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Connections: Watford

28 February 2014

Players Who Starred For Seasiders & Hornets

Blackpool and Watford have shared a number of popular players down the years, with one or two making particularly big impacts.

Check out the official website's rundown of five former Seasiders and Hornets.

Keith Mercer

The striker started his career with The Hornets after graduating from the youth setup into the first team.

Mercer scored on his debut and then was voted both ‘Young Player’ and ‘Player of the Season’ in the 1976-77 season. In total, Mercer made 137 appearances for Watford during his stay between 1972 and 1980.

Injury troubles and even a bout of pneumonia blighted much of his latter years at Watford before he moved on to Southend in 1980.

Mercer moved to Blackpool in 1983 and was the club’s joint top-scorer in the 1983-84 season but that would prove to be his final year as a player. He retired from the game aged 28 with a knee injury.

Kevin Phillips

Phillips played for Watford between 1994 and 1997, before the most prominent spell of his career at Sunderland.

He scored 25 goals in 63 appearances over his three-year stay with The Hornets. Phillips suffered an injury in his second season at the club which ruled him out for a year, missing the end of the season where Watford were relegated from Division One.

In 2011, Phillips moved to Blackpool and in one and a half seasons at the club scored 19 goals for Ian Holloway’s side.

Phillips was a part of the Blackpool side that lost the 2012 play off final before moving on to Crystal Palace to link up again with Holloway.

David Bardsley

Bardsley started his career as a defender at Bloomfield Road and would go on to have two spells as a player at the club.

During his first spell between 1982 and 1983, Bardsley made 49 appearances for the club before he joined Watford for £150,000.

He spent four years at Watford, making 121 appearances for The Hornets, as the club secured their status in Division One.

After leaving Vicarage Road, Bardsley played for Oxford and most prominently spent nine years at QPR, before he rejoined Blackpool in 1998.

He made 74 appearances during his second stay at Bloomfield Road and was part of the team that was relegated from Division 2 in 2000, at which point he left the club.

Bardsley was also capped twice by England during his spell at QPR. Following his career, he opened his own soccer schools and was the director of Ajax’s academy in Florida.

Hameur Bouazza

Bouazza won a scholarship at Watford after a trial and made his first team debut for the club in 2004 aged just 16.

In 100 appearances for The Hornets over the next four seasons Bouazza scored 13 goals and was part of the team that won promotion to the Premier League in 2006.

He scored five goals in their Premier League campaign and was voted Watford’s ‘Young Player of the Season’.

In 2009, the Algerian international joined Blackpool and made 19 league appearances as The Seasiders won promotion to the Premier League under Ian Holloway in 2010.

Bouazza was released at the end of that season.

Danny Shittu

While Shittu’s time at Bloomfield Road was short, it was a spell that saw the defender make a big impression as Blackpool won promotion from Division 3 in 2001 under Steve McMahon.

Having joined in February, Shittu made 19 appearances during his loan spell and scored two goals, becoming a fans' favourite before his loan from QPR expired at the end of that season.

In 2006, Shittu left QPR for Premier League newcomers Watford for a fee of £1.6million. The club were relegated from the top-flight during his first season but the following year he scored nine goals and was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.

In total Shittu made 75 appearances during his two-year stay at Vicarage Road and had an impressive goal return for a defender – scoring 11 goals.

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