After coming through the Watford academy, the talented hot prospect made his professional debut aged just 16 years against Sunderland in the League Cup and it wasn’t long before the striker hit the back of the net to become Watford’s youngest ever goal scorer.
The following season the teenage Gifton scored important goals that helped Graham Taylor’s Hornets to promotion when they lifted the 2nd Division title. The 1998/99 season started in promising fashion for the young striker, bagging 10 goals by January which earned him a call up for England U21’s but later that season disaster struck as the Watford hitman picked up a serious injury. His fellow teammates continued the early season form and successfully gained promotion to the Premier League via the play offs.
In the top flight, Gifton Noel-Williams was restricted to just three appearances before Watford returned to the second tier. In 2003, Gifton was released from Vicarage Road after scoring 41 goals in 193 appearances. The striker continued his career at Stoke City, enjoying two full seasons scoring 23 goals in 91 appearances for the Potters. Spells at Burnley, Brighton, Millwall and Yeovil followed, as well as time in the Spanish second tier with Real Murcia and Elche.
90 seconds, 11 Q&A with Gifton Noel-Williams:-
1) Childhood team growing up? The mighty Gooners, Arsenal.
2) First pair of football boots owned? Puma Internationals.
3) Did you have a nickname in the dressing room and how did you get it? Na, it was just ‘Gif’ for obvious reasons.
4) Favourite teammate? That would have to be my Watford and Burnley teammate Micah Hyde.
5) Toughest opponent? Manchester United defender Wes Brown.
6) Which player do you wish you’d had the chance to play with? The original Ronaldo (R9) and Patrick Viera.
7) Favourite football shirt you’ve played in? The yellow of Watford, come on you hornets!
8) Best stadium for atmosphere? Estadio Nueva Condomina, Real Murcia.
9) Biggest influence on your career? My cousin Michael.
10) Most prized possessions from your playing days? Don’t really have any so it would have to be the memories.
11) What keeps you busy these days? Coaching, football is still my life.
Gifton Noel-Williams @GiftonNoel
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