look away prospective footballers and hopeful parents: children at football academies are apparently more likely to ‘get hit by a meteorite’ than make it as professionals, according to Michael Calvin, author of No Hunger in Paradise: The Players. The Journey. The dream” (via Business Insider).
Even then, when the few have passed through the incomprehensible challenges of achieving football stardom, they might find themselves diving through the football leagues quicker than they can boast “I made it!”
Sanchez Watt may not have uttered these words, but he has certainly experienced an immeasurable fall from grace since graduating from Arsenal’s youth system, first swapping the Emirates for Elland Road and now settling at sixth tier Hamel Hempstead’s Vauxhall Road.
We think it is fair to say that Sanchez Watt has actually done very little to be remembered in West Yorkshire other than being painfully average during his short and uneventful residency – however, sometimes this is enough; sometimes all it takes is for a player to be that dry and disappointing that they will be etched into the minds of all those who watched them play.
Watt spent two seasons on loan at Elland Road between 2009 and 2011 from Arsenal, helping the side secure League One promotion and Championship consolidation.
In 1.992’ minutes of football he provided a bang average one goal and six assists for Leeds United (statistics provided by Transfermarkt) – but that is not what makes the once described ‘whizzkid’ by the Daily Mail an interesting case – not by a long shot.
Rather Sanchez Watt is just one of the few names we can actually recall who are a part of the much larger and widespread systemic phenomenon of former prospects being unceremoniously disposed of like spent commodities.
Following a stint at Leeds, Watt was put through the misery of a further three loans at Sheffield Wednesday, Crawley Town, and Colchester United before being released at the end of his contract – like a child would forget about its former favourite toy.
Two seasons later Watt would find himself playing in India for Kerala Blasters, not as a player who was trying to squeeze out a last few paycheques, but as one who was desperately trying to revive his career.
Just a year later he was back in the melee of the football league, first for Crawley Town, then Billericay Town, a club renowned for recruiting Premier League ‘has-beens’ like Jamie O’Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant.
But even this graveyard stage showed to be a fruitless proving ground and he has since been loaned off to sixth-tier Hemel Hempstead, and though a distant desire of the football league may sit lonely in his mind, Watt surely knows the dream is over now.
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