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Top Facts about Watford FC, The 141-Year-Old Squad

Sat 07 May 2022 | 8:30

Top Facts about Watford FC will tell you the key information regarding the club’s history, background, managers, stadium and etc.

Watford Football Team is a Hertfordshire-based English professional football club. They compete in the Premier League, which is the highest level of English football.

The club was founded in 1881, following the year of its antecedent, Watford Rovers, and was renamed Watford Football Club in 1898. Watford entered the Football League in 1920 after finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League winners with Harry Kent, one of the many

Watford managers.

Before moving to Vicarage Road in 1922, the team played at a variety of locations, including what is now West Herts Sports Club. They have a long-standing rivalry with Luton Town, a local club. Between 1977 to 1987, Graham Taylor was the club's manager, and during his time there, Watford rose from the fourth to the first division, one of the things you should know regarding Watford FC history.

In 1982–83, the team finished second in the First Division, qualified for the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, and reached the FA Cup Final in 1984. Watford fell out of favor from 1987 to 1997, but Taylor returned as manager in 1999–2000, leading the team to consecutive promotions from the renamed Second Division to the Premier League for one season.

Under Aidy Boothroyd's management, the team returned to the top flight in 2006–07, and then again from 2015 to 2020, reaching the 2019 FA Cup Final for the second time. Watford was promoted back to the Premier League in April 2021 after only one season in the Championship.

Top Facts about Watford FC, Premier League Competitor

Since short facts are everyone’s favorite, here is a couple of those key facts to get you started to know the squad.

Quick Facts

  • Full Name:

     Watford Football Club

  • Nicknames:

     The Hornets, The Golden Boys, Yellow Army, The 'Orns

  • Date of Formation:

     1881

  • Location:

     Watford, United Kingdom

  • Age:

     141 years old

  • Nationality:

     English

  • Home Stadium:

     Vicarage Road

  • Home Colors: 

    Black and Yellow

  • Owner: 

    Gino Pozzo

  • Chairman:

     Scott Duxbury

  • Manager:

     Roy Hodgson

  • Market Value: 

    €141.60m

  • League:

     Premier League

  • Current Table Position:

     18 out of 20

Watford FC Colors, Badge & Nicknames

Watford's kit has evolved significantly throughout the club's history. Until the 1909–10 season, the club's kit included various combinations of red, green, and yellow stripes, before a new black and white color pattern was introduced, one of the Top Facts about Watford FC.

The club wore these colors until the 1920s when it switched to an all-blue shirt.

After a popular vote via the supporters club, the team's nickname was changed to The Hornets after a change of colors to gold shirts and black shorts for 1959–60.

These colors were used until 1976 when Watford's shirts were changed to red and the gold to yellow.

This color scheme has been carried over into the twenty-first century. In 1959–60, the club adopted gold and black color scheme.

The Brewers was Watford's first nickname, referring to the Benskins Brewery, who controlled the freehold of Vicarage Road, an interesting fact in

Watford FC history

.

When the club switched to a blue-and-white color scheme in the 1920s, this nickname became less popular, and the team became known as The Blues. 

When Watford's shirt colors were altered in 1959, fans chose The Hornets as the team's new nickname, and the club eventually adopted a hornet-themed crest.

Harry the Hornet, the club's mascot, was added to the design in 1974. The hornet crest was replaced by a picture of a hart - a male red fallow deer – on a yellow and black background in 1978, but the club's nickname remained.

The town's location in Hertfordshire is symbolized by a hart. Watford was Hertfordshire's only Football League team until Barnet and, later, Stevenage joined. Yellow Army and The 'Orns are two more nicknames that have been used in the past.

Until April 2019, when Watford played at Vicarage Road, their players would usually enter the pitch to the Z-Cars theme song, another one of the Top Facts about Watford FC.

The team's entrance music was changed to Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" in mid-April 2019.

Following fan pressure and petitions, the club returned to Z Cars as the theme to welcome players to the pitch in August 2019 for the commencement of the 2019–20 Premier League season.

Watford FC Home Stadium

Cassiobury Park, Vicarage Meadow, and Market Street, Watford were among the sites where Watford Rovers played in the late 1800s. The team relocated to Cassio Road in 1890, where it stayed for 32 years before moving to Watford's current Vicarage Road stadium in 1922.

Benskins Brewery originally owned the new stadium, which the team rented until 2001 when it obtained the freehold altogether.

However, the club's financial situation deteriorated after the acquisition, and in 2002, Watford sold the stadium for £6 million in exchange for the right to buy it back for £7 million in the future, one of the 

Top Facts about Watford FC.

In 2004, Watford used a fan-backed and funded campaign named "Let's buy back the Vic" to pursue this option.

