When it comes to having a rich club history, Watford have one of the most memorable. While they may not be the most popular or successful clubs in the Premier League as a whole, given their turbulent highs and lows, they are a fantastic club.
They are a club that has had many successes over the years, and some fantastic managers, players and owners too. While they may not have won the Premier League yet, they have a dedicated and loyal fan base that sticks with the club, through thick and thin.
In this article, we will be talking you through the history of Watford FC, and their interesting history. From their best players, to their achievements, and links to Sir Elton John, we discuss everything you need to know about this great Premier League club.
Here are some basic facts that are useful to know about Watford FC:
- Watford are based in Hertfordshire England
- They were founded in 1881
- Their logo features a red hart, which is a type of deer
- Their nickname is the hornets, which used to feature on their logo, but is now incorporated into their shirts instead
- Their current home ground is the Vicarage Road Stadium
- They are currently managed by Xisco Munoz
- The owner of Watford FC is Gino Pozzo
- The current captain is Troy Matthew Deeney
- Watford are yet to win the Premier League or the FA Cup
- Their most successful and popular manager was Graham Taylor
- They were owned by Sir Elton John for a short period.
Watford’s home ground is called the Vicarage Road Stadium, and can be found on Vicarage road. The fans shortened the name to The Vic, and it has been the home ground since 1922.
It has two stands named after Watford legend Graham Taylor and Sir Elton John, who is a huge fan of the soccer club. He was interestingly the owner of the club from the 1970s, through to the 1980s.
It is not a huge soccer stadium in comparison to others in the Premier League, but it still holds a healthy 21,000 fans.
When it comes to main trophies, unfortunately, Watford have not currently won anything major. However, this does not mean that they are not a successful club. While they may have not won the Premier League or a cup, they are still a fantastic club.
In the 1982-83 season, Watford were very close to winning the First Division league. However, they finished second below Liverpool FC. In addition to this, they have also come fairly close to winning the FA Cup on two separate occasions.
The first time was in 1983-84, when they reached the final against Everton, unfortunately, they lost the game 2-0.
In recent years, they again made it to the FA Cup final against Manchester City. This was in 2018/19, but did lose against Manchester City. The score was 6-0 to City, which was a disappointing defeat for the club and the fans.
While they may have not yet succeeded in these areas, they do currently have a successful team. In addition to this, they have also won other Divisions, in order to be promoted to the Premier League. These titles are:
- League Division 3 Winners: 1968-69
- League Division 4 Winners: 1977-78
- League Division 2 Winners: 1997-98
Watford FC were founded by Henry Grover in 1881, under the original name of Watford Rovers. They did not have a ground initially and first competed in the FA Cup in 1886/87.
They won the Herts County Cup in 1889. In 1891, they moved to Cassio Road stadium, and in 1893, changed their name to West Herts.
In 1898, they changed their name to Watford Football club, and in 1903 John Goodall became the manager. They then entered the Southern League First Division. In 1920 they joined the new football league at Division 3, and moved to Vicarage road stadium in 1922.
They were demoted to the 4th Division in 1968, but then returned to the 3rd and subsequently got promoted to the 2nd Division. They reached their first FA Cup semi-final in 1970, but had to pull out due to financial problems.
In 1976 the club was taken over by Sir Elton John, who brought in Graham Taylor, who was Watford’s best manager.
Here is a brief summary and timeline of Watford:
- 1881: Club Founded and called Watford Rovers
- 1893: Club name changed to West Hertfordshire
- 1898: Club named Watford and move to Cassio Road Stadium
- 1920: First season as a Soccer league Member in the 3rd Division
- 1922: Move to Vicarage Road Stadium
- 1969: 2nd Division Promotion
- 1976: Sir Elton John buys Watford FC
- 1977: Graham Taylor appointed manager
- 1999: Premier League Debut
- 2012: Pozzo family become manager of Watford
- 2019: Watford reach the FA CUP final
- 2021: Watford return to the Premier League
Club Net Worth
While Watford may not be the largest club in the Premier League, their net worth is surprisingly high.
In 2021 their current net worth stands at around $120 million. While this is not at the same level as the top clubs, this is still reasonably good. The majority of this money has been put into the club by the owner, Gino Pozzo.
The club’s stadium is based on Vicarage road, in Watford, and is named The Vic by Watford’s fans. It has been the main stadium since 1922, when Watford moved there from their old Cassio Road stadium.
