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Watson condemns tackle that ended Howes's career
EX-Premier League star Gordon Watson believes Poole midfielder Glenn Howes “could have been crippled” by the challenge that ended his career.
Watson won a landmark High Court case and was awarded £900,000 after he had successfully sued Huddersfield and Kevin Gray following a tackle that broke his leg in 1997.
Howes is understood to be considering a similar course of action having learned this week that he would no longer be able to play after sustaining major damage to his left leg.
The 29-year-old, a leisure centre manager, suffered the injury when he was caught by Merthyr Town’s Nathan Davies during Poole’s 2-2 draw in south Wales last month.
Howes received the results of an MRI scan on Wednesday which revealed he had ruptured medial and posterior cruciate ligaments, damaged cartilage and fractured the knee joint.
Asked for his comments after reviewing video footage of the tackle, Watson told the Daily Echo: “It was horrendous and reckless. The lad jumped in and went right through his standing leg.
“It is bad enough anyway, but it could have been a lot worse. He could have been crippled. As soon as the lad left the ground, he had no defence.
“Physical contact is part and parcel of the game but there is no place for these tackles.
“As soon as a player jumps in with both feet off the ground, he is no longer in control.
“It wasn’t mistimed because he went over the top of the ball.
There is an unwritten code of conduct among players that says you don’t do that.”
Howes, who was told the injury was also likely to impact on other areas of his life, has been too distressed to speak publicly since he was given the news this week. Watson added: “It was out of his hands and there was nothing he could have done. It might make him stronger but, I can’t dress it up, he is going to have dark days.
He has got to be strong and the people around him have got to be understanding. Playing football has been taken away from him, what words of comfort can you give?”
Davies served a three-match ban after being sent off for the tackle. Speaking to the Echo last month, Merthyr chairman Meurig Price said: “The tackle was a foul and it was a sending off. But it wasn’t as bad as it looked.
“After Nathan had been sent off, I went into the dressing room and I saw the mess on his leg as well.
“I asked Nathan what had happened and he said it was a clash of shins.
“He said he didn’t go in with his studs showing and that the other guy had come off worse. Nathan is not that kind of player and would never go into a tackle to hurt another player.”