Vicarage Road is a four-sided stadium with a seating capacity of 21,577 spectators. The East Stand, which was built in 1922 and still houses the dressing rooms and matchday press area, was closed to the general public in 2008 for health and safety reasons.

The East Stand was removed in November 2013, and a new steel-framed 3,500-seater stand was built in its place.

The Elton John Stand, named after the club's long-serving chairman, officially opened on Boxing Day 2014.

The Graham Taylor Stand (formerly known as the Rous Stand) was built in 1986 and has two tiers, with the upper half housing the club's corporate hospitality. 

The Vicarage Stand is split between the club's family section and away supporters on either end of the pitch, while the Rookery Stand is exclusively for home fans, another one of the Top Facts about Watford FC.

Both stands were constructed in the 1990s with funds raised through player sales. The Elton John Stand was renovated in the summer of 2015 to accommodate an additional 700 seats.

Following the announcement of an expansion in the north-east corner, this amount was reduced a day later to about 1,000 extra seats.

From 1997 to early 2013, Watford shared Vicarage Road with Saracens F.C., a rugby union team. The stadium has hosted England's under-21 team as well as senior international football matches between foreign nations.

Vicarage Road has also hosted performances by Elton John, who originally performed there in 1974 and then returned in 2005 and 2010 to raise funds for the club, something worth knowing in Watford FC history. Horse and carriage shows, as well as greyhound racing, have all taken place years ago.

The Watford Training Ground is located on the Shenley Sports grounds of the University College London Union (UCLU) in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Watford FC Records

With 503 appearances in all competitions between 1976 and 1992, striker Luther Blissett, one of Watford FC legends, owns the Watford appearance record, while his 415 appearances in The Football League during the same period is also a club record.

With 186 career goals at Watford, 148 of which were league goals, Blissett holds the corresponding goalscoring records.

Another one of Watford FC legends is Cliff Holton who holds the record for scoring the most league goals in a season, with 42 in the 1959–60 season.

Harry Barton scored six goals against Wycombe Wanderers in September 1903, which is the most ever scored by a professional player in a single game.

Watford's largest-ever competitive win came in the Southern League Second Division in 1900 when the squad defeated

Maidenhead

11–0. 

The team's greatest Football League victory margin is 8–0, which they achieved against Newport County in the Third Division South in 1924 and again versus

Sunderland

in the First Division in 1982.

Both of these games were played at home, and Watford has won an away league match by five goals six times, the most recent of which was a 6–1 victory over Leeds United at Elland Road in 2012.

Watford has scored 11 goals in Football League games, including 7–4 victories over Swindon Town, Torquay United, and Burnley in 1934, 1937, and 2003, respectively.

On 3 February 1969, the club's greatest home crowd was 34,099 for a fourth-round FA Cup match against

Manchester United

, one of the Top Facts about Watford FC.

In August of the same year, the club set a new home league attendance record of 27,968 against Queens Park Rangers.

Due to all-seater restrictions, Watford's home capacity has been lowered; it now stands at 21,577.

Watford FC Managers Throughout All These Years

Until 1903, when former England international John Goodall was appointed player-manager, Watford's team was chosen by committee. Watford was promoted to the Southern League First Division in 1903–04, and the impact was immediate.

Goodall left the club in 1910 after retiring as a player in 1907. He was replaced by Harry Kent, a former captain who became noted for his financial management of the club; under one of Watford managers, Kent, Watford made a profit in the transfer market on a regular basis.

Before resigning in 1926, Kent guided the team to the Southern League title in 1914–15 and narrowly missed a second title in 1919–20 on goal average. Fred Pagnam, Neil McBain, and Bill Findlay, his three immediate successors, all played for Watford before and throughout their management careers.

None of them were successful in promoting the team from the Third Division South, but Findlay did lead Watford to a Third Division South Cup victory in 1937.

Watford had been guided by five managers in 44 years prior to Findlay's departure in 1947, all of whom had previously played for the club. Between 1947 and 1956, the club was managed by six men, only two of them were former Watford players.

Watford's following three managers presided over improving squads after another three years under McBain between 1956 and 1959. In 1959–60, Ron Burgess guided Watford to promotion from the Fourth Division. 

Bill McGarry was only in charge for one full season (1963–64), but Watford finished third in the Third Division, which was the club's highest finish in the Football League up to that moment.

Ken Furphy, who replaced him in 1966–67, led Watford to the Third Division title in 1969 and then to the FA Cup semi-final for the first time in 1970.

Watford's fortunes dropped after Furphy's departure in 1971, and they were relegated under following managers George Kirby and Mike Keen.

Watford was taken over by Graham Taylor in 1977, one of

Watford FC legends

without a doubt. In 1978, he led the club to promotion to the Third Division, then to the Second Division in 1979, and finally to the First Division for the first time in 1982.

Watford competed in European competition for the first time in 1983–84, as well as reaching the 1984 FA Cup final, after finishing second in the First Division in 1983.

