It is easy to ridicule and mock Tony Watt for deciding to embark on a sideline as an online movie reviewer. The 23-year-old forward doesn’t exactly strike you as a natural Mark Kermode.
It seems more than a little off-beam for the unpolished Coatbridger who is yet to fulfil the potential demonstrated at Celtic. Watt expects no more than one star for his cyberspace efforts from the inveterate naysayers he believes populate this world.
“People are always going to shoot you down,” said the Charlton player while promoting his website in Glasgow yesterday. “But if I took it to heart when everyone shot me down when I was trying to make it as a footballer then I wouldn’t be a footballer.”
Watt is a complex character who could take up residence on an analyst’s couch, you feel. If the first thought is that it is a bit bonkers for him to decide to commit one-paragraph reviews – he doesn’t want to provide synopsis or lengthy treatises on any cinema offerings – on the basis of watching “movies” whiling away the hours after games and training, the next thought is why not? Why shouldn’t he seek to extend his horizons, and do so with a pastime that could help him find an equilibrium difficult to come by because he has been “over analysing” his football.
“I’m passionate about movies. And I always try and think about things to do,” he said.
“Football is football. It’s only a couple of hours a day. And you need a way to get the mind off it. I always like to test myself and see if I can be successful in different things so I thought about how many people were on the internet on their laptops. I wanted to see if I could make something a success and thought instead of pottering about doing nothing I could make movies meaningful and do reviews by creating my own website.
“I don’t want to be coming back from training, having just been hammered [on the training pitch], and then do a question and answer session about football. You’re not getting any shut off from football if you do that. And if you’re overthinking too much then that can be your downfall. That’s maybe where I let myself down last year.”
It is amusing to hear Watt despair that Pearl Harbour is only rated a six-out-of-ten film or to describe James McAvoy as a “borderline genius” because he could perfect so many accents in playing a kidnapper with 23 different personalities in the recent film Split. Yet, most arbiters would agree he shows taste in declaring Stand By Me his favourite film and expressing regard for the screen talents of its late star River Phoenix and those of Martin Compston, as well as McAvoy. The two Scots actors are working-class boys made good and in that vein he joked about how his watttowatch website could take off. “Wait till I’m invited to Sundance…”
Watt believes in his day job he will be receiving any number of invites after last season – the first half spent on loan to Hearts – proved a “bump” on the road through his failure to deal with a groin injury sustained immediately after he made his Scotland debut in March.
“Last year, three weeks into pre-season I still wasn’t training. How are you going to catch up from then? By the time I got to Hearts, it was whirlwind and we started playing games,” he recalls.
“I failed last year, it wasn’t the best of seasons but when I played at Hearts in my 12 starts we only lost three games, which isn’t a bad stat. I went back to Charlton without having played a game in six to eight weeks and it’s hard playing catch-up.
“This summer I’ve made sure I’m right. If I fail this year, I’m not a good enough player. Wherever I end up, and who knows where that may be – whether it is Charlton, or whatever – I’ll be mentally right and it’s going to be my fault if I fail. But I know I won’t fail and I know that I have more than enough to break back into the Scotland set-up and I know I have more than enough to play at the highest level.
“It’s not being arrogant, it’s just knowing. I wouldn’t float my own boat or blow smoke into myself, but I know if I really give it a go, which I have this summer, I’ll be ready for pre-season, and I’ll be ready to force my way into any manager’s team.”
l Tony Watt was speaking at the launch of his new online movie website Watt To Watch. Check out Tony’s movie reviews and big name interviews at www.watttowatch.co.uk