It can hold a total of 21,000 fans, which is a reasonable amount. However, when compared to many other stadiums in the league, it is fairly small. What is great about the stadium is that they have a sensory room. This is a room specifically designed for fans that have Autism.
There is a stand at the stadium dedicated to Sir Elton John, who was an owner of the club for a number of years, and also Graham Taylor. Taylor was such an important and influential manager of the club, and a legend in his own right.
The current owner of Watford is Gino Pozzo, who became a part owner of the club in June 2012, with his father. From 2914, he became the only owner of the club. What is great about Pozzo is that he has a lot of input when it comes to the overall running of the club.
He lives in Watford, and unlike other owners he does participate in the day to day running of the club too. He has helped Watford to become more successful on the whole.
As we have already discussed, Watford have previously had a very famous manager, Sir Elton John. From a young age, Elton John was a huge fan of Watford and in 1976, he became chairman of the club.
Once he was the owner of the club, he was the person responsible for hiring the legend, Graham Taylor, who helped Watford to be promoted twice in the next two years.
When it comes to talking about the best players at a Soccer club, to an extent, the best player can vary depending on how you are determining it. When it comes to Watford, there is one clear winner for the best player, and this is Luther Blissett.
Not only did Blissett score the most goals for the club in its history, but he also had the most appearances for the club too. He played at the club on three separate occasions, and appeared in 205 matches, which is impressive.
Blisset was responsible for Watford’s rise to success when they were promoted from the 4th league, too.
Another fantastic player for Watford was John Barnes, who was also a pivotal player when it comes to the club’s successes. He is certainly one of the most talented players that has played at Watford, and was in the team when they were promoted during Graham Taylor’s first season as manager.
Other best players include Ross Jenkins, Gary Porter, Nigel Gibbs, and Cliff Holton. All of whom were gifted and talented players.
In more recent years, the successes of Deeney cannot go unnoticed, and he is a key player currently within the club. He has scored many goals for the team, and being captain, he is an influential and important player.
All Time Top Scorer
As it stands, the current all-time top goal scorer for Watford is Luther Blissett, who was an impressive player. He scored 186 goals for Watford in total across all of the competitions, between 1976, and 1992.
Some other players that are high top goal scorers for Watford include John Barnes who scored 52 goals in the Premier League for Watford, and Troy Deeney, who has scored 47 goals in the Premier League so far. Some other players to note are Nigel Callaghan, and Mo Johnston.
It is worth noting that in Division 4, for the 1959-60 season, Watford scored the most goals out of all of the teams involved, which is impressive.
The current captain of Watford FC is Troy Matthew Deeney. He is an English soccer player that has been at the club for a good number of years, and has certainly earned his role as captain.
Deeney joined the club back in 2010, and has been there ever since. He is a striker, and has seen Watford FC through both the highs of being in the Premier League, to the lows of being relegated, to seeing Watford enter the Premier League once again.
He is a highly respected player both with the fans, and with the other players at the club, and he has scored many goals for Watford, with a career total of 189 goals across all clubs.
- Ben Foster
- Daniel Bachmann
- Rob Elliot
- Jeremy Ngakia
- Danny Rose
- Williams Troost-Ekong
- Adam Masina
- Craig Cathcart
- Kiko Femenia
- Christian Kabasele
- Francisco Sierralta
- Mattie Pollock
- Marc Navarro
- Peter Etebo
- Imran Louza
- Tom Cleverly
- Nathaniel Chalobah
- Dan Gosling
- Will Hughes
- Domingos Quina
- Juraj Kucka
- Joshua King
- Troy Deeney
- Joao Pedro
- Ken Sema
- Ashley Fletcher
- Adre Gray
- Isaac Success
- Ismaila Sarr
- Emmanuel Dennis
- Cucho Hernandez
- Kwadwo Baah
- Joseph Hungbo
- Stipe Perica
When it comes to managers, Watford FC have experienced some changes in recent years. Since December 2020, they have appointed Xisco Munoz as the new manager.
He is a Spanish manager who is 40 years old, and was previously managing Dinamo Tbilisi, where he successfully won the Georgian League.
He has some great experience, and is a great fit for Watford, given that he helped them become promoted once again into the Premier League.
Prior to this, Watford were managed by a lot of managers, who had fairly short careers at the club, such as Vladimir Ivic, Nigel Pearson, and Javi Garcia.
When it comes to the most noticeable manager that has been at Watford, without a doubt, this is Graham Taylor. He was an extremely talented and successful manager that enabled Watford to reach new heights.
