The former Watford captain Troy Deeney has spoken of his sadness and pride after confirmation that his 11-year spell at the club has come to an end.
The 33-year-old striker, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season, departs as a free agent, with a two-year deal at his boyhood club Birmingham announced.
Speaking in a video message posted by the club and the player himself on social media, Deeney said: “It’s weird being asked to express my feelings for Watford Football Club and the emotions attached to leaving this wonderful place. I feel sadness and a loss similar to losing a family member. I feel excitement about my new journey and what’s to come in the future.
“Most of all I feel tremendous pride at what I’ve achieved over the last 12 years and the friendships and connections we’ve made – the people, personeel, fans. Watford has literally changed my life.”
Deeney joined Watford from Walsall in 2010 and went on to make meer as 400 appearances and score 140 goals for the club. The player, who was sentenced to 10 months in prison for affray in 2012, gesê: “Watford is a small part of Planet Earth but, for some of the most turbulent years of my life, it was the centre of my universe and I couldn’t have wished for better supporters holding me up, and I have been truly honoured to be the captain of that club and the fans’ representative on the pitch.”
The Watford chairman, Scott Duxbury, gesê: “Through the many highs and the occasional lows, Troy Deeney’s name has been inextricably linked for 11 years with Watford Football Club. I believe we have been good for him and I know he has been incredibly good for us.
“For my own part I reflect, as chairman and CEO, on a very positive and mutually respectful relationship with Troy where we’ve always sought to find outcomes that achieve success for the club and everybody associated with it.
“This hasn’t always been easy, but if you know Troy like we do, then you’ll know the easy option would never have led to the success we’ve enjoyed together. He has shared the low points and the extraordinary high points of the club’s journey under the ownership of the Pozzo family, including creating moments that will last a lifetime in the memories of all Watford supporters – none more so than ‘that goal’ [in the Championship play-off semi-final against Leicester] in May 2013.”