At the completion of the 1986–87 season, Taylor left the club. Watford fell from 9th in the first tier in 1987 to 13th in the third tier in 1997 under the six permanent managers Dave Bassett, Steve Harrison, Colin Lee, Steve Perryman, Glenn Roeder, and Kenny Jackett.

For the start of the 1997–98 season, Taylor, one of the all-time favorite Watford managers, returned. In 1999–2000, he led the team to consecutive promotions but was unable to prevent relegation from the

Premier League

.

Watford FC Early History and Origins

The club's history can be traced back to 1881 when Henry Grover founded Watford Rovers, which he later played for as a full back. Rovers, who were initially made up exclusively of amateur players, played their home games in a variety of locations throughout Watford.

Watford won the County Cup for the first time in 1889, after competing in the FA Cup for the first time in 1886–87. In 1891, the team became the football division of the "West Hertfordshire Club and Ground" and relocated to Cassio Road.

Watford Rovers renamed themselves "West Herts" in 1893, and joined the Southern Football League in 1896. At the start of the 1897–98 season, West Herts' fortunes were in shambles, with attendances of less than 200, one of the Top Facts about Watford FC.

They took the risk of being professional, and their fortunes improved dramatically. Watford St. Mary's finished second in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup in 1894–95, and even when West Herts played at home, they drew crowds of 400 to 500.

The two clubs discussed merging, which finally happened on April 15, 1898. The Watford Observer of May 7, 1898, reported this. It was agreed that the two clubs would finish the season's remaining games. Watford Football Club was the name given to the new club.

Watford hired its first manager, former England international and First Division top scorer John Goodall, after being relegated to the Southern League Second Division in 1903. 

He led Watford to promotion and kept them in the division until 1910 when he retired. Despite financial restraints, his successor, Harry Kent, led Watford to the Southern League title in 1914–15, another one of the

Top Facts about Watford FC.

Following the suspension of the Southern League during World War I, Watford maintained the title for five years before resigning from the league to join the new Football League Third Division after coming second on goal average in 1919–20.

From 1921 to 1922, The Football League's third division was divided into two parts, each with 22 clubs competing for promotion to the Second Division as well as maintaining their league status.

The league had a re-election mechanism in effect, which required the worst two teams in each division to seek re-election. Between 1922 and 1934, Watford finished outside the top six league places in every season.

Following Kent's departure in 1926, they finished 21st out of 22 clubs in 1926–27 but were unanimously re-elected after a ballot of clubs from The Football League's top two divisions.

Between 1934–35 and 1938–39, the team had five consecutive top-six finishes under Neil McBain and then Bill Findlay, and won the Football League Third Division South Cup in 1937. One of the Top Facts about Watford FC is that due to the Second World War, the Football League was suspended in 1939.

Watford FC After the Second World War

Watford had remained in the Third Division South when football began in 1946. The club had to ask for re-election to the league after finishing 23rd in 1950–51, but teams in the First and Second Divisions voted unanimously to keep Watford in the league.

In 1956, McBain returned, and Watford remained in the division until 1958, when the league was reorganized into four national divisions for the 1958–59 season, with Watford being assigned to the Fourth Division, one of the Top Facts about Watford FC.

During that season, McBain was replaced by Ron Burgess, who led Watford to their first Football League promotion the following season. Cliff Holton, who set a club record with 42 league goals during the season, was a member of this squad.

After another 34 goals, Holton was sold to Northampton the following year, much to the disappointment of supporters.

Bill McGarry followed Burgess, who brought in new players such as Charlie Livesey and Ron Saunders, and guided the team to its highest ever league position: third in the Third Division, in his only season at the club.

Pat Jennings, an eighteen-year-old Northern Irish goalkeeper who made his international debut while playing in the Third Division, also played under McGarry.

McGarry joined Ipswich in 1964 and was succeeded by Workington's player-manager Ken Furphy.

Furphy rebuilt the team around players like Keith Eddy and Dennis Bond, but after a tie with

Liverpool

in the FA Cup and nearly missing out on promotion in 1966–67, Bond was moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £30,000, which was Watford's then-record transfer fee.

Furphy's redevelopment began in 1969 with the signing of Barry Endean, whose arrival signaled the start of an unbeaten run following the Christmas holidays. Watford won the Third Division title at home against Plymouth Argyle in April.

Watford made its first FA Cup semi-final a year later, overcoming Premier League sides

Stoke City

and Liverpool along the way, one of the

Top Facts about Watford FC.

Furphy finally joined Blackburn Rovers but was replaced by George Kirby due to a lack of funds. Watford was relegated to the Third Division in 1972 after being forced to sell players to stay afloat. Watford struggled in the third tier, and despite a managerial change in 1975, they were relegated once more.

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