Graham Taylor was the manager when Watford reached their highest ever league position, and he is also the manager that has managed on three separate occasions.
He’s responsible for promotions, league wins, and achieving second place in the FA Cup, and the club owes much of its success to him.
There are four other managers that have managed Watford more than once — Malky Mackay, Quique Sánchez Flores, Len Goulden, and Neil McBain.
The head coach of Watford is currently Xisco Munoz. The phrase coach and manager is typically used interchangeably for the majority of the clubs in the Premier League.
While Xisco Munoz is the main coach, he also has help with the coaching aspects of the job by the coaching staff. His assistant coach is Roberto Cuesta, who is also Spanish, and came to Watford at the same time as Munoz. They are a pairing that work well together.
The goalkeeper coach, Antonello Brambilla has been at the club for slightly longer, since September 2020, and he has an Italian nationality.
When it comes to Watford’s home kit, this is where their nickname, the hornets, originates, given the color. They always play in a yellow or gold shirt, with black shorts.
However, their home shirt for the 2021/22 season is slightly different, and is an interesting spin on their traditional shirt. It is the typical yellow color, and features bold black stripes going across the top.
The sponsor on the front of the shirt is Stake.com, and the shirt is created by Kelme. The hornet is on the back of the shirt at the neck, and the Kelme logo is also on the left arm too.
The design for this season is reminiscent of the club’s links to the hornet, and the hoops features are black and are a gradient. The motto behind the shirt is “Leave Your Mark” and represents the vibrant history of the club. It emphasizes that Watford are still a fantastic club and always have the support of their fans.
The shorts are black, featuring the Watford logo, and the socks are yellow, with the black Kelme logo and one black stripe.
The goalkeeper kit is a deep purple, with mint green and white pixel detailing. The shorts are black, with the logo and sponsor in mint green, as are the socks.
The Watford away kit is red, with some yellow ad black swirled detailing. The collar of the shirt is black, and the Stake.com sponsor on the front is white. Again, the hornet logo is featured on the back of the shirt, on the neck.
The shorts are red, featuring the club’s logo and the Helme sponsor, and the socks are also red, with white writing.
The away goalkeeper kit is the opposite to the home kit, and features a mint green color, with navy and white pixelated detailing. The shorts are mint green with the logo and sponsor in navy, as are the socks.
Over the years, the Watford logo has changed quite substantially. The original logo was the Watford Borough Council logo, and in 1959, the Hornet first appeared on the badge with the WFC initials.
While the hornet no longer features on the badge, it is still a big part of the club’s history. This is why the club still has this nickname, and why you will find the hornet on the club’s kit and merchandise, too.
The current logo actually dates back to 1977, and it is in the shape of the crest. While a lot of people mistake the animal on the logo to be a moose, it is actually a hart (male deer), which features in red, on a yellow and black background.
This is also where the colors of the home and away kits originate.
Watford has a popular club academy, and they have both an under-23’s team, and an under 18’s team. The academy is based at Bell Lane, in Hertfordshire, and uses the UCL Sports Ground. Their manager is Omer Riza, and their chairman is Scott Duxbury.
Here are all of the league titles Watford have won:
- Southern Soccer League: 1914 – 15
- Soccer League Fourth Division: 1977 – 78
- Soccer League Third Division: 1968 – 69
- Soccer League Second Division (Third Tier): 1997 – 98
- Soccer League Championship (Play-off winners): 2005 – 2006
- Soccer League First Division (Play-off winners, Second Tier): 1998 – 99
While they may have not won the Premier League, they have still had a good amount of success across the other leagues.
While Watford have not won any major trophies other than the league, here are some instances where they were runners-up and still received honors for this:
- FA Cup Runners-up: 1983 – 84, 2018 – 19
- Southern Soccer League Runners-up: 1919 – 20
- Soccer League Third Division Runners-up: 1978 – 79
- Soccer League Second Division Runners-up: 1981 – 82
- Soccer League Championship Runners-up: 2014 – 15, 2020 – 21
- Soccer League Championship (Play-off Runners-up): 2012 – 13
- Soccer League First Division Runners-up: 1982 – 83
Here are some fun facts about Watford:
- The club’s nickname is The Hornets.
- The club was originally named Watford Rovers.
- Watford are most well known for their achievements between 1977, and 1987.
- In Elton John’s Step Into Christmas music video, he mentions the club by holding up a Watford membership card.
- Until 1959, Watford played in white and blue colors, rather than their signature yellow and black.
- Watford has a squad size of 34 players