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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
King relishing Premiership chance
By Chris Bevan

Watford striker Marlon King (front)
We have a manager who can make things happen - and who treats you in a way that makes you feel you are the best player in the world

Watford striker Marlon King

Marlon King is confident he and his Watford team-mates will not look out of place in the Premiership.

The former Dulwich Hamlet, Barnet, Gillingham, Nottingham Forest and Leeds striker has trodden a rocky road on his way to the top flight but he insists he can continue his prolific strike rate at the highest level.

King did not get on the scoresheet on Sunday as the Hornets secured promotion by beating Leeds in the play-off final but the 22 goals he has plundered this season made him the top scorer in the Championship.

He has found the net regularly before in his career - but off-field problems have often put his playing exploits in the shade.

In 2002 King served five months of a two-year prison sentence for handling a stolen car before being released on appeal.

The Jamaica international bounced back to relaunch his career but he hit the rocks again after a big-money move to Forest and an ill-starred loan move to Leeds followed before he found his feet again at Watford.

Now, after firing the Hornets to promotion, King is eager to prove himself against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

"It has been a long time coming," he told BBC Sport. "The ups and downs I have had have been well-publicised.

"I have never let those things get to me though. I have had good support behind me and I have not really looked back this year.

"The tough times make this more special, when you go through those you grow as a person. When you get a second chance then if you cannot take it, you do not deserve it.

"Hopefully I am taking my chance."

At 26, King is one of the senior members of a young Watford squad that has made impressive progress under manager Aidy Boothroyd in recent months.

Watford striker Marlon King
I just broke down because I knew that moment had come - I had made it

Marlon King

And he insists they will have nothing to fear next season.

"This team has got resilience, spirit, a never-say-die attitude and a great blend of youth and experience," King added.

"On top of that we have a manager who can make things happen - and who treats you in a way that makes you feel you are the best player in the world.

"I was low on confidence when the gaffer brought me here and I want to thank him for that.

"He has brought the best out of me. He is a genuine guy and you can see that the boys are willing to die for him."

When the final whistle at the Millennium Stadium confirmed Watford's place in the Premiership, King collapsed to the ground in tears.

"There were so many emotions running through my body," he explained. "Everyone is a human being and sometimes you cannot hold it all in.

"All the boys ran over and I just broke down because I knew that time had come. I had made it.

KING FACTS
Born: 26 April 1980, Dulwich
Age: 26
Jamaica: Caps 11 Goals 7
Professional clubs: Barnet (Aug 98- Jun 00), Gillingham (255k Jun 00-Nov 03), Nott'm Forest (950k Nov 03-Dec 05), Leeds (loan Mar 05-May 05), Watford (loan Jul 05-Dec 05), Watford (500k Dec 05-)
Career games: 287
Career goals: 98

"In a way it is better than getting automatic promotion. It was like a cup final and you saw the fans and the atmosphere out there.

"But we did not let that get to us and we put on a good performance.

"I was surprised by the margin of victory because I know Leeds have capable players who can turn games.

"When we went 1-0 up we knew they were going to change things and come at us but we dealt with it magnificently.

"I had a few sleepless nights before the final. Everybody was talking about it and the time just dragged.

"But I could only imagine things like this happening to me and what I am feeling now is pure happiness."

SEE ALSO
Watford plan Premiership strategy
22 May 06 |  Championship
Agony to ecstasy for happy Hornets
22 May 06 |  Championship
Leeds 0-3 Watford
21 May 06 |  Championship
Boothroyd hails spirit of Watford
21 May 06 |  Championship
Championship play-off final photos
21 May 06 |  Photo Galleries


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