Watford Football Club — The Hornets’ Early Years

Watford FC is one of those football clubs that have been around for quite a while now, and their history is a long and exciting one, filled with numerous ups and downs.

Whether you are a Hornets fan or not, you are definitely going to enjoy this short overview of the history of this club.

Where Do Watford FC Come From?

Watford FC is a football club from Watford, Hertfordshire, England. Watford is located near London and has a population of about 96,800. This small town currently has a club in the Premier League, which is, if you think about it, a very big success.

The club changed their stadium a couple of times; their current one is called Vicarage Road and has a capacity of 21,977 at the moment. There, Watford fans have had an opportunity to watch Watford home games ever since 1922, although the stadium was once also home to some other clubs such as Wealdstone FC and Saracens FC.

The Early Years

The age of the Internet made Watford popular all over the globe. Fans can now watch games broadcast everywhere in the world, and they can even read Watford FC news and results on the web. However, the early years of the club were rather humble and date back to the very end of the 19th century.

Watford football club was established back on April 15, 1989, when two local clubs were combined into one. Watford St Mary’s and West Herts joined to become one of the best clubs from the area. Nobody even dreamt back then that Watford would become part of one of the most prestigious leagues in the world — the Premier League.

The club’s first years were not particularly successful — they were even relegated to the Southern League Second Division in 1903. That was the perfect time to take things more seriously — the first manager was appointed to be in charge of the club. His name was John Goodall, and he was an England international and the top scorer for the First Division.

Goodall did all he could and managed to promote the club which had kept its position for a couple of years despite serious financial struggles. In fact, they managed to win the Southern League title for the season of 1914–1915 under the guiding hand of Harry Kent. Things started to look up for them, but then it all fell apart after the Great War began.

The club resumed working after the war. They were officially the title-holders for five consecutive years during the war and had a great task in front of them — to remain at the top. However, they decided to resign from the Southern League and join a new competition called the Football League Third Division.

Watford FC struggled to get back to the top for some time, until the year 1934 when they managed to secure top six consecutive finishes in seasons 1934–35 and 1938–39. They even won the Football League Third Division Cup back in 1937, but then the Second World War began in 1939 and things were brought to a halt once again.

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After WWII

Watford and other football clubs returned to competing with each other after the Second World War ended. Their after-war results were not great, and when the league was restructured into four national divisions, Watford was placed in the fourth one, which meant that the club had a long way to go before it could reach the first league.

Some of the first legendary names appeared in this area, including Cliff Holton, Charlie Livesey, Roy Saunders, and the goalkeeper Pat Jennings who had an international debut regardless of being a player for a Third Division club.

Things started to look up once again after Barry Endean was signed. All of a sudden, Watford started making outstanding results, and even made it to the semifinals of the FA Cup, beating Stoke City and Liverpool along the way.

But it seems that their glory was a short-lived one, as they eventually fell back to the Third Division in the seventies once again, and even had to sell many players in order to save the club from total destruction.

Elton John Saves the Day

Sometimes it takes a little bit of luck for somebody to make it, and the lucky star for Watford FC was Elton John — one of the biggest supporters of the club. The singer and songwriter, who was at the peak of his career when he became the chairman of the club in 1976, had but one goal in mind — to take the club to the First Division. Elton John appointed Graham Taylor manager and Watford immediately won the Fourth Division title.

They managed to secure the promotion to the First Division only a couple of years later and even started the season with four league wins in five fixtures. In other words, the club was positioned high in the First Division, climbing from the bottom of the lowest league in England to the top of the best one in less than